- 東京女子大学紀要論集 (ISSN:04934350)
- vol.60, no.2, pp.291-307, 2010-03-15
The ribbons that were popular among young Japanese women in 1890s have been regarded as a symbol of the schoolgirl of that time. Earlier studies have analysed the nature and preference of these girls by examining the image of the ribbon as symbol, but this places the subject in the context of the social background of the period.A major factor in the development of the ribbons as symbol was the change in women's sense of morality. Modernity and modernization required that women establish a new sense of morality, in part by becoming more active socially and dressing themselves beautifully. Supported by this modern morality, Japanese women began to adopt Western accessories, including the ribbon that would in time become a symbol of the women themselves.A second major factor was the marketing strategy of the modern department stores. They worked to produce a differentiation between the image of the middle class and the image of the lower class, and in this way encouraged middle-class women to buy Western accessories.The ribbon in Japan took over the original meaning of the ribbon in the West, where it had been a symbol of the privileged class for noblemen in France of the seventeenth century. Also in Japan the ribbon became a symbol of the schoolgirl from a wealthy family, who had learned Western culture, and for the men who were attracted by them it was a symbol of the social position and wealth they hoped to attain.