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Age of Shojo
The Emergence, Evolution, and Power of Japanese Girls' Magazine Fiction
Age of Shojo
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Hiromi Tsuchiya Dollase - Author
Price: $95.00 
Hardcover - 224 pages
Release Date: May 2019
ISBN13: 978-1-4384-7391-8

Price: $32.95 
Paperback - 224 pages
Release Date: January 2020
ISBN13: 978-1-4384-7390-1

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Examines the role that Japanese girls’ magazine culture played during the twentieth century in the creation and use of the notion of shōjo, the cultural identity of adolescent Japanese girls.

Hiromi Tsuchiya Dollase examines the role that magazines have played in the creation and development of the concept of shōjo, the modern cultural identity of adolescent Japanese girls. Cloaking their ideas in the pages of girls’ magazines, writers could effectively express their desires for freedom from and resistance against oppressive cultural conventions, and their shōjo characters’ “immature” qualities and social marginality gave them the power to express their thoughts without worrying about the reaction of authorities. Dollase details the transformation of Japanese girls’ fiction from the 1900s to the 1980s by discussing the adaptation of Western stories, including Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, in the Meiji period; the emergence of young female writers in the 1910s and the flourishing girls’ fiction era of the 1920s and 1930s; the changes wrought by state interference during the war; and the new era of empowered postwar fiction. The bookhighlights seminal author Yoshiya Nobuko’s dreamy fantasies and Kitagawa Chiyo’s social realism, Morita Tama’s autobiographical feminism, the contributions of Nobel Prize–winning author Kawabata Yasunari, and the humorous modern fiction of Himuro Saeko and Tanabe Seiko. Using girls’ perspectives, these authors addressed social topics such as education, same-sex love, feminism, and socialism. The age of shōjo, which began at the turn of the twentieth century, continues to nurture new generations of writers and entice audiences beyond age, gender, and nationality.

“Dollase has written a brilliant history and analysis of the growth in female fiction genres and the boom in publications targeting this culture of young female readers.” — CHOICE

“This book provides many fascinating, perceptive, and fresh insights into a variety of aspects of girls’ literature and culture, which have not yet been discussed in English.” — Helen Kilpatrick, author of Miyazawa Kenji and His Illustrators: Images of Nature and Buddhism in Japanese Children’s Literature

Hiromi Tsuchiya Dollase is Associate Professor of Japanese at Vassar College.

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Table of Contents


1. Shōfujin (Little Women): Re-creating Jo for the Female Audience in Meiji Japan

2. Shōjo sekai (Girls’ World): The Formation of Girls’ Magazine Culture and the Emergence of “Scribbling Girls”

3. Yoshiya Nobuko and Kitagawa Chiyo: Fiction by and for Girls

4. Shōjo Feminism in Semi-autobiographical Stories by Yoshiya Nobuko and Morita Tama

5. Shōjo no tomo (Girls’ Friend): Conflicting Ideals of Girls on the Home Front

6. Himawari (Sunflower): Reimagining Shōjo during the Occupation Period

7. Himuro Saeko’s Shōjo Heroines from Heian to Shōwa

8. Tanabe Seiko and the Age of Shōjo

Works Cited

Related Subjects