orthent (orthent) wrote in little_details,

Garment industry and women's dress in Japan, ca. 1905?

For a story about a canon character's childhood, I need to figure out how his older sister might support the two of them in Tokyo in the early 20th century. In the absence of any clear canon information to the contrary, I'm making her about nine years older than he is--fourteen years old to his five, in 1905--because as far as I know, they're alone in the world, so she would need to be able to take care of him and earn a living. (She is the only relative of his mentioned in canon.)

Is it possible/likely to have her working in a factory making naval uniforms and, on the side, taking in piecework to sew at home? Would that kind of work be available to a young woman in Tokyo at the time? (I'm assuming that she looks older than fourteen and can lie convincingly about her age if need be.)

Also--and this is a very minor detail, but would she wear the western factory girl's "uniform" of dark skirt and shirtwaist blouse? In canon, her brother has a flashback to his childhood, and he's shown wearing a shirt and short pants.

My Google-fu is failing me--I've tried various combinations of Japan, garment industry, women's fashion, clothing, shirtwaist, western dress without much luck.
Tags: 1900-1909, japan: history, ~clothing

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