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[Conférence]”The female figure as consumer object: media perspectives in high-growth Japan”

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[Conférence]”The female figure as consumer object: media perspectives in high-growth Japan”

5 juillet 10:00 12:30 CEST

Cycle de conférences “Productions et pratiques culturelles du Japon contemporain”. Discutante : Cecile Laly (Université de Kyoto Seika)

Lien d’enregistrement pour Zoom:

Elise Voyau (Tokyo University of Foreign Studies / IFRAE) : Exploring the representation of women in Japanese commercial photography of the 1960s and 1970s

In the period of high economic growth, advertising photography flourished in Japan. Campaigns for Shiseidō cosmetics or Parco department stores left their mark on the public space and visual culture of the 1960s and 1970s. The female figure, as subject and/or target of those campaigns, was prevalent in this imagery. For many photographers active during this period, the way to express themselves against this commercial photography was to take up and subvert this subject, investing it with new symbols. This presentation seeks to explore the issues behind the representation of women in works of both commercial and anti-commercial photographers, in a male-dominated profession. 

Katô Honoka (International Christian University) : The Representation of Women on the Covers of Japanese Women’s Weekly Magazines in the 1970s and 1980s

This presentation focuses on the representation of women on the covers of Japanese women’s weekly magazines from the 1970s to the 1980s. It analyzes the covers of these magazines and examines the narratives of editors and journalists in industry publications. Women’s weekly magazines, aimed at female readers, were mainly launched from the late 1950s to the early 1960s. Major magazines like ‘Shūkan Josei’ (1957–), ‘Josei Jishin’ (1958–), and ‘Josei Seven’ (1963–) are still published today. These magazines often feature articles on entertainment, the royal family, and practical topics like cooking, but they are particularly known for their celebrity gossip and are often seen as tabloid magazines.

Initially, these magazines used photos of foreign models, seemingly of Western origin, on their covers. The first editor-in-chief of ‘Josei Jishin,’ Isamu Kurosaki, believed that featuring foreign women would attract attention and convey a fashionable image. However, from the late 1970s to the 1980s, the covers underwent a significant shift. They began featuring scoop shots and photos of Japanese celebrities, such as idols like Momoe Yamaguchi, surrounded by numerous headlines. The 1970s to 1980s was a period when the format of the “typical” women’s weekly magazine cover, which continues to this day, was established. It was also a time when the celebrities featured on these covers drew public interest, making every aspect of their lives a subject of public scrutiny.

Building on Ihara’s work (2015), which stated that misogyny underlies the portrayal of women as scandalous figures in women’s weekly magazines, this study explores how, during the 1970s and 1980s, female celebrities were increasingly spotlighted in relation to life events such as marriage and childbirth, becoming ‘objects to be seen.’ This analysis also considers the power dynamics among people involved in the publishing industry and examines the changing role of women’s weekly magazines with the advent of the television era.