2021 年 57 巻 p. 13-22
This study examines the roles played by readers in creating the home magazine culture in the late Meiji era. To this end, it evaluates the readership’s interactions with Katei no Tomo, a home magazine founded by Motoko Hani in 1903. The three findings of the study are described below.
First, Katei no Tomo enlightened readers about the existence of a home magazine culture by presenting them with certain norms of home life. New middle-class urbanites certainly espoused the magazine’s models; however, low-income households were critical of the magazine because it promoted norms and standards applicable only to economically secure families.
Second, editor Hani interacted frequently with the readers of her magazine to gauge their actual living conditions and expectations. She began to present varied images of middle-class life tailored to the homes of her readers. Consequently, she spearheaded a new home magazine culture in which the magazine did not unilaterally enlighten the readers. Instead, the readership influenced the magazine editors through its interactions with the publication, whose prescriptive contents were modified to the tastes of its subscribers.
Finally, as the interactions between editors and readers progressed, readers also began to communicate with each other through the magazine. Katei no Tomo became a space where readers could share their views on the norms of home life and could also critically reflect on the difficulties and miseries of life. A sense of community was formed in the magazine’s readers through such interactions because they could directly empathise with others and assist those who could not follow the norms of life presented by the magazine.