A Digital Chronology of the Fashion, Dress and Behavior from Meiji to early Showa periods(1868-1945) in Japan

poster / demo / art installation
  1. 1. Haruko Takahashi

    Osaka-Shoin Women's University

Work text
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This paper describes a digital chronology with images of
fashion, dress and behavior (Hereafter called FDB) from 1868
to 1945 in Japan. This period when kimono and western style
of dress contended with each other, was a very important
time for Japanese clothing culture. Nevertheless there have
been few timelines published of high credibility due to a lack
of supporting evidence. This chronology consists of 4000
images and documents related to 8000 events of this period. It
will be available on the Internet in the near future.
How this digital chronology came
The National Museum of Ethnology Japan, the project of
making a database of clothing culture in the world, which was
named MCD ( Minpaku Costume Database ) was started in
1984. Now it is available to the public through the museum’s
website under the heading “CostumeDatabase” (http://www.
This database consists of six sub-databases. Of these, fi ve are
reference database and one is an integrated image database
of the clothes and accessories collection of The National
Museum of Ethnology. The number of items is 208,000 in the
To make this Costume Database, many reference data have
been collected and analyzed. A lot of newspaper archives
from 1868 to 1945 were in this collected reference data and
I thought that a digital chronology could be created by using
these archives. The articles and images came from 20 different
newspapers such as The Yomiuri, Asahi, Mainichi, Tokyonichinichi,
Miyako, Kokumin, and Jiji.
The features of this digital chronology
The features of this digital chronology are summarized as
following four points (fi g.1).
1) The events were chosen out of newspaper archives on
the basis of 140 themes. These 140 themes, detailing the
acculturation of FDB for about 80 years after the Meiji Restorationwere set up by analyzing books and papers as
well as newspaper archives. They include “Society’s Opinions
of FDB”, “Views on Health”, “Views on the Body”, “Dress
Reform Problem and the Blending of Japanese and Western
Styles”, “Formal Dress”, “Kimono”,“Makeup and Hairstyle”,
etc., and “Road and Lighting” (Explaining their effect on
FDB). -_The book, Acculturation of fashion culture: behavior
and dress from Meiji to early Showa periods_(Takahashi, pub.
Sangensha 2005) describes the argument for selecting these
140 themes.
2) Sources are described in all respects. As a result the
timeline also functions as an index tool, and most events
have supporting sources attached.
3) The chronology is divided into two columns entitled
“Events” and “Contemporary Conditions”. These remove
ambiguity in the descriptions of FDB from the general
comprehensive timeline. The former, have precise dates
given and therefore function in the same way as thegeneral
timeline. On the other hand, “Contemporary Conditions”
in the latter show clothingculture more generally and
include fads which cannot be connected to exact dates.
4) Alongside the description of each year of “Contemporary
Conditions”, you can see images of “Scenes of
Contemporary Life” “Men”, “Women”, “Children”, and
“Beautiful Women”which are typical of the time.
These images came from the illustrations of newspapers which
had served the same purpose as photographs in the second
half of the 19th century. These pictures were drawn to
illustrate serial novels published in the papers. They portray
the joy, anger, humor and pathos of the people of those days.
They also represented the culture of each class, such as the life
of the empoverished which photographers of those days did
not capture. These illustrations were drawn to help readers
better understand the text. However, if they didn’t accurately
portray something, then eager readers would write to the
newspapers to complain. This led to a high level of accurary
on the part of the artists.
The credibility of these pictures as source is discussed in the
paper Newspaper serial novel illustrations as a source of data of
the Costume Image Database in the middle of the Meiji era. The
Bulletin of Japan Art Documentation Society. (Takahashi,. 2005.
The system of this digital chronology
Application Capabilities
This system uses Horiuchi Color’s iPallet/Kumu. This
application’s capability is as follows.
1) It has the function which allows the user to smoothly
increase the size of a detailed picture. The user can also
examine fi ne details in the magnifi ed picture with a drugand-
zoom function (Fig.2).
2) It supports Firefox 2 for Japanese on the Windows XP,
Windows Vista, and MacOSX.
3) Users can search by title, year, and keyword.
4) The use of standard plug-ins (ex. Flash) is possible.
Display of Dates in <Contemporary
The dates in grey on the left handside in <contemporary
conditions> are approximate dates only. However, this is not
the best way of representing approximate dates. Is it possible
to visually express the rise and fall of fads? That’s the big
challenge for this system..
This digital chronology concretely shows the changes in FDB
for about 80 years from 1868, and also faithfully details the
clothing culture of those days. It would be helpful in themaking
the movies and stage productions, and thus is much more than
just a scientifi c reference text.
