See Japanese instructions for making menstrual belts and pads at home in the early 20th century.
More belt topics
Actual belts in the museum
See how women wore a belt (and in a Swedish ad) - many actual 20th-century belts - a modern belt for a washable pad and a page from the 1946-47 Sears catalog showing a great variety - ad for Hickory belts, 1920s? - Modess belts in Personal Digest (1966) - drawing for a proposed German belt and pad, 1894
See Japanese instructions for making menstrual belts and pads at home in the early 20th century.
What did American and European women use in the past for menstruation?
See a prototype of the first Kotex ad.
See more Kotex items: Ad 1928 (Sears and Roebuck catalog) - Marjorie May's Twelfth Birthday (booklet for girls, 1928, Australian edition; there are many links here to Kotex items) - 1920s booklet in Spanish showing disposal method - box from about 1969 - Preparing for Womanhood (1920s, booklet for girls) - "Are you in the know?" ads (Kotex) (1949)(1953)(1964)(booklet, 1956) - See more ads on the Ads for Teenagers main page
Ads for the Kotex stick tampon (U.S.A., 1970s) - a Japanese stick tampon from the 1970s.
Early commercial tampons - Rely tampon - Meds tampon (Modess)
CONTRIBUTE to Humor, Words and expressions about menstruation and Would you stop menstruating if you could?
Some MUM site links:
homepage | MUM address & What does MUM mean? | e-mail the museum | privacy on this site | who runs this museum?? |
Amazing women! | the art of menstruation | artists (non-menstrual) | asbestos | belts | bidets | founder bio | Bly, Nellie | MUM board | books: menstruation and menopause (and reviews) | cats | company booklets for girls (mostly) directory | contraception and religion | costumes | menstrual cups | cup usage | dispensers | douches, pain, sprays | essay directory | extraction | facts-of-life booklets for girls | famous women in menstrual hygiene ads | FAQ | founder/director biography | gynecological topics by Dr. Soucasaux | humor | huts | links | masturbation | media coverage of MUM | menarche booklets for girls and parents | miscellaneous | museum future | Norwegian menstruation exhibit | odor | olor | pad directory | patent medicine | poetry directory | products, current | puberty booklets for girls and parents | religion | Religión y menstruación | your remedies for menstrual discomfort | menstrual products safety | science | Seguridad de productos para la menstruación | shame | slapping, menstrual | sponges | synchrony | tampon directory | early tampons | teen ads directory | tour of the former museum (video) | underpants & panties directory | videos, films directory | Words and expressions about menstruation | Would you stop menstruating if you could? | What did women do about menstruation in the past? | washable pads
Leer la versión en español de los siguientes temas: Anticoncepción y religión, Breve reseña - Olor - Religión y menstruación - Seguridad de productos para la menstruación.


Early Japanese ads for menstrual belts, part 1 (part 2, 3)
Japan influences England influences Japan: artist Aubrey Beardsley

In 1998 a Japanese college student, Tomoko Maeno, kindly sent a copy of her study of the history of Japanese menstrual products to this museum.

Below and on the following pages I reproduce several ads for menstrual hygiene from the early 20th century from her thesis. Unfortunately, apart from a few of the student's notes and a summary, everything is in Japanese. Hello? So what did I expect? But I did commission Mrs. Akiko Roller, of Washington, D.C., to translate part of the text about underpants and homemade pads.

One ad, below, rang a bell; it looked like a drawing from the English artist Aubrey Beardsley, who died at 25 in 1898 from tuberculosis. (I think he's England's greatest artist.) So I flipped through my Beardsley books and found, amazingly, the exact drawing the ad's based on (below, right)!

Japanese wood-block prints called ukiyo-e ("images of the fleeting [or floating] world," which meant the world of pleasure: theater, geisha, prostitutes, etc.), published for a wealthy merchant class, influenced Beardsley and other European artists after the pictures arrived in European ports in the mid-19th century as stuffing in boxes of merchants' goods. They captivated Impressionists and, near the end of the century, artists of the Art Nouveau ("New Art" in French) movement, who made many Japanese features their own, including flatness, few or no shadows, bold crops of subject matter, and astounding lines.

