The SAGE Handbook of Modern Japanese Studies includes outstanding contributions from a diverse group of leading academics from across the globe. This volume is designed to serve as a major interdisciplinary reference work and a seminal text, both rigorous and accessible, to assist students and scholars in understanding one of the major nations of the world.
Chapter 29: Japanese Consumers and Consumerism
Japanese Consumers and Consumerism
Consumption has long played an important role in Japanese life. Even before the Meiji Restoration (1868) the Japanese consumer had a notably wide range of products and services to choose from. The distinctive profile of contemporary consumerism, however, developed between the wars, when urban areas were reconstructed to incorporate department stores and amusement parks, and so became increasingly attractive not only for established urban shoppers but for the increasing number of Japanese who were moving from the countryside to Tokyo and other major urban centers.
The years immediately after World War II were marked by extreme poverty; but this situation changed with the USA's entry into the Korean War, which gave an initial boost to the Japanese economy. Japan went on to experience a succession of economic booms, and ...