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date: 20 October 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The experience of people in Japan offers a rich body of evidence for a comparative and global study of consumption from early modern, through modern times, and to the postmodern period. One finds ample grist for the mill of economic historians seeking to measure the extent and the shifts in consumption of all manner of goods and services. One also finds sources in abundance from the seventeenth century onwards speaking to the politics and culture of regulating, lamenting, and celebrating consumption. Building on early modern foundations, consumption expanded in the era of self-conscious modernization that followed the overthrow of the Tokugawa shogunate (1868), with a turn to new goods alongside more widespread use of customary ones. As this happened, attitudes in Japan evolved as part of a global dialogue on consumer life. This article explores consumption, consumerism, modernity, and the post-war ascendance of consumers in Japan.

Keywords: Japan, consumption, consumerism, modernity, consumers, Tokugawa shogunate, consumer life

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