Chapter

Meiji Machines

Andrew Gordon

in Fabricating Consumers

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780520267855
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520950313 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520267855.003.0002
Meiji Machines

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Manjiro's sewing machine was certainly the first to find its way into an ordinary Japanese home. The sewing machine was among those objects that carried into Japan new and at times contentious ideas concerning women's roles, the idea of progress, and the roles to be played by technology, by individuals, and by nations on the march toward an improving future. The Meiji empress was not alone in embracing with caution a world of imported goods and practices. The history of the sewing machine as an item of relatively widespread purchase and use by women in thousands of homes throughout Japan begins with the advent of the Singer Sewing Machine Company. The sewing machine and new modes of sewing and garment production would bring modern life directly into the home in the form of professionalized training, a new science of home economics, and the market-oriented, mechanized fabrication of clothes.

Keywords: sewing machine; Manjiro; Japan; Meiji empress; Singer Sewing Machine; garment production; home economics

Chapter.  6607 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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