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The smell of Showa: Time, materiality and regimes of value in Japan's second-hand kimono industry

Valk, J; (2020) The smell of Showa: Time, materiality and regimes of value in Japan's second-hand kimono industry. Journal of Material Culture 10.1177/1359183519894010. Green open access

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Abstract

This article maps the way second-hand kimono pass between different regimes of value as they move out of people’s homes and into second-hand shops. Joining recent calls for a greater anthropological focus on the processes of divestment and disposal, the author highlights how kimono move from the inalienable space of the domestic sphere and into the alienable domain of retail, and considers how their materiality – worn fabrics, dated aesthetics and musty smell – is an active agent in the transformation of value. When initially purchased, the symbolic and economic values of kimono are congruent. But with the passage of time and the deterioration of materials and fraying of kinship bonds, the value of kimono as treasured family possessions is diminished. Yet the very materiality that caused their loss of economic and symbolic value, their undesirable smells, colours and designs can cause them to enter a new regime of value as vintage fashion supported by fashion magazines. By rethinking Arjun Appadurai’s regimes of value with a greater focus on material properties and qualities, this article aims to link cycles of divestment and consumption practices with the generation, loss and re-creation of value.

Type: Article
Title: The smell of Showa: Time, materiality and regimes of value in Japan's second-hand kimono industry
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/1359183519894010
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177/1359183519894010
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Science & Technology, Social Sciences, Life Sciences & Biomedicine, Anthropology, Archaeology, Cultural Studies, divestment, kimono, materiality, regimes of value, second-hand, time, FASHION
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10093243
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