The Journal of Japanese Studies

 

Abstract

Sheldon Garon
Luxury is the Enemy:
Mobilizing Savings and Popularizing Thrift in Wartime Japan

To finance the costs of fighting World War II, the Japanese government mounted intrusive savings campaigns. Although the campaigns demanded drastic reductions in consumption, the populace overwhelmingly complied—this essay argues—because people often understood official exhortations to save in more self-interested terms. Many, particularly women, attached positive meanings to wartime saving that in the postwar decades helped shape Japanese housewives’ penchant for high household saving. Wartime Japan did not necessarily reverse the emerging middle-class consumer culture of the 1920s. The regime was compelled to negotiate with people who wished to save for their families, as well as for the nation.

Volume 26, Number 1 (Winter 2000)
© 2000 Society for Japanese Studies

 

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