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THE CAFÉ WAITRESS SANG THE BLUES.docx


Department
Global Asia Studies
Course Code
GASA01H3
Professor
Jin Park

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THE CAFÉ WAITRESS SANG THE BLUES:
- jap c.w was the working class embodiment of the Modern girl as such she sang the
blues
- modern girl was defined as promiscuous and autonomous for 2 reasons
o 1. Women were now on the streets as workers and women demanding
rights
o 2. Male critics found a variety of new modern mores and projected their
fears onto this Modern girl
- c.w = erotic objects but at the same time she articulated her own sensual desires and
her protests against the constraints of her workplace
- confinement defined the c.w …whereas free movement > m.g
- sang the blues > metaphorically >who likened the blues to Negro life: sad but with
an undercurrent of hope and determination > used talk of the blues to discuss the
African American survival of pain
o c.w were not passive servants of a male customer’s objectifying actions, but
like the black women blues singers they attempted to manipulate and
control their construction as sexual subjects.
- c.waitresses acknowledge that they were eroticized as impoverished sexual
commodities, at the same time, they celebrated their own sexual desires
- Jap c.w often migrants to the cities
- Coexisting agency of the cafe waitress as both contained and resisting within a
capitalist culture wherein she is both consumer-subject and commodified sex object,
and of highlighting her subjectivity as possessed of sexualized, erotic impulses.
- Jap jokyu’s words and actions voiced her experience of the erotics of male and
female acting out of presumptions and fantasies of gendered domination
- She was eroticized by others, as working class (or colonized) sex worker within
Japanese history and as expressing her own version of eroticism
- Jokyu participated in erotic relationships inside and outside of the café
- M.g was more important as an ideological construct than as an actual index of
middle-class consumerism
- The mass culture of Japan presents the c.w as a working class woman selling erotic
companionship at a moment in Jap history when the erotic was overtly politicized
- Unlike the m.g, c.w did not cross the culture line…she was undeniably Jap
- Jokyu = jap word composed of Chinese characters = woman server
o Resulted from an attempt to render her less modern and thereby less
threatening by distancing her from the m.g within the modern surroundings
of the café
- study of the history of women has gone through 4 stages during past decades:
o 1. Study of woman’s victimization
o 2. Study of woman’s agency or of a women as subject
o 3. Focus on the representation of women (could be linked to either 1&2
o 4. Concern about the construction of such entities as women and the female
body and of cultural differences and lesbian relationships
- the workplace of the modern café waitress had a prehistory. The first of these
succesors to the milk halls, wherin women served men, was Cafee Purantan 1911
and renowned for the graffiti on its walls which reflected the artistic aspirations and
occupations of its intellectually inclined customes
- Jokyu served all classes
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