The Silk Weavers of Kyoto: Family and Work in a Changing Traditional Industry

The Silk Weavers of Kyoto: Family and Work in a Changing Traditional Industry

The Silk Weavers of Kyoto: Family and Work in a Changing Traditional Industry

The Silk Weavers of Kyoto: Family and Work in a Changing Traditional Industry

Synopsis

"Hareven vividly and persuasively describes the family-based silk weaving industry in Kyoto, which has been in the process of change since the end of the nineteenth century. She throws light on the innermost layer of Japanese human relations and therefore the Japanese way of feeling, thinking and evaluation, to an extent that few existing Japanese studies have attained."--Kiyomi Morioka, Chiba University, Japan

Excerpt

This book addresses key issues that have preoccupied historians, anthropologists, and sociologists over several decades concerning the interrelationships between family and work. As a case study, it examines the lives of the craftspeople and manufacturers who produce a luxury silk textile—the obi (sash) worn over kimono—in Kyoto's traditional weaving district, named Nishijin. As a social historian whose work is interdisciplinary, I have pursued questions relating to this topic since the late 1960s. Over the past three decades, while endeavoring to develop the historical study of the family as a new field of scholarship, I have also conducted research on the family's interaction with the process of industrialization in the United States.

My initial research on this topic examined family and work patterns over the twentieth century in what was the world's largest textile factory before World War II, the Amoskeag Mills in Manchester, New Hampshire. the key questions I pursued involved the family's adaptation to industrial life and its interaction with the factory system. I reconstructed the Amoskeag workers' careers, family patterns, and kinship networks from a variety of rich sources, such as company employee files, vital records, and company records, as well as from intensive oral history interviews. As part of this study, between 1971 and 1981 I interviewed the former workers of the Amoskeag Mills, and their adult children. Most members of the parent generation were immigrants, including a large proportion of French Canadians. I described the interview process and my findings in Amoskeag: Life and . . .

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