During my 2BA study I was assigned to recreate a painting or photograph of a Western historical costume. I chose to recreate a postcard of a nurse from the Russo-Japanese war in 1905 because I thought it to be one of the first documented visuals of globalization within garments. Prior to the late 19th century, the island of Japan had been ruled as an isolated nation under the rule of Shogunates unchallenged for the last several hundred years.  However, the Shogunates were loosing power and the Emperor was reinstated and during the Meiji period Japan became an open nation for all Western powers to access and harness for their own economic and political benefits. The British and American’s invested heavily in Japan due to its geographical proximity to Russia (who were considered a threat to both super powers).

The Japanese were introduced to Western combat tactics and with that came the principles of the Red Cross.  The nursing costumes the Japanese women would wear during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905 were a hybrid of Western and Japanese garments.  The Japanese woman struggled to adapt to the typical undergarments used in the West like the corset which many woman had been trained to use throughout their adolescence. The photo I chose to recreate was part of a ‘pin-up’ postcard series used throughout the war the raise the morale of the soldiers. The woman sitting for the portrait was wearing a corset and petticoat for the photo but typically the Japanese nurses would wear Western nursing uniforms with customary Japanese underwear, socks, and sandals (tabi and geta).