Document Type

Book Chapter


As various chapters in this collection show, many Japanese people have adopted a wide range of sexual and gender identities and space has always existed for the performance of non-hegemonic sex and gender roles in Japanese society. Yet, as Ito and Dasgupta point out, hegemonic notions of how men and women should behave have been and remain strong in Japan. Much earlier work on Japanese gender has focused on the particular constraints felt by women in Japan, for, as Vera Mackie has observed "[Japanese] models of citizenship implicitly privilege the male, white-collar 'citizen in a suit'" (2000: 246). Indeed, for many Western people the image conjured up during talk about Japanese people is often that of the dutiful, suited and bespectacled salaryman - hard-working and dour - rather like the character of Tachibana in the recent movie Japanese Story. Although the lives of women in Japan have been well researched it is only recently that sustained attention has been paid to the lives of men and sexual minorities. The focus of this chapter is therefore on the gay salaryman - how does he negotiate his relationship with mainstream norms and expectations of how men should be?