Fads and Fashions in Japan
Distributed for Reaktion Books
By definition a fad is novel and appears from outside. Fads must have instant appeal and do not have a long shelf life. In Japan, an assortment of islands, the outside is often the quality that defines the inside.
Japan has a history of chasing fads and fashion. Since the 19th century, foreign products have been welcomed in, from the cult for "squeaky shoes" in the mid-19th century to the current fad for virtual reality girlfriends. Japan’s mandate was that, having been opened late, it had to hurry to catch up. Fads provide both a social distraction and a sense of cohesion, indicating not only foreign importation but also native adaptation.
The Image Factory is both an investigation into fads, fashions and style – such as US Army surplus uniforms, "pachinko", mutating hair colors – and an appreciation of their inherent meanings. The Japanese have seized upon fads and fashion as an arm of enterprise to a much greater extent than elsewhere in the world. Ephemerality has been put to work, the transient has become industrialized, and the results are highly conspicuous.
The Image Industry
Kawaii - Kingdom of the Cute
The Sex Bazaar
The Convenience Phone