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Assembled in JapanElectrical Goods and the Making of the Japanese Consumer$
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Simon Partner

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780520217928

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520217928.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Assembled in Japan

Simon Partner

University of California Press

This chapter discusses the arrival of mass consumer society and the rise of the consumer electrical goods industry. It evaluates how the Japanese masses were able to buy televisions and washing machines when they apparently lacked many of life's bare essentials, and explores some of the biggest issues in the modern history of Japan. The first issue is the relationship of technology to the startling changes that have swept over the lives of people during the course of the past century, and the second is the consumption and the role of the consumer in the construction of the late modern political economy. The third issue is the construction of gendered roles during the postwar era. The chapter explains that these issues are essential to any coherent interpretation of the trajectory of modernity in the late twentieth century, and all are closely related.

Keywords:   mass consumer society, consumer electrical goods, Japan, modern history, political economy, postwar era, modernity

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