[Updated on Apr. 18] Integration of CiNii Articles into CiNii Research

Gift Cultures and Lifestyles of the Propertied Classes in the Pre-WWII Period


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Other Title
  • 戦前期における資産家層の贈答文化と生活
  • センゼンキ ニ オケル シサンカソウ ノ ゾウトウ ブンカ ト セイカツ

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<p>This paper researches the spread of consumer culture into Japan’s hinterland during the pre-WWII period and considers the historical significance of that spread through an examination of the gift culture and clothing purchases of wealthy people. Wealthy people frequently purchased gifts for ceremonial occasions and also exchanged or presented seasonal gifts at the mid-year and end of the year. Such purchasing expanded in the early 20th century, and as department stores in particular began selling gift coupons, traditional choices were supplanted by either useful goods or gift coupons as the main type of gift. This new gift economy itself began to supplement the market economy. Moreover, the gifts that wealthy people gave to the ordinary classes or to local communities provided aid in times of social crisis and promoted improvements in infrastructure and thus played the role of ameliorating the regional and income-based gaps in standards of living.</p><p>Wealthy people’s consumption behavior included both personal consumption for their own families and social consumption for their local communities, so their significant outlays on ceremonial occasions and their contributions to the local community can both be regarded as social consumption. In addition, from the 1920s on, department stores actively expanded into the provinces</p><p>and became involved in outreach sales and in doing the work involved in ceremonial events. Local wealthy people made use of such services, with the result that department-store culture became to penetrate countryside areas where there were no “brick-and-mortar” stores. The general public in local agricultural areas gradually became less resistant to consumption for ceremonies and events.</p><p>These developments laid the foundation for rural people to be comfortable with consuming when their incomes rose with the post-WWII land reform and the spread of consumer culture into rural districts.</p>


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