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2009年6月15日 (月)

戦国史跡:「歴女」急増中 武将の男らしさに…

(Mainichi Japan) June 14, 2009
New wave of 'history girls' wooed by warlords' masculinity
戦国史跡:「歴女」急増中 武将の男らしさに…

Young women are flocking to significant landmarks from the Warring States period, and college girls are buying up samurai-themed products. Sales of historical books are up, and there have been efforts to revive the publication of paperbacks on warlords. Behind this craze is the surge in "reki-jo" or "history girls." But why now?
歴史をテーマにした書店「時代屋」には「歴女」と呼ばれる女性たちが足を運ぶ=東京都千代田区で2009年5月26日午後、佐々木順一撮影 戦国時代の史跡が若い女性たちでにぎわい、武将をテーマにしたグッズも女子大生らに人気だ。背景にあるのは、歴史好きの女性「レキジョ」(歴女)の増加。歴史を扱う本の売れ行きも好調で、武将を取り上げた文庫本を復刊する動きも出ている。なぜ、いまレキジョなのか。【田村彰子、遠藤拓】 

On weekends, Jidai Shobo, a bookstore specializing in historical books in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward, is packed with groups of young women. Most of the shop's customers were men when it first opened in February 2006, but by last year, half were women, of which around 90 percent are in their 20s and 30s.

Stationery and mobile phone accessories with family crests of feudal lords line the shelves, with figurines of Sanada Yukimura, the most popular of the warlords, and others also for sale. "I like Kato Kiyomasa," says customer Izumi Sekine, 34, of a warlord who served the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. "There's an almost picture-perfect masculinity about him."

In August 2008, the Kojuro Plaza opened in the city of Shiroishi in Miyagi Prefecture, home of Katakura Kojuro, a senior retainer of the 17th century warlord Date Masamune. Sales of Kojuro-related goods subsequently exceeded 100,000 yen on some days. Visitors to Shiroishi Castle during the week-long holiday in May jumped to 135 percent compared to the previous year, and most recent visitors have been young women, according to city officials. The tourist center in Ueda, Sanada Yukimura's hometown in Nagano Prefecture, has also enjoyed a jump in sales.

The publishing business has felt the effects of this boom as well. Monthly magazine "Rekishi kaido" ("History way") had a circulation of less than 70,000 copies five years ago; now it sees sales of 120,000 copies.

"The proportion of female readers has gone up from 15 percent of total readers to 40 percent," says editor-in-chief Kiyotaka Tatsumoto. The magazine's publisher, PHP Institute, revived publication of the biographies of warlords Date Masamune (1567-1636) and Uesugi Kenshin (1530-1578) in late March this year, and plans to revive publication of the biographies of Hosokawa Tadaoki (1563-1646) and Gamo Ujisato (1556-1595) due to popular demand.

More unorthodox products have seen a boost in sales as well. There is a constant shortage in stock of Sido brand underwear or men's "armor" underwear, which cost a considerable 9,240 a pair. According to Tokyo-based manufacturer Rogin, about 80 percent of buyers are women.
"As a result of the history boom, our underwear seems to have gained popularity as gifts," says Rogin president Shiro Nogi. "We're planning to come out with a women's line, too."


So how do "reki-jo" differ from the original history buffs, who were mostly middle-aged men?
"In general, men relate battles and the management styles of warlords back to their own corporate environments, and try to use whatever they lessons they can to improve their own work lives," says Tetsuo Owada, a professor emeritus at Shizuoka University who has written over 100 books on the Warring States period.
"But for women, it's more about the admiration they feel towards the warlords' approach to their lives." Owada adds that this may be a backlash against what they see as the selfishness of political and financial leaders today.

Meanwhile, researcher Tetsuaki Higashida from the Dentsu Communication Institute suggests that women are attracted to the masculinity of these warlords, compared to the more passive modern men that they know. "Gender role reversals have been taking place, with men cooking and women playing golf," he says. "It's not unacceptable nowadays for women to take an interest in warlords, which used to be an area of interest reserved for men."

毎日新聞 2009年6月9日 11時46分(最終更新 6月9日 13時03分)


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