Waste: Consuming Postwar Japan
By Eiko Maruko Siniawer ’97, Professor of History. Siniawer explores the many ways in which the Japanese have thought about waste—in terms of time, stuff, money, possessions, and resources—from the immediate aftermath of World War II to the present. She shows how questions about waste were deeply embedded in the decisions of everyday life, reflecting the priorities and aspirations of the historical moment, and revealing people’s ever-changing concerns and hopes. From the late 1950s onward, a defining element of Japan’s postwar experience emerged: the tension between the desire for the privileges of middle-class lifestyles made possible by affluence and dissatisfaction with the logics, costs, and consequences of that very prosperity.