Offering a concise, entertaining snapshot of Japanese society, Manners and Mischief examines etiquette guides, advice literature, and other such instruction for behavior from the early modern period to the present day and discovers how manners do in fact make the nation. Eleven accessibly written essays consider a spectrum of cases, from the geisha party to gay bar cool, executive grooming, and good manners for subway travel. Together, they show that etiquette is much more than fussy rules for behavior. In fact the idiom of manners, packaged in conduct literature, reveals much about gender and class difference, notions of national identity, the dynamics of subversion and conformity, and more. This richly detailed work reveals how manners give meaning to everyday life and extraordinary occasions, and how they can illuminate larger social and cultural transformations.
Jan Bardsley, Associate Professor of Japanese Humanities at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is the author of The Bluestockings of Japan: New Women Essays and Fiction from Seito, 1911–1916. Laura Miller, Eiichi Shibusawa-Seigo Arai Professor of Japanese Studies and Professor of Anthropology at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, is the author of Beauty Up: Exploring Contemporary Japanese Body Aesthetics. Bardsley and Miller coedited Bad Girls of Japan.
“Don't let the cutesy Hello Kitty cover fool you. "Manners and Mischief" disdains frivolity and stands firm as an academic text for students serious about extending their anthropological knowledge of Japan.”—Kris Kosaka Japan Times
“With Manners and Mischief, as with their previous work, Bardsley and Miller demonstrate what commitment to serious fun can look like.”—Christine R. Yano Monumenta Nipponica
“Bardsley and Miller have put together an interesting volume that explores Japanese approaches to etiquette and advice as represented through sources such as advice columns and behavioral guides. The writing throughout is relatively accessible and at times witty and humorous, and the topic is interesting-- particularly as a way of providing a window into one aspect of popular culture in Japan.”—Jw Traphagam Choice
"Manners and Mischief
is a cohesive, stimulating volume. Reading these essays and the editors' enlightening introduction was a joy: I learned a great deal, smiled and laughed with uncommon regularity, and marveled at the quality of this remarkable collection." -William M. Tsutsui, author of Godzilla on My Mind
"This book is full of fascinating insights. Well-written and often witty, it captures a detailed snapshot of Japanese society in the early 21st century. I would say this is the most insightful book on modern Japan I have read in years." -Liza Dalby, anthropologist and novelist