Departmental Bulletin Paper The Study of the late 19th Century Traditional Japanese Costume from the Western Perspective


11pp.149 - 161 , 20160301 , 県立広島大学
This study illuminates how Westerners in the late 19th century thought about and evaluated traditional Japanese costume, by analyzing contemporary Western newspapers, and the records of first-hand observations and experiences of Westerners who stayed in Japan. I examined Westerners’ perception of the traditional costumes worn by Japanese envoys to the U.S. Americans focused on the traditional costume’s form, and evaluated it by comparing it to Western clothing. We know that the English who value tradition paid special attention to the ritualistic qualities of the Japanese envoys’ clothing and that they focused their appraisal through this lens. Thus, the appraisal of the Japanese envoys’ clothing is different between the Americans and the English. I studied how traditional Japanese costume was recognized by Westerners who stayed in Japan, and analyzed the articles about traditional Japanese costume in Western newspapers. While traditional Japanese costume perception moved to positive territory in Western newspapers, we also confirm that the traditional Japanese costume worn by the lower-class Japanese gave a mostly negative impression to the Westerners who stayed in Japan.

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