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Modernization in Japanese Fashion and the Influence of Fashion Magazines in 1930s Japan: Focusing on the Case of Fashion

Author: Akiko Savas

Source: Global Perspectives on Japan (GPJ), No.3 (2020), pp.24-42
Publisher: Forum Tauri Press
Keywords: Fashion, modernization, Vogue, Japanese literature, Tanizaki Jun’ichirō


In the 1930s when contemporaneousness was rapidly being realized all over the world, Japanese fashion experienced a dramatic change under the strong influence of Western fashion culture. This paper examines the modernization/Westernization of Japanese fashion and the role that fashion magazines had played in it. By analyzing the articles in Fashion, the first monthly fashion magazine in Japan, this study delineates what modern Japanese fashion aspired to and the issues it had to address. In the 1930s, a transition period from kimonos to the Western clothes, Japanese women had conflicted feelings about wearing Western clothes, thus Fashion encouraged them through articles which suggested easy ways to adopt Western clothes while publicizing the ideal body image as suitable for Western clothes. In addition, by considering the influences of fashion magazines on Japanese women in the context of a novel by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki, The Makioka Sisters, this study also examines the paradoxical effects of the new body image imposed on Japanese women, that the author depicted through the female character of this novel.