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Passionate FriendshipThe Aesthetics of Girl's Culture in Japan$
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Deborah Shamoon

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780824835422

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824835422.001.0001

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date: 27 May 2018

Prewar Girls’ Culture (Shōjo Bunka), 1910–1937

Prewar Girls’ Culture (Shōjo Bunka), 1910–1937

(p.29) Chapter 2 Prewar Girls’ Culture (Shōjo Bunka), 1910–1937
Passionate Friendship

Deborah Shamoon

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter focuses on girls' culture (shōjo bunka) in Japan during the period 1910–1937. It considers how a private, closed world of girls emerged in single-sex secondary schools and gave rise to a discourse of that culture in girls' magazines, where friendship between girls was expressed in the language of spiritual love. After providing a short history of girls' magazines in Japan, the chapter explores how the culture of girls' schools became the aspirational norm of girlhood. It then turns to homosociality, S relationships, and the culture of sameness as prevalent features of the rising girls' culture during the period. It looks at the novel Otome no minato (The Girls' Harbor) and the all-girl Takarazuka Revue as two examples of the homosocial bonds of girls' culture. The chapter explains how passionate friendships helped to develop the dominant aesthetics of girls' culture: purity, elegance, innocence, and chastity.

Keywords:   girls' culture, girls' magazines, spiritual love, girls' schools, homosociality, S relationships, sameness, Otome no minato, Takarazuka Revue, passionate friendships

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