This research is supported by Grants-in- Aid for Scientifi c
Research (C) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of
Science (JSPS) from 2006 to 2008.
Fig.1 Example of display
Fig.2 Example of image data Knight’s Quest: A Video
Game to Explore Gender and
Culture in Chaucer’s England
Mary L. Tripp
University of Central Florida, USA
Thomas Rudy McDaniel
University of Central Florida, USA
Natalie Underberg
University of Central Florida, USA
Karla Kitalong
University of Central Florida, USA
Steve Fiore
sfi ore@ist.ucf.edu
University of Central Florida, USA
A cross-disciplinary team of researchers from the College of
Arts and Humanities (English, Philosophy, and Digital Media)
at the University of Central Florida are working on a virtual
medieval world based on Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. The
objectives are (1) that students experience a realistic virtual
environment, with historical detail (buildings, music, artwork),
and (2) that students view fourteenth century England from
various perspectives, both as a master and the mastered, from
the sacred to the profane. These objectives are accomplished
through a knight’s quest game based on the Wife of Bath’s Tale.
The Wife’s tale emphasizes the battle between men’s perceived
authority and women’s struggles for power. In her tale, a knight
must go on a quest to fi nd out what women most want. The
Wife’s tale leaves a narrative gap in the knight’s quest, which is
where our adaptation of Chaucer’s work is launched.
The knight interacts with Chaucerian characters on his journey-
-he meets everyday people like a cook, a reeve, a miller. In order
to understand the perspectives of master and mastered, sacred
and profane, the knight will dress as a woman to disguise his
identity; enter a cathedral to converse with a priest; disguise
himself as a peasant; and, later disguise as a monk to escape
danger. Other characters are scripted to react differently
to the noble knight when he is in disguise. This fetishism of
clothing is reminiscent of several of Shakespeare’s comedies
and tragedies, notably Merchant of Venice, Midsummer Night’s
Dream, and King Lear. There are also two narrators, the knight
operating from his perspective (male and noble) and the Wife
(female and a widow), interrupting and offering her opinion on
the action of the quest.
The initial phase, a Game Design Document, was completed
in May 2007. A complete dialogue script for the storyline is
scheduled for December 2007, and initial programming and
modifi cation of the project, using the Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
game engine to create this virtual world have also taken place
through 2007. A paper prototype usability study is complete
during November 2007 and a prototype visualization will be
available by June 2008.
As the Canterbury Tales is traditionally taught at the high
school level (Florida’s curriculum includes this under 12th
grade English Literature), the target audience for this prototype
is 14 to 16 year old players. Eight episodes of gameplay will run
an average player about two hours to complete. This format
has proven suitable for classroom use, where the teacher can
use the game during a computer lab session, with independent
student interaction time, or as a whole-class teacher-directed
activity to be completed over 3 to 4 days. The objective here
is not to teach the plot of Canterbury Tales—this information
is readily available from a number of different sources. Our
primary focus is to immerse the user in Chaucer’s historical
world while educating the user on the historical facts behind
the medieval era. These facts have been diluted over the years
by popular fi ction. An additional mission of this game is to
provide the player a variety of cultural perspectives through
the use of disguise and interaction with members of the Three
Estates of clergy, nobility, and peasantry and the feminine
estates of virgin, wife and widow. This game is not developed
to “teach” students the narrative structure of the Tales. It is
designed with the literary theories of New Historicism and
Cultural Studies as a basis for understanding the Tales as
situated in a particular history and culture.
Current research in the fi elds of human learning and cognitive
science speak to the exceptional ability of computer games to
explore identity, problem solving skills, verbal and non verbal
learning, and the transfer of learned ability from one task to
another (Gee, 2003; Berman & Bruckman, 2001; Cassell, 1998;
Fiore, Metcalf, & McDaniel, 2007; McDaniel, 2006; Jenkins, 2006;
Ryan, 2001a, 2001b; Squire, 2002). In fact, learning games in the
humanities have been used for hundreds of years--Bach’s Well
Tempered Clavier and The Art of the Fugue are his “learning
games,” simple to complex musical exercises that build skill
(Prensky, 2000). Virtual worlds offer a unique and interesting
way in which to observe critical relationships involving race,
gender, identity, community, and history. Such relationships
are clearly within the territory of humanities scholarship, and
we believe video games will excite and motivate students to
understand and engage with these complex topics in a fashion
that is intuitive and exciting for them.
In terms of humanities-specifi c objectives, games can provide
entry points for discussions and refl ections of all types of
cultural and critical issues. The discussion of interactivity and
the semantic quality of narrative and its application to digital
