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Japanese Immigrant Clothing in Hawaii, 1885–1941

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9780824817305: Japanese Immigrant Clothing in Hawaii, 1885–1941
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Between 1886 and 1924 thousands of Japanese journeyed to Hawaii to work the sugarcane plantations. First the men came, followed by brides, known only from their pictures, for marriages arranged by brokers. This book tells the story of two generations of plantation workers as revealed by the clothing they brought with them and the adaptations they made to it to accommodate the harsh conditions of plantation labor. Barbara Kawakami has created a vivid picture highlighted by little-known facts gleaned from extensive interviews, from study of preserved pieces of clothing and how they were constructed, and from the literature. She shows that as the cloth preferred by the immigrants shifted from kasuri (tie-dyed fabric from Japan) to palaka (heavy cotton cloth woven in a white plaid pattern on a dark blue background) so too their outlooks shifted from those of foreigners to those of Japanese Americans.

Chapters on wedding and funeral attire present a cultural history of the life events at which they were worn, and the examination of work, casual, and children's clothing shows us the social fabric of the issei (first-generation Japanese). Changes that occurred in nisei (second-generation) tradition and clothing are also addressed.

The book is illustrated with rare photographs of the period from family collections.

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From the Author:
Barbara F. Kawakami (ne Oyama) was born in Japan in 1921 and immigrated to Hawaii with her family when she was three months old. She learned to sew at a young age, and for thirty-eight years was a dressmaker―a profession she continued after marriage while raising a family of three children. At age fifty-three, she entered college and earned a BS in fashion design and merchandising, and later an MA in Asian studies. Ms. Kawakami has been a researcher, writer, and consultant for a number of projects, including the film Picture Bride, released by Miramax Pictures in 1994. Her award-winning book, Japanese Immigrant Clothing in Hawaii 1885–1941, was published in 1993.
Review:
"Naturally the bright kasuri kimono that Japanese immigrants brought with them didn't last forever, and kimono were not practical for moving among the sugarcane, with its razor sharp edges. So Japanese immigrant women looked to the clothing of those from other cultures ... borrowing good ideas and creating a plantation worker style all their own... As immigrants adapted their clothing, they began the grueling cultural adaptation as well... More than anything, clothing reflected the pride and keen sense of practicality with which the immigrant bore their hardships." -Japan Times "Barbara F. Kawakami's book is more than a compendium of ethnic costume and details of fabrication... Her perspective enriches the description of costume with an understanding of the conditions under which the clothing was made and used." -Piecework "A detailed and well-written work. Most valuable are the personal interviews ... that precisely document a unique facet of Hawaiian and immigrant history." -Choice

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9780824813512: Japanese Immigrant Clothing in Hawaii, 1885–1941

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Publisher: University of Hawaii Press, 1993
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