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Empire of DogsCanines, Japan, and the Making of the Modern Imperial World$
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Aaron Herald Skabelund

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450259

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450259.001.0001

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A Dog’s World

A Dog’s World

The Commodification of Contemporary Dog Keeping

(p.171) 5 A Dog’s World
Empire of Dogs

Aaron Herald Skabelund

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the commodification of dog keeping in Japan and other societies since the end of World War II. It considers three principal trends of dog keeping. First, thanks in large part to the powerful influence of postwar American culture, the breeds and dog-keeping practices spread by nineteenth-century canine imperialism proliferated with increasing acceleration during the second half of the twentieth century. Second, the middle class, rather than just the upper class, helped spread cultural mores, including dog-keeping practices, in the latter half of the twentieth century. Third, dogs not only became pets, they were more than ever transformed into products, according to the logic of consumer capitalism. This chapter discusses the emergence of a middle-class, family-centered consumerism in which the dog was a desirable member, and how it led to increased commodification of dogs as products that could be bought, sold, and thrown out. It also looks at the triumph and troubles of the colonial dog in contemporary canine cartography.

Keywords:   commodification, dog keeping, Japan, canine imperialism, middle class, dogs, consumer capitalism, consumerism, colonial dog

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