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The Turn and Dilemma of Sewing Education in the Process of Westernization of Clothing : Focused on Jun Narita's Concept of Dressmaking Education

  • KUWATA Naoko
    日本学術振興会特別研究員(お茶の水女子大学)

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Other Title
  • 市民洋装普及過程における裁縫科の転回とディレンマ : 成田順の洋裁教育論を中心に
  • シミン ヨウソウ フキュウ カテイ ニ オケル サイホウカ ノ テンカイ ト

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Abstract

This study aims to make clear how sewing education changed during the prewar period by examining Jun Narita's concept of dressmaking education. Sewing education had a lot to do with people's everyday clothing life. Still, in previous studies, the social and economic background of people's clothing has been overlooked. In this study, various social dimensions which surrounded sewing education are also examined. This approach facilitates criticizing the gender role ideology in sewing education in an effective way. After the big earthquake in Tokyo of 1923, women in the city ares realized the inconvenience of kimono and started to wear western style clothes. This change created a crisis in sewing education in higher girl's school. Until then, the skill of Japanese style sewing had been mainly taught. However, Japanese style sewing alone could no longer meet the demand of the girls who had already experienced wearing Western dresses. Sewing education needed a drastic change. In 1926, the Ministry of Education sent Narita to the UK. She learned the new way of dressmaking which had become popular after World War I. After returning, she started to promote dressmaking in sewing education. By the middle of the 1930s, dressmaking education played an important role in sewing education played an important role in sewing education due to her promotion. In the 1930s as Westernization of clothing in the city area progressed, a ready-made industry began to rise gradually. The whole industry structure related to clothing started to change at that time. Women who had sewn their clothes began to buy ready-made dresses instead of sewing them. Some of the educators of sewing education who were aware of this change insisted that sewing education should provide students with not only sewing skill but integrated knowledge concerning various aspects of daily clothing. However, Narita did not agree with this way of thinking. On the contrary, she withheld her enthusiastic support for Westernization of clothing when she began to see women in 'odd' Western dress. She thought every woman should sew their family's clothes no matter how convenient it was to buy ready-made cloth, because she regarded sewing as an essentially indispensable activity for women. This point of view was shared with educators of Japanese sewing skill who were basically against Westernization of clothing. That is to say, Narita persisted in the skill of sewing, whether it was Japanese style or western style. Despite the change in the clothing industry structure, the contents of sewing education reminded as a skill-activity during the prewar period. The shortage of goods during World War II made people unable to buy new cloth. Skill in sewing became a demand for recycling old clothes. So, Narita's concept of how sewing education should be fostered remained important under the old school system. After World War II, sewing education became a part of homemaking education, and the number of lessons decreased. Still, this "decline in sewing education" didn't start suddenly after World War II. Its signs were already apparent in the prewar period, when a change of the industry structure related to clothing started.

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