Chapter

Introduction

Simon Partner

in Assembled in Japan

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 2000 | ISBN: 9780520217928
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520923171 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520217928.003.0001
Introduction

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This chapter discusses the arrival of mass consumer society and the rise of the consumer electrical goods industry. It evaluates how the Japanese masses were able to buy televisions and washing machines when they apparently lacked many of life's bare essentials, and explores some of the biggest issues in the modern history of Japan. The first issue is the relationship of technology to the startling changes that have swept over the lives of people during the course of the past century, and the second is the consumption and the role of the consumer in the construction of the late modern political economy. The third issue is the construction of gendered roles during the postwar era. The chapter explains that these issues are essential to any coherent interpretation of the trajectory of modernity in the late twentieth century, and all are closely related.

Keywords: mass consumer society; consumer electrical goods; Japan; modern history; political economy; postwar era; modernity

Chapter.  2115 words. 

Subjects: Occupations, Professions, and Work

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