media is an important aspect of computer game development.
Ryan, in her article, “Beyond Myth and Metaphor—The Case
of Narrative in Digital Media” concludes that computer games offer the most suitable interface for digital narrative
is compelling, especially in light of current applications in the
fi eld (2001a).
Serious games can also foster new understanding among their
players. In philosophy of the mind, Gadamer describes a fusion
of horizons as the way humans understand. We, as human
beings, are historical and we each possess a unique horizon.
Each person has his own prejudice, history, and tradition, all
within the context of his language. If we approach knowledge
acquisition from Gadamer’s perspective, serious games are
one of the best ways for students to more fully understand
the humanities. Although Gadamer understands these new
experiences as material interactions with the world, we
propose that new understanding can take place through
interactions with the virtual world as well.
Lorraine Code echoes some of the historical and cultural
defi nitions of hermeneutical understanding that Gadamer
proposes, she fi lters these ideas through the lens of feminism and
her explanation of a mitigated defi nition of cultural relativism.
In her essay “How to Think Globally: Stretching the Limits
of Imagination,” she uses Shrage’s idea that relativism works
mainly with ‘crosscultural comparisons’ to endorse her view
that global understanding happens within a local context (Code,
1998). Our team proposes that serious games allow the player
to construct new perceptions of global understanding from a
variety of social, gendered and cultural perspectives (Berman
& Bruckman, 2001; Squire, 2002). Also, the production of video
games offers an important learning opportunity for students
involved in the multimodal production and representation of
source-specifi c content, narrative, and gameplay experiences.
We believe that this project, the development of a virtual
medieval world of Chaucer, can challenge learners to use
this path toward creating a new kind of knowledge of the
humanities. This new kind of knowledge in the humanities is
not the traditional memorized litany of Western icons, nor
a structure of literary genres and plots, but intensive and
extensive meaningful interaction with the cultural and artistic
achievements of humankind. This project is really what game
based learning can be at its best, meeting the needs of a
changing modern paradigm of understanding and basing its
development in good theoretical research.
Representative Bibliography
Berman, J. & Bruckman, A. (2001). “The Turing Game:
Exploring Identity in an Online Environment.” Convergence,
7(3), 83-102.
Cassell, Justine. (1998). “Storytelling as a Nexus of Change
in the Relationship between Gender and Technology: a
Feminist Approach to Software Design.” From Barbie to Mortal
Kombat: Gender and Computer Games. Cassell and Jenkins, eds.
Cambridge: MIT Press.
Code, L. (1998). “How to Think Globally: Stretching the Limits
of Imagination.” Hypatia, 13(2), 73.
Fiore, S. M., Metcalf, D., & McDaniel, R. (2007). “Theoretical
Foundations of Experiential Learning.” In M. Silberman (Ed.),
The Experiential Learning Handbook (pp. 33-58): John Wiley &
Gadamer H. G. (1991). Truth and Method. (2nd revised
edition) (J. Weinsheimer & D. Marshall, Trans.). New York:
Crossroad. (Original work published 1960).
Garris, R., R. Ahlers, et al. (2002). “Games, Motivation, and
Learning: A Research and Practice Model.” Simulation Gaming
33(4), 441-467.
Gee, J. P. (2003). What Video Games Have to Teach Us About
Learning and Literacy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence Culture. New York: New York
University Press.
McDaniel, R. (2006). Video Games as Text and Technology:
Teaching with Multimodal Narrative. Paper presented at the
9th Annual Conference of the Association for Teachers of
Technical Writing in Chicago, IL. March 22, 2006.
Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Game-Based Learning. New York:
Ricci, K. S., Eduardo; Cannon-Bowers, Janis (1996). “Do
Computer-Based Games Facilitate Knowledge Acquisition
and Retention?” Military Psychology 8(4), 295-307.
Ryan, Marie-Laure. (2001a) “Beyond Myth and Metaphor—
The Case of Narrative in Digital Media.” Game Studies 1(1).
26 October 2007. <http://www.gamestudies.org/0101/ryan/>.
Ryan, Marie-Laure. (2001b) Narrative as Virtual Reality:
Immersion and Interactivity in Literature and Electronic Media.
Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Squire, K. (2002). “Cultural Framing of Computer/Video
Games.” Game Studies, 2(1).
Tripp, M. (2007). Avatar: From Other to Self-Transcendence
and Transformation. Paper presented at the Philosophy Club
of Winter Park, FL, 7 August.
Underberg, N (2006). “From Cinderella to Computer Game:
Traditional Narrative Meets Digital Media in the Classroom.”
Milwaukee, WI: American Folklore Society: 2006.
Unsworth, John. (2006). “Digital Humanities: Beyond
Representation.” Lecture. University of Central Florida.
Orlando, FL. 13 November.

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Conference Info


ADHO - 2008

Hosted at University of Oulu

Oulu, Finland

June 25, 2008 - June 29, 2008

135 works by 231 authors indexed

Conference website: http://www.ekl.oulu.fi/dh2008/

Series: ADHO (3)

Organizers: ADHO

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  • Language: English
  • Topics: None