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Goldstein-Gidoni, Ofra (1993) Packaged weddings, packaged brides : The Japanese ceremonial occasions industry. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis is concerned with the Japanese Ceremonial Occasions industry, and in particular with contemporary Japanese weddings which are viewed as commercialized productions for a highly consumerist society. The study is mainly based on anthropological fieldwork conducted in an urban wedding parlour. The perspective offered diverges from those of previous studies in that its focus is on weddings, rather than marriage, and on the activities of the wedding producers, rather than those of its principal actors. The thesis shows how both 'traditional' and 'Western' traits found in commercial weddings are manipulated by the Ceremonial Occasions industry which is heavily involved in the 'invention of traditions'. Although such invention has hitherto and elsewhere been analysed in terms of political or national aims, the argument here is that traditions may also be created for economic, or business, purposes. Such a viewpoint enables me to reconsider ways in which Japanese social organization has previously been interpreted both by social anthropologists and by those contributing to what is known as studies of nihonjinron. Another major theme concerns Japanese women. The part women take in maintaining 'traditional' and 'feminine' pursuits such as kimono dressing, is examined against the background of the view of women as 'repositories of the past'. Gender distinctions are also considered in the context of the commercial wedding in which it is mainly women, or brides, who are 'objectified' and 'packaged' by the wedding industry. Another perspective on Japanese women pertains to various kinds of representations of women in the Ceremonial Occasions industry and in Japanese society. The thesis is also concerned with representation in general - at both practical and metaphorical levels. Photographs and other forms of visual representation are an essential part of the Ceremonial Occasions industry, and may be related to the emphasis on formality and form in general in Japanese ceremonies and social organization. Wedding representations of all kind are also regarded as part of a 'mirror' to a peculiar thing called 'Japaneseness' which is deliberately devised by the wedding producers and served, carefully packaged, to their customers.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:10

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