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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 July 2016

Jeesoon Hong*
Sogang University E-mail


This study presents a transcultural mapping of department stores in modern East Asia from a socio-political perspective centered on colonialism and nationalism. Department stores in the region exhibited a coeval culture, as suggested by the common use of the term “hyakka/baihuo/baekhwa.” While focusing on the common impact of Japanese colonialism, this study examines mainly Mitsukoshi in Tokyo; Wing On and Sincere in Shanghai; and Mitsukoshi, Minakai, and Hwashin in Seoul. It consists of four parts. The first part traces the translingual-scape of “hyakka” and shows how the modern universalism celebrated in the term, in reality, contributed to shaping an exclusive social group. The second part expands the etymological survey of “hyakka” into the physical dimension and analyzes items for sale at department stores, select lifestyles, and social group formations. The third part illuminates the patriarchal, militaristic managerial styles that developed under the influence of Japanese imperialism. The last part delves into Japanese department stores' colonial expansion within East Asia. This study employs a transcultural methodology to highlight multidimensional connections and coeval localities as well as differences, though it is often differences that are highlighted by research that involves straightforward country comparisons.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2016 

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