An article featuring the suits and clothing of Setsutaro Hasegawa – Nikkei Australia member Andrew Hasegawa’s great grandfather – has been published in Australian Historical Studies.
Citation: Melissa Bellanta and Lorinda Cramer (2023): The Comfort of Things in White Australia: Male Immigrants, Race and the Three-Piece Suit, c.1901–39, Australian Historical Studies, 54(1) DOI: 10.1080/1031461X.2022.2161587
ABSTRACT: ‘Within a decade of moving to Australia in 1897, Japanese immigrant Setsutaro Hasegawa commissioned a number of three-piece suits and separates from a local tailor. Hasegawa perhaps found it difficult to afford this clothing, given his occupation as a laundryman at the time. Using Hasegawa as a case study, this article highlights the importance of three-piece suits for masculine dignity and belonging in Australia during the heyday of the White Australia Policy. More specifically, the article emphasises the role of what it calls
‘quietly stylish’ suits for non-white, self-consciously respectable, lower middle-class migrants such as Hasegawa. Using perspectives from material culture studies and foregrounding the under-researched topic of dress (especially men’s dress) among Australian social historians of the early twentieth century, we suggest that such suits helped their wearers to subtly assert their manhood, be accepted in their local communities and more generally feel comfortable in this “white man’s country”.’