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The Shape of Female Hair in Early Modern Japanese Literature -focusing on Saikaku’s Novels-

  • Journal of Japanese Culture
  • 2019, (83), pp.5-26
  • DOI : 10.21481/jbunka..83.201911.5
  • Publisher : The Japanese Culture Association Of Korea (Jcak)
  • Research Area : Humanities > Japanese Language and Literature
  • Received : October 9, 2019
  • Accepted : November 6, 2019
  • Published : November 30, 2019

Yang, Seon-Hee 1

1한국외국어대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This study reviewed the presence of female hair and hairstyles in the novels Kojiki, Manyoshu, Sarashina Nikki, and Tsurezuregusa, as well as in Ihara Saikaku's novels of the early modern period. In Saikaku's novels, “kurogami” means “young”, which is the same context in which kurogami is used to symbolize youth in classical literature. The ancient word kaminaga means “long hair” and is used in Saikaku's novels to mean “a woman”. Such uses can be regarded as the modernization of language meaning. It is considered that unlike the typical modern women who cut their hair to “seclude”, women of Saikaku's time cut their long ebony hair and handed it to male guests to captivate them, since the hair was the most attractive and sensual part of their bodies. In Saikaku's novels, the female characters' occupations and character are described along with their hairstyle and clothing. In particular, one can assume thet the intention of expressing the inclinations of the protagonist of The Life of an Amorous Woman through her hair shape stemmed from Saikaku's insightful perception of people and customs at the time.

Citation status

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This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.