• fashion in Meiji period Japan

    Uniforms and Corsets at the Chrisanthemum court, Victorian Fashion in Meiji Japan.

    Among all the changes that Meiji Japan had to face, that related to the wearing system had  been one of the most significant. The first appearance of European fashion happened in the foreign districts of the largest harbour cities like Tōkyō and Yokohama. The charm of such exotic garments led some ukiyoe artists to leave behind their traditional artistic topics to start portraying life scenes from those districts. Known as Yokohamae 横浜絵, this kind of woodblock print achieved discrete popularity among the locals, for it often was the only way people living in the countryside had to interface with the foreign reality. The artists of the Utagawa school, in particular,…

  • Painting the West, the Yokohamae style.

    Painting the West, the Yokohamae style

    Yokohamae 横浜絵 is a sub-genre of the Japanese ukiyoe 浮世絵 production which became an artistic trend in the mid-nineteenth century, right after the arrival of the foreigners from Europe and America. This style is named after the place where the first overseas communities established their businesses once landed on the oriental coasts of Japan. Although these prints may not be as notorious as the most canonic ukiyoe, they have recently become a matter of interest among scholars and enthusiasts both for the uniqueness of their subjects and the accurate representations of the foreigner reality in late Edo Japan. After the arrival of Commodore Matthew Perry with his “black ships” in…


    Simple is chic, fashion in Edo Period

    Shortly after the reunification of the Country in the seventeenth century, the bakufu, embarked on a strict campaign to redefine the social roles and to keep control of the entire society. The new hierarchical system took the name of  Shinōkōshō 士農工商and it was divided into four main social categories: the bushi 武士, the farmers, the craftsmen, and the merchants; the latter were often regarded as ill-reputated. Above the Shinōkōshō system stood the Shōgun, the clergy, the Emperor and his family, and the kuge 公家. People whose work dealt with blood and death, criminals, beggars, and art performers belonged to special classes known as eta 穢多and hinin 非人and they were considered outcasts. To further enhance this…