History of Products in Relation to the Body
Period Tuesday,October 18 –Sunday, Decemberr 18, 2016
Venue Special Exhibition Galleries A&B, National Museum of Japanese History

Adults: ¥830 (¥560)
Senior high school & college students: ¥450 (¥250)
* Fees in parentheses apply to groups of 20 or more
* Admission to permanent exhibitions included
* Free admission for elementary & junior high school students
* Free admission for senior high school students every Saturday

Hours 9:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m. (entrance closed at 4:30 p.m.)
* Open hours and days are subject to change.
Closed Mondays (When Monday is a national holiday, the Museum is closed the following Tuesday.)
Organizer National Museum of Japanese History

Exhibition Highlights

  • The history behind the new, modern Edo-style Korin and Genroku designs
  • The history and popularization of department stores, which originally dealt in fabrics for kimono and transitioned to dealing in Western clothing, stationery, and food products as well
  • The transition in soap, shampoo, toothpaste/powder and other hygiene products from pre-Pacific war to post-Pacific war
  • Marathon tabi, geta skates, bamboo skis and other sporting goods from yesteryear
  • The transition in aesthetic sense throughout the decades, as shown in cosmetic products and advertisements

Purpose of the Exhibition

With the advancement of industrialization and the growth of distribution networks since the end of the Meiji Period, our view of our bodies and our product designs have changed, little by little, with the development of each new product. At the same time, with each new change comes a resistance and a re-examining of the past; accordingly, our view of our bodies and our product designs repeatedly revive traditions. In that sense, developing body-related products is a very historical and cultural undertaking and could even be considered to be the source of fashion.

This exhibition aims to portray how the way we view our bodies has changed in Japan, especially in terms of clothing and accessories, leisure, hygiene, and beauty, using displays of products, magazines, catalogs, and advertisements from the 1910s to the 1980s showing changes in body view and product design.


Women’s Beauty Handbook (1937)
(private collection)
Club Face Powder (1939–1940)
(private collection)
Cosmetics – Club Main Store Edition (pre-Pacific war era)
(NMJH collection)
 Lait Mary (Face Powder) (c. 1902)
(NMJH collection)
Flier, Mitsui Gofukuten (1896)
(NMJH collection)
Kanebo Silk Soap (1940s)
(NMJH collection)
Shiseido Olive Toilet Soap (1940s)
(NMJH collection)
Misono Face Powder (Taisho era [1912–1926])
(NMJH collection)
Club Tooth Powder (1903)
(NMJH collection)
Boy’s Three-Piece Jacket (1940s)
(NMJH collection)
Boat and Waterweed Patterned Smaller-Sleeved Kimono (Kosode) (mid-Edo era [1716–1793])
(NMJH collection)
Woodblock Print “Yanagiya Ofuji” (late Meiwa era [1768-1772])
(NMJH collection)
Ukiyo-e Print “One Hundred Beautiful Women at Famous Places in Edo” (Edo era [1603–1868])
(NMJH collection)
Radio Calisthenics Five-Year Anniversary Poster (1933)
(NMJH collection)
Hikone Girls’ High School Mass Calisthenics (1926)
(NMJH collection)