The Hidden Consumer: Consumption in the Economic History of Japan

  • Penelope Francks
Part of the Worlds of Consumption book series (WC)


By the late twentieth century, for scholars and international tourists alike, Japan had come to represent the archetypal postmodern consumer society. In the heady years of the 1980s bubble economy, Japanese shoppers led the world in their appreciation of luxury brands and high fashion, while consumers everywhere were developing a taste for many of the less expensive, but still distinctive and high-quality goods and services that made up the Japanese lifestyle, from sushi and sake to manga, anime, and Hello Kitty. The collapse of the bubble, ushering in the so-called lost decade of the 1990s, turned the media spotlight away from the conspicuous consumption of those made rich by speculation. Nonetheless, for economists, anthropologists, and cultural commentators, contemporary Japan remains a place where the consumption of goods is a central activity that cannot be ignored in any analysis of the way society works.1


Economic History Department Store Conspicuous Consumption Interwar Period Luxury Brand 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© The German Historical Institute 2012

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  • Penelope Francks

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