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Japanese Beauty Doesn't Come Easily

Sunday, September 3, 2006 Posted: 12:42 PM JST

(The Japan Times) - Beauty is big business. In Japan there are more people working in the beauty business than there are in wedding and funeral services, auto repair and software combined. Those beauty factories, the "aesthetic salons," are so many and are growing so large that the governmental ministry involved is at present creating a separate industrial classification for them.

There is an obvious demand for such services. The tides of fashion depend upon them, as do the occasional tsunami of cosmetic enthusiasm. They float upon central contemporary concerns such as gendered identity and its relationship to new forms of consumer capitalism.

Japanese body aesthetics are thus a reflection of the relationship between appearance and self-esteem. As such it is a subject fit for anthropological investigation, and it just this that anthropologist Laura Miller brings. Read article

Keywords: book_news

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The now legendary Sir Ernest Mason Satow (1843-1929) was a member of the British legation in Tokyo for twenty-one years. This classic book is based on the author's detailed diary, personal encounters, and keen memory. In it, Satow records the history of the critical years of social and political upheaval that accompanied Japan's first encounters with the West around the time of the Meiji Restoration. Fascinating.
Stone Bridge Press

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