japonisme: japan as text in western advertising

06 August 2007

japan as text in western advertising

to the extent that adver- tising creates needs, one way to accomplish that is to portray something you can never become: the other.

western adver- tising em- braced the image of a very foreign japan, despite the fact that japan had modernized by the time most of these ads came out.

from tea-drinking to travel, from perfume to floor furnaces -- picturing kimono, parasols, fans, or picture scrolls in your ad lent your graphic both an aura of exoticism and one that was très au courant.

many of the citi- zens of japan were seri- ously embracing western clothing, manners, fields of study and work, all to forgo being seen as a backward country, and to be treated equ- ally by the west. western clothing was required by law at many official functions. still, the west remained too "charmed" by this quaint people to let go of the images of the western fantasy of what japan was.

as today, we see many western women in the japanese ads, also the other, we wonder, again, about where the line falls between exploitation and admiration.

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

hi, and thanks so much for stopping by. i spend all too much time thinking my own thoughts about this stuff, so please tell me yours. i thrive on the exchange!

<< Home

newer posts older posts