Document Type

Book Chapter


This chapter critiques orientalist assumptions about the position of sexual minorities in Japan by questioning the Western gay rights discourse through which minority sexual identities in "other' societies can only be understood in terms of exclusion and impossibility. Arjun Appadurai has been a critic of the tendency among some Western researchers to assume that these "other" societies are "behind" the West on some kind of evolutionary path. He comments that it is no surprise that "this linkage of the infancy of individuals and the immaturity of groups is made with the greatest comfort about the nations of the non-Western world." Rejecting this evolutionary model, Appadurai argues that it is necessary to study "the cosmopolitan ... cultural forms of the contemporary world without logically or chronologically presupposing either the authority of the Western experience or the models derived from that experience."The Internet provides a useful tool for doing just this since it is one of the cosmopolitan cultural forms that has rendered more visible previously marginalized groups and communities in Japan. The Net offers a window onto the world of Japan's sexual minorities, providing one important means of access to a large number of individuals, groups and communities whose sexual practices fall outside the heteronormative roles endorsed by mainstream media, and, importantly, offers us direct access to individuals speaking in their own voice.