Here's one of my interpretations of what's happening below. The Japanese artist based his or her drawing on a Beardsley drawing, thus allowing Art Nouveau artist Beardsley, himself greatly influenced by Japan, to in turn influence the Japanese artist! I wonder if the fact that the belt has an English name, Victoria (also the name of the beloved British queen who died in 1901), means that the belt itself is an English import (see an American ad for The New Victoria belt and pad holder), maybe even carrying with it the Beardsley influence. Later Japanese menstrual products also often bear English words (Elldy - L D - tampons, for instance, and Hello Kitty).

Or maybe the artist was British and remade the Beardsley drawing in England for the English brand, which was then sent to Japan.

As you see, right below, the belts look like American and European models of the time, maybe meaning they were imports or copies of Western belts. On the other hand, Japan had its own traditional belt called the pony (see a later version of it), a homemade belt preceding the commercial model, which looked like the Victoria. There aren't too many ways to make a belt and pad.

More Beardsley and menstruation.

Compare and contrast these Japanese and American commercial belts dating from before 1920. 
The Japanese Victoria Band (belt), for which you will see many ads on these next pages. 
See many other early Japanese styles.
The American Venus, or Sanitary Protector, from Sears, Roebuck, 1902. 
See this and more Sears belts from 1908.
But see the American ad, above, for The New Victoria menstrual pad & belt from about this time.
Are these last two copied from one another?

Below: A Japanese belt ad derived from an Aubrey Beardsley illustration.



An ad for the Victoria menstrual pad belt (in the circle), 1921, from an unknown Japanese publication.
The artist seems to have adapted the Beardlsey drawing, right, for the picture of the woman. Not only is the whole drawing similar, the details, below, are too.
John the Baptist and Salome, published in 1907, by Aubrey Beardsley, a detail of one of the drawings illustrating Oscar Wilde's play Salome.



Look how the breasts tilt at different angles in the two drawings, "reversed" in a sense, as are the ends of the two fold lines in the fabric falling from her hand near the right breast. The Japanese artist made the breasts appear nude, as the Beardsley breasts are, although they are covered.
A crescent moon sits on the hairdo of each.
The four large "dots" on the line forming the left boundary of her clothing, as well as elsewhere, are identical in position. 
Among the differences is the Beardsley navel, unique as are many of Beardsley's touches in his art.

Two things missing in the ad are the feeling of evil pervading much of Beardsley's work, and his genius.



 Left: Beardsley dots dance around the areolas of Salome, making them flowers with nipples for stamens.
More flowers grow, below.



The flowers - chrysanthemums (the flower of the Japanese royal family, I believe)? roses? - creep to the Japanese ad fabric, above, from behind the Beardsley figure.
The Beardsley flowers, above, suitably thorned, writhe to the right of Salome.


The ad, above, repeats the Beardsley crescent moons, right.



Detail from The Courtesan Takihawa of Ohgi-ya, from the series Selected Beauties in the Gay Quarters (gay meaning pleasureful, not homosexual, although it possibly could include that), about 1795, by Eishi.
This wood block woman shows a pose similar to that of our ladies, as does the Heine drawing, right, although both bodies are directed the other way. You can see how this kind of art influenced Beardsley with its lines and lack of shadow - "flatness."
This detail from an illustration (1908) for Friedrich Hebbel's Judith, by Thomas Th. Heine, shows a similar pose.
Heine (this is not Heinrich Heine, the 19th century writer) was part of the German Art Nouveau, called Jugendstil, meaning "in the style of the magazine called 'Youth'" (Jugend), an extraordinary magazine of the era.

I did not find a Japanese original of the Beardsley woman in my library, making it more likely it was original with him - which is what I would have expected of the artist.
Below: two more pose examples: while visiting the Freer Gallery in Washington recently (2013) I saw Utamaro's hanging scroll Moonlight Revelry at Dozo Sagami (probably late 18th century), showing "an elite pleasure house" according to the wall sign. These are portions of that scroll.

page 2, 3

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