Like a teatray in the sky

The walls of the University of Queensland version of Maidens Sans Frontiers were papered with a collection of postcards, fliers, and photocopies that I have collected and plastered my office spaces with since I was an exchange student in the wilds of Niigata in northern Japan in 1999.

Let me share a secret with you – I cannot abide white walls. For whatever reason my brain refuses to function in white clad spaces. I am sitting in my new office at the University of Tasmania with a wall of bookcases at my back and a white wall at my front. One of the jobs I have set for myself for the first few weeks of 2022 is to correct this.

I started my first job as an academic in 2013 as a member of the Japanese department at Victoria University of Wellington. This was my office after the first few hours of inhabiting it. By the time I left the postcards and fliers and other ephemera had spread to cover that entire wall and cover the walls and window adjacent to it.

The images in this collection illustrate the full range of what I think of when I think of shojo – frilly dresses, delicate flowers, glistening sweets and treats, bloody guns, dark desires, beautiful kimono silks, and cats. Lots of cats.

Emerald L King

The featured image shows our currator Emily Wakeling in front of the exhibition at UQ in September 2021

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