The Modern Girl as Militant: (<i>Movement on the Streets</i>)

Miriam Silverberg

in Erotic Grotesque Nonsense

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2007 | ISBN: 9780520222731
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520924628 | DOI:
The Modern Girl as Militant: (Movement on the Streets)

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The Modern Girl makes only a brief appearance in histories of prewar Japan. She is a glittering, decadent, middle-class consumer who, through her clothing, smoking, and drinking, flaunts tradition in the urban playgrounds of the late 1920s. Who was this Modern Girl? What made her do what she did? These two questions, raised by the Japanese Modern Girl's contemporaries, are also the two problems posed in this part of the montage of Japanese erotic grotesque nonsense. The Modern Girl was a highly commodified cultural construct crafted by journalists who debated her identity during the tumultuous decade of cultural and social change following the great earthquake of 1923. This chapter deals more with the representation of the Modern Girl as the most predominant Japanese cultural heroine of the era than with the actual beliefs or practices of the young women of that era.

Keywords: cultural change; social change; prewar Japan; Japanese Modern Girl; erotic grotesque nonsense

Chapter.  9805 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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