In Japan, it is commonly assumed that Japanese men have a variety of sexual peccadilloes and that so long as they indulge in them out of sight and do not let them …
Mar 01, 2017 · Although the gender-bending look appeals equally to young Japanese women and men, the media have tended to focus on the young men who …
Feb 26, 2015 · Japan is not different in this aspect of gender roles. There is a set role for each man and women in the Japanese Society, one that can be traced back into the time of feudal Japan. The men of Japan have several roles that they must fulfill according to the cultural gender roles.
Like in most countries, there are gender roles in Japan for men and women. These set roles are changing, however, in recent years; they are not all the same as in the s. What are these roles and why are they changing recently? There are many kinds of roles that people face in their daily lives, and they can be roughly divided into 2 categories: work and housework. When you divide it further, work can be divided into working outside and inside, and housework can be also divided into cooking, cleaning, washing, doing dishes, etc. Do people assume these roles without any relations to gender? Or, do people assume it depending on gender? If so, what are the roles for men and women, and how are they separated in Japan? First of all, there are physical differences between men and women, and this connects directly to gender roles. Let us look at an example of when a child is born to couples. When a woman gets pregnant, several kinds of changes happen to their body, and some might not be able to continue just as they left off before becoming pregnant. If they were working, they may have to consider reducing the amount of work they do in order to look after their babies. Once they give birth, they most likely will not have their own time because they need to nurse the baby. While men often help with certain aspects of looking after the newborn, and there are many options for feeding, they are not able to directly breastfeed a baby. Many men can go back to their previous job after the baby is born. They are able to keep working despite the fact the there is a new addition to the family. Because of this physical difference between men and women, women are more naturally inclined to stay home, especially when they become pregnant or after they give birth. Men, meanwhile, will most likely keep working outside the home instead of the women. As a result, in many cases, women will end up having to do the housework. In addition, some men tend to rely on women and might not have time to participate in the housework. The above description is the case that can be seen in Japan based on physical differences between men and women. This article introduces how the roles are separated based on gender in Japan today and what has changed in the last several decades. If we look at the role of men and women in the s, it seems to be very different from what it is now. We can divide the roles into roughly 2 categories: work and housework, work as a role of men and housework as a role of women. Because of this, it was seen as common sense for people in Japan that women stay home and assume the role of housekeeper, as well as taking care of the children, while the men worked. In the s, the high economic growth came to an end, and this required that women go back to work in order to survive. By the s, the wage at work became lower and lower, and more and more women went back to work to support their husbands. Now in compared to the s, the number of women at work has more than doubled. Unlike women, in Japan, they generally keep working without much of a break for childrearing. As mentioned above, the primary gender role of men is work. The main reason is throughout their lives, they are rarely forced to remain at home for certain periods, even when they get married and have children. During the agricultural era, most men had more physical strength than women, and as a result, they assumed the labor work. And during the time of war, the people who took part in the battle were the men, and women stayed home to protect their families and babies. Today women are mostly exempted from military service, not only in Japan, but all over the world. On the contrary, the gender role of women was based on housework. The main reason is that women have more need to stay at home than men, especially when they become pregnant. Men cannot breastfeed a baby, but women can. Because of this physical difference between men and women, women are more likely to stay home to nurse their babies. What is more, because they stay home, they take over the housework while they are home. These tasks seem to go hand-in-hand when caring for a child. For example, if the baby has a meal, the mother must do dishes. If a baby drops a meal on his or her clothes, she will need to the washing. Because of this situation, men thought it was natural that women assume the role of housework. Nowadays men are also able to feed their babies from powdered milk, or from stored breastmilk. Yet still, the number of those who do is small in comparison. Because women tend to stay home as shown from the explanation above, many people in Japan maintain the idea that working from home is more common in women. The situation is different in each period of history, and certain problems will occur if the way of thinking is always the same. Do you think people in Japan are able to think out of the box to adjust to the situation? Or do you think they still keep the stereotype of men at work and women at home? Actually, it is one of the biggest social issues in Japan nowadays because many people struggle to think outside these norms. It is obvious that people should change their way of thinking depending on each situation, but this is easier said than done. The matter often heard these days is a husband does not participate in housework, although his wife is also holding a full-time job.
From the comic book B-boy , courtesy of Biburosu Publications, Tokyo. Introduction There has recently been much discussion in the field of lesbian and gay studies about Dennis Altman's theory of 'global queering'  which outlines the influence of the Civil Rights' Movement in the US and Europe on the development of lesbian and gay 'identities' which then, through the 'globalising' influence of post-industrial wage-based economies, consumerism, the mass media and tourism, in turn begin to affect indigenous understandings of homosexuality in societies where traditionally there has been no notion of a personal identity founded on the gender of sexual object choice. In this theory, the US is often assumed to be somehow in advance of the rest of the world and the models pioneered in that country for increasing the social space accorded to lesbian and gay lives are generalised as suitable models for lesbians and gay men in other countries to adopt. Japan, as the world's only fully 'modernised' non-western culture, is an important testing ground for Altman's theory. To what extent have indigenous Japanese understandings of same-sex desire, fashioned in a religious and political climate quite different from that in western countries, been influenced by western models of lesbian and gay identity? Until recently, it was impossible to answer this question for, even five years ago, there was practically no information available in English about homosexuality in modern Japan and there was only one book and a handful of academic papers concerning Japan's well-attested historical tradition of male homosexuality. Unfortunately, despite the new information that has recently been made available, some researchers still insist on viewing 'homosexuality' in Japanese society through western eyes and evaluating the situation facing lesbians and gay men in accordance with western models of what it means to be 'a lesbian' or 'a gay. What I wish to do in the present paper is stress how representations of primarily male homosexual love and even sex permeate Japanese popular culture to an extent that would be unimaginable in the US or Europe and that 'homosexuality' in Japan is therefore very differently conceptualised. However, I must point out that the visibility of 'homosexuality' in Japanese media such as comic books, women's magazines, TV dramas and talk-shows, movies and popular fiction has not created the space for individuals expressing lesbian or gay 'identities' to come out in actual life. Yet, as recent research has shown,  the notion of 'coming out' is seen as undesirable by many Japanese gay men and lesbians as it necessarily involves adopting a confrontational stance against mainstream lifestyles and values, which many still wish to endorse. Just as the starting point for discussion of what 'homosexuality is' in the Japanese context will be different from that in America or Europe, the end point can also be expected to differ. Altman anticipates this when he comments that although 'new identities may develop' when non-western societies interact with western cultures, he is quick to point out that 'their development is not predictable through western models. Japanese terms describing 'homosexuality' Discussion of 'homosexuality' is common in a wide variety of Japanese media. However, it is almost impossible to give clear content to any of the terms which are currently in use because they tend to mix up same-sex desire with cross-dressing and transgenderism for both men and women. Although Japan has had a wide range of vocabulary for describing the partners involved in male homosexual interactions, some of which date back hundreds of years, there has been a marked change in the nature of these terms in the modern period. During the Tokugawa period , the nanshoku sometimes transcribed as danshoku and meaning 'male eroticism' code contained a wide variety of terms for describing the partners involved in homosexual acts depending upon such factors as age their junior or senior role , status, gender identity, and the context in which the acts took place. These terms described sexual styles or sexual roles that individuals adopted and not some inner identity or essence based on a preference for a same-sex sexual partner. It was assumed that men who found women attractive could also be attracted by a wakashuu , literally 'young boy,' or by a female-impersonator onnagata or 'woman-shape'. Significantly, the term onnagirai ['woman-hater'] which was used to describe those men who preferred not to be sexually involved with women, suggests that it was not their preference for boys that was considered unusual but their antipathy towards women. However, during Japan's rapid modernisation in the Meiji period , this understanding of homosexuality as one 'Way' [ doo ] of enjoying sex began to be displaced by western sexological terms such as dooseiaisha the Chinese-character translation of 'homosexual,' literally 'same-sex-love person' which suggested that homosexual desire was characteristic of a certain type of person: the homosexual. However, the dissemination of this idea throughout society was extremely uneven and, as will be described later, the expression of same-sex desire today does not necessarily mean that a person will be nominalised as 'a homosexual' in terms of that desire. The novelist Mishima Yukio,  writing a novel about homosexual love just after the war, produced a neologism: danshoku-ka [i. This film, starring the famous Japanese transvestite actor Peter, is shot in documentary style and gives an interesting account of Tokyo's lates underground gay scene where 'normal' adult men maintained relationships with younger transgendered men who worked in Japan's mizu shoobai ['water trade' or entertainment business]. Today, homosexuality in Japan is largely conflated with cross-dressing and transgenderism due to the prominence of cross-dressed individuals featured in the media and the entertainment world. Thus, homosexual men are understood to be okama literally a 'pot' but meaning something similar to the English word 'queen' and are usually represented as cross-dressed and effeminate. The use of the term okama derives from the slang usage of the term to refer to the buttocks and thereby to anal sex which is considered to be the definitive sexual act engaged in by homosexual men. However, use of this term is extremely loose and it can be used to describe a man who displays any transgender attribute. For instance, an article in the current-affairs magazine AERA 1 March on men who adopt female names and personae in order to participate in women-only Internet chat lines, describes such men as netto okama [Net okama ], although here there is no relation between the adoption of a female name and same-sex attraction. Okama are regularly featured on TV comedy shows in Japan and can also be found in Japan's mizu shoobai where they serve as entertainers in okama bars serving a straight and predominantly male clientele. Figure 1: Okama and nyuuhaafu 'hostesses' celebrate New Year with a traditional phallic symbol in a Tokyo okama bar. Although physically he can pass as a woman, his gender performance is masculine and his sexual orientation is presented as heterosexual. 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