Sophia University Institute of Comparative Culture presents a workshop on

Sexual boundary crossings and sexual contact zones in East Asia

Saturday Oct. 2, 2010
Room 10-301 Sophia University Yotsuya Campus


Contemporary Contact Zones 2

10:45 - 11:45

purple man

Sexworkers Who Stay Tomorrow: Sexualised Migrants and Their Survival Strategies

Kaoru Aoyama, Kobe University

  This presentation is a tentative report of on-going research into migrant sexworkers in the vicinities of Tokyo and Osaka, most of who are women, from China and the Philippines and with sufficient documents to remain in Japan. The discourse on migrants in the sex industry in Japan is so far dominated by a dichotomy of defining them either as 'victims' or 'criminals'. The former mainly comes from rescue 'missionaries' fighting against trafficking in women and the latter from law enforcement including the migration control. However, this division seems not to be a practical one at least for its target; it prevents neither trafficking or the real crime: exploitation, violence and discrimination against sexworkers. So, the migrant sexworkers weave their own survival strategies through rescue and police operations, including acquiring the right kind of visas to stay on in Japan, and in the sex industry, often without breaching the relevant laws, sometimes by getting married to a Japanese man with or without love. Paying attention also to the wider socio-economic conditions of the country, this presentation explores further into the interaction between the sexwokers' agency and structure leading, perhaps, to a critique on a typically Japanese/colonial prejudice of sexualising all foreign women in or out of the sex industry. Kaoru Aoyama is Associate Professor at Graduate School of International Cultural Studies, Kobe University. She has specialized in issues of gender and sexuality, social inclusion/exclusion, trans-border migration, and sexwork. Striving to create theoretically and methodologically sound social research that will be useful for those being researched, Kaoru has been involved in action research projects including one on migrant sexworkers in Japan, publicly funded and led by sexworker activists. She is author of Thai Migrant Sexworkers: from Modernisation to Globalisation, Palgrave/Macmillan, 2009.
bluegreen man

Beyond Colonial Desire: Cross-Cultural Contacts of Queer Masculinities in Japan

Katsuhiko Suganuma, Oita University

  In this paper, I examine how ‘whiteness’ and western masculinity are consumed and digested in the Japanese queer context in the early 1970s featuring Barazoku, the first Japanese gay magazine that had a national circulation. My argument contravenes the popular assumption that ‘whiteness’ is a default category against which all the other racial and ethnic categories are labeled. Differently put, my analysis of ‘whiteness’ in Barazoku attests to the need of looking at ‘whiteness’ from a non-white perspective. Far from remaining as a default category, the ‘whiteness’ and western masculinity represented in Barazoku were hybridised and deconstructed within Japan’s local context. I argue that the all-too-familiar colonial gender and racial hierarchy between the West versus East was twisted and turned, so as to be utilised as a benchmark against which the normative status of Japan’s gay men’s subjectivity was measured in cross-cultural terms. Katsuhiko Suganuma is an Assistant Professor at the Center for International Education and Research at Oita University. His research focuses on contemporary Japanese queer cultures, globalisation, and multi-culturalism. He is a co-editor of Queer Voices from Japan published by Lexington Books in 2007. He is currently a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Queer Studies Japan.


Abstracts from the morning session 1
Abstracts from the afternoon session
Abstaracts from graduate session
Program page