- ソシオロジ (ISSN:05841380)
- vol.45, no.3, pp.53-68,151, 2001-02-28 (Released:2016-11-02)
In this paper I examine the discourses relating to the "love marriage" and courtship in the women's periodicals Fujin Koron (Women's Central Review) and Shufu no Tomo (Housewife's Friend) over a period of roughly ten years, from the inception of the periodicals in 1916 and 1917, respectively, until 1926, the last year of the Taisho period. As an analytical tool, I have adopted the concept of "acceptability" developed by Jean Pierre Faye, a theorist whose work is informed by a view of language as a socially and historically situated phenomenon. Faye is concerned with the processes whereby a narrative is rendered socially acceptable, and since this is contingent upon key words and expressions, Faye focuses on the way these expressions undergo complex transformations, a process I have termed "semantic transformation." I have examined the expressions "ren'ai kekkon" or "love marriage," and "danjokosai," a term which translates literally into "association of men and women" and whose meaning has shifted over time. I claim that the term "ren'ai kekkon," or "love marriage," shifts from signifying a congenial relation between spouses to meaning a marriage based on romantic love and free choice of partner. Ironically, since the "loveconquers-all" discourse, which gains momentum in the early 1920s, was saturated with the notion of sexual purity, this precluded talk of "danjokosai" as courtship, considered dangerous, but I argue that this inconsistency in the discourse is absorbed by the multiplicity of meanings for the term "danjokosai." I also argue that key words found in this discourse such as "junketsu" (purity) , and "jinkaku" (personality/character), had a special appeal for the newly educated women of the new middle class, an affinity which helped render the discourse acceptable.