Educating the Material Girl in Edo-Period Japan

Mary Elizabeth Berry, University of California, Berkeley

Friday, November 15, 2013 - 3:30pm
Savery 130

Market economies require vigorous consumption to succeed (especially when foreign trade is limited). Although we know that consumption played a major role in the Edo-period economy, most familiar sources (including sumptuary laws, family codes, and popular advice manuals) condemned it. This talk explores texts that embraced consumption and the ways in which they transformed spending into an act of virtue.

Mary Elizabeth Berry (History, University of California, Berkeley) is the author of Hideyoshi (Harvard University Press, 1982); The Culture of Civil War in Kyoto (University of California Press, 1994); and Japan in Print: Information and Nation in the Early Modern Period (University of California Press, 2006). Her current book project is Why Work so Hard? Opportunity, Profit, and Pleasure in Early Modern Japan. Berry has served as president of the Association for Asian Studies, chair of the American Advisory Committee of the Japan Foundation, and chair of the Department of History at the University of California, Berkeley, where she is currently Class of 1944 Professor. Berry was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2009.

This event is sponsored by the UW Japan Studies Program and in partnership with the Seattle Asian Art Museum Gardner Center for Asian Art and Ideas. For more information contact: (206) 685-9997 / Mary Elizabeth Berry will also be speaking Saturday, November 16, 2013 at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. For more detaills and registration information, please go to the SAM website: