Late Taisho / early Show era (1920s). Oblong folio (225 x 195 mm). 30 leaves, stitched (modern threading). Preserved in mylar L-sleeve backed with lig-free board. Very good. Item #1648
Highly curious Japanese manuscript produced during the Roaring Twenties, being an amalgamation of Westernized and traditional Japanese fashion. Our manuscript was no doubt created by one of the Modan Garu (shortened to Moga), or "modern girls," who followed Westernized fashions and lifestyles. These Moga were Japan's equivalent of America's Flappers, Germany's Neue Frauen, France's Garconnes, and China's Modeng Xiaojie. The advent of the "modern girl" in Japanese society cannot be overestimated: Moga were financially and emotionally independent, consumeristic, and sexually liberated.
Our manuscript contains depictions of Moga in many attitudes, including swimming in Western bathing suits, golfing in the manner of Jordon Baker, playing tennis, drinking from wine glasses and tea mugs, eating with forks, wearing jaunty Flapper hats, off-the-shoulder dresses, lipstick, and much more. Children are also in abundance: some of the girls wear short dresses and pumps, with bows in their hair, others wear traditional Japanese costume. Some of the men wear high-collared shirts and "Dick Tracy" hats, others have mustaches. Interspersed throughout are depictions of traditional Japanese kimono and geta, as well as illustrations of a variety of subjects. Clearly an amaturish production, this is a manuscript with great charm, and particularly interesting in that the tensions between "old" and "new" Japan are graphically illustrated herein by a non-commercial artist.