Takahashi Tetsu and Popular Sexology in Early Postwar Japan 1945-1970



Publication Details

McLelland, M. (2018). Takahashi Tetsu and Popular Sexology in Early Postwar Japan 1945-1970. In V. Fuechtner, D. E. Haynes & R. M. Jones (Eds.), A Global History of Sexual Science, 1880-1960 (pp. 211-231). Oakland, United States: University of California Press. https://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520293373

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Although his work is not widely read today, Takahashi Tetsu (1907-71) was one of Japan's most prolific early postwar sex researchers, whose best-selling books, magazine articles, and opinion pieces had a wide impact on shaping popular notions of sexuality from the mid-1940s until his death in 1971. His profile in the late 1960s is evidenced by the fact that shortly before his death, he appeared as himself in Oshima Nagisa's avant-garde movie Shinjuku dorobo nikki (Diary of a Shinjuku Thief), where he doled out sex advice. However, despite Takahashi's popular profile, his promulgation of a liberal version of Freudianism, particularly his acceptance of the ubiquity of "sexual perversity," meant that his relationship with clinical sexologists and government departments was always fraught with suspicion. In the 1950s he was both detained and fined by the police for publishing material considered to have transgressed Japan's obscenity laws. But Takahashi was no pornographer; he was prosecuted for collecting and publishing case studies of people's actual sexual behaviors in his private members' journal Seishin Report (Life and mind report), which remains one of the most important sources of qualitative information about Japanese attitudes to sexuality during the 1950s and early '60s.

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