The SAGE Handbook of Modern Japanese Studies includes outstanding contributions from a diverse group of leading academics from across the globe. This volume is designed to serve as a major interdisciplinary reference work and a seminal text, both rigorous and accessible, to assist students and scholars in understanding one of the major nations of the world.
Chapter 10: ‘How to Sex'? The Contested Nature of Sexuality in Japan
‘How to Sex'? The Contested Nature of Sexuality in Japan
There has been a tendency in English and other European-language reporting on Japan to stress the strangeness and otherness of Japanese values, particularly in regard to sexuality. Reports of Japanese immorality go back as far as the sixteenth century when the first Jesuit visitors to the country were appalled by open displays of cross-dressing and male-male sexual relations (Cooper, 1995). After the ‘opening’ of Japan in the mid nineteenth century Victorian visitors were alternately intrigued and shocked by the government-regulated prostitution that took place in Japan's many pleasure quarters. Commentators have noted how the figure of the geisha, in particular (albeit geisha do not necessarily perform sexual roles), has been much fetishised across the last century by ...