Date: Tuesday, May 16, 2023 6:30 PM - Tuesday, May 16, 2023 8:00 PM
Location: Temple University, Japan Campus (Access) 1-14-29 Taishido, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo, Japan 154-0004


  • Annika A. Culver (Title)


  • Robert Dujarric, ICAS Co-Director


Democratizing Luxury: Name Brands, Advertising, and Consumption in Modern Japan (forthcoming, University of Hawaii Press) explores interconnections between advertising and consumption in modern Japan by investigating how Japanese companies at key historical moments assigned value, or "luxury," to mass-produced products as an important business model. The first comprehensive 150-year history of iconic Japanese name brand luxury and accessibility in modern Japan and elsewhere, Democratizing Luxury explores company histories and strategies leading domestic and global customers to consume commodities conferring affordable, high-quality status. Since the late nineteenth century, Japanese companies have created brand name products at all price points, while starkly curtailing production for limited editions to augment desirability where Tokugawa artisanal traditions merged with Western modernity, while consumer-based businesses paralleled imperial Japan’s territorial expansion and later adapted to transwar conditions and global trade. The book examines affordable luxury commodities often advertised to women consumers, including drinks, beauty products, fashion, and timepieces, in studies featuring Shiseidō, Suntory, Seikō, Casio, Sanrio, Issey Miyake, Comme des Garçons, and Bathing Ape.

Date & Time:

Tuesday, May 16, 2023 18:30-20:00


Temple University, Japan Campus Room 301 (Access)


Registration is not required ( with any questions or reply to this email).


This event is organized by the Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies (ICAS).

Note: All ICAS events are held in English, open to the public, and admission is free unless otherwise noted.


Annika A. Culver

Florida State University

Annika A. Culver is Associate Professor of East Asian History at Florida State University. Since 2012, Professor Culver also serves as a scholar in the US-Japan Network for the Future and as an Editorial Board Member of the Texas National Security Review. Her research and publications feature propaganda and advertising, cultural production in Manchuria/Manchukuo and Japan’s empire, history of science in Japan, and Japanese consumer capitalism, with funding from the Japan Foundation, Association for Asian Studies, D. Kim Foundation for Science and Technology, USIIE (Fulbright), and other grants. Professor Culver's books include Glorify the Empire: Japanese Avant-Garde Propaganda in Manchukuo (2013), which won the Southeast Conference for the Association for Asian Studies 2015 Book Prize, the co-edited volume Manchukuo Perspectives: Transnational Approaches to Literary Production (2019), and Japan's Empire of Birds: Anglo-Americans, Aristocrats and Transwar Ornithology (2022).

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