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


Historical Contact Zones

13:15 - 15:00

greentea woman

Cabarets as Sexual Contact Zones in Shanghai, 1916-1936

Andrew Field, NYU Shanghai Program

  In 1916, the first cabaret--a commercial space where male customers could dance and drink with paid female partners--opened in Shanghai. Twenty years later, there were dozens of licensed cabarets and hundreds of unlicensed ones operating in the city, employing thousands of women who catered to a wide spectrum of the city’s majority population of male sojourners and residents. The cabaret industry that emerged between the 1920s and 1930s thus constituted an important, influential, and controversial sexual contact zone in the “semi-colonial” metropolis of Shanghai. In Shanghai, as in other contemporary Western cities such as Chicago, the commercial space of the taxi-dance hall encouraged the blurring of the normative boundaries of race, ethnicity, social status, and class. One of the most controversial transgressions cabarets encouraged was the interaction between White Russian women and Chinese men, which upset the racial colonial order constructed by the British, Americans, French and other European nationalities in their quest to subjugate and dominate Asia. Sexual contact between white European males and Chinese women was also taboo in elite Shanghai society. Yet by the 1930s these and other transgressions went increasingly unnoticed in a city where “anything goes”. Cabarets encouraged a greater fluidity of sexual contact between men and women of diverse backgrounds in the metropolis of Shanghai, helping to challenge and break down boundaries of race and ethnicity that had kept people apart in earlier times. China’s invasion by Japan in 1937 brought an end to this cosmopolitan era and gave the city’s cabaret industry a new set of meanings within the context of the eight-year war between China and Japan. Andrew Field currently teaches Modern Chinese History and