Consumer Culture in East Asia

The purchase of products for other than utilitarian reasons is a benchmark indicator of a modern consumer society. In this sense, the consumption practices found in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, China, and Hong Kong are distinctly modern. Throughout East Asia, the assimilation of European and American products and practices as well as the adaptation of these products and practices to local conditions has been a hallmark of the consumption process. This phenomenon of borrowing and adapting dates back to the earliest years of the Meiji era (1868–1912) in Japan. By the 1920s, baseball, jazz, and Western clothing and hair styles were common in urban Japan. However, Simon Partner notes that in postwar Japan, an intensive industrialization effort supported by the United States led to the ...

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