This essay examines the changes in hairstyles that have become overdetermined signs of Japan's transition to modernity in histories of the Meiji era (1868–1912). It demonstrates that Japanese men's adoption of short styles, relentlessly cited as a key example of modernization (understood as Westernization), was a much longer and more complex process than most accounts suggest. It explores the politics of pervasive assumptions about how and why men and women cut their hair in the 1870s, and concludes that knowledge about daily life must be understood not simply as concrete facts but also as politically charged representations of social life that have served diverse agendas both during the Meiji era and since.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.
* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 29th March 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.