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Title: Modernity at home : the body, taste and middle-class lives in Japan, 1890-1939
Author: Nozawa, Shuntaro
ISNI:       0000 0004 5356 0706
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2015
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This study explores the subtle relationship between middle-class lives and domestic architecture in modern Japan. I revisit the fifty-year period, 1890-1939, when Japan saw the rise of mass production and mass media, focusing on changing attitudes towards the body, space and family relations from a social-anthropological viewpoint. My particular interest is the duality of taste. There was the public taste being widely circulated and objectified as a prevailing floor arrangement of a house, whilst ordinary people personalised it through economic practices and appropriated the interiors based on their own tastes. This study revolves around the shaping of the dual meanings of the term shumi. From the late 1900s onward, an active involvement in shumi (recreations) was increasingly recognised as a vehicle which enabled people to internalise a good shumi (taste) in the private sphere. This conceptualisation stood on an adherence to Romanticism and new awareness of personal expressions including clothing and furnishing as mirrors of individuality. In other words, the Japanese were motived to become ‘individuals’ through the refinement of shumi in both taste and recreation. A growing number of the middle classes were keen to consume recreational activities, and their constructed subjectivity began to play a key role in ‘leisurising’ domestic spaces to achieve the Romanticised ideal of ‘home’ in an era of capitalism. This study examines the advice manuals, women’s press, publicity of private homebuilders and old questionnaires surveying uses of rooms of middle-class dwellings, to demonstrate the homogeneity as well as multiplicity in terms of how domestic and ‘leisurised’ spaces were perceived. I believe that the coexistence of various perspectives towards the built forms echoed differences in needs, preferences and tastes and was the quality discerned as modernity.
Supervisor: Lintonbon, Jo ; Blundell Jones, Peter Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available