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Friese, Klaus J. ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1379-7712 (March 2018): Aesthetics of War - Textiles and other Examples of Material Culture from the Shōwa Period. In: Kansai University Graduate School of Letters, Department of Humanities (ed.) , 第10回KUワークショップ第9回EUワークショップ報告論文集 : 関西大学大学院文学研究科副専攻「EU-日本学」. Osaka: Kansai University. pp. 163-173

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The first Japanese garments showing modern war motives but having traditional forms appeared during the 1894/95 Chinese-Japanese war. In the Shōwa period between 1932 and 1942 textiles showing modern war technology like tanks, airplanes and soldiers were mass produced. Those textiles – often called war motive kimonos – are part of a larger range of objects depicting war motives, which were popular especially during early Shōwa times. This article seeks to explore the connection between the popularity of those items and the aesthetics of this time. In the Kantian tradition the word “aesthetics” is often associated with beauty. However, can those images of soldiers or war technology be considered “beautiful”? To better understand the meanings and impact of those objects this paper uses the extended concept of “social aesthetics” which includes all sensory experiences produced from the various elements surrounding people including clothes, objects, colors, buildings etc. The examples of the war myth of the bakudan sanyūshi (the three bomb heroes) and the role of textiles and other products for children allow a glance at the everyday aesthetics of war and their strong influence on society during the early Shōwa period: Considering those objects an integral part of the social aesthetics of those times helps to get a better and more holistic understanding of their meanings.

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