Sep 17 2012

CJR Talk – Democracy’s Poster Girls

Published by at 3:46 pm under Events

The Centre for Japanese Research presents Democracy’s Poster Girls: Beauty Queens and Fashion Models in Postwar Japan, a talk by Dr. Jan Bardsley (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill).

Friday October 19
12:00-2:00 pm
(with sushi lunch reception)
C.K. Choi Building for The institute of Asian Research

Download Poster


American-style beauty contests—complete with young women in tiaras, sashes, and swimsuits— became big business in Japan in the 1950s, and were even hailed as displays of women’s rights in the new postwar. Jan Bardsley will focus on one piece of this story: the rise and fall of Itō Kinuko, who captured the Miss Japan crown in 1953, thrilled her country by taking third place in the Miss Universe contest, and became the nation’s first top fashion model. As she later fell prey to charges of greed, inflated ego, and too much independence, Kinuko’s victories not only became a cautionary tale about the allure and dangers of Americanization in Japan, but also intertwined with U.S. efforts to forge alliances with Japan in the early Cold War.

Jan Bardsley is Associate Professor of Japanese Humanities and Chair of the Department of Asian Studies at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is the author of The Bluestockings of Japan: New Women Fiction and Essays from Seitō, 1911-1916 (University of Michigan, Center for Japanese Studies, 2007), which was awarded the 2011 Hiratsuka Raichō Prize by Japan Women’s University. With Laura Miller, she has co-edited two books, Bad Girls of Japan (Palgrave, 2005) andManners and Mischief: Gender, Power, and Etiquette in Japan (University of California Press, 2011). She is co-producer/director with Joanne Hershfield of the documentary, Women in Japan: Memories of the Past, Dreams for the Future (2002), Bardsley has received several teaching awards at UNC-Chapel Hill including the Tanner Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and the Sitterson Award for Excellence in Teaching First-Year Seminars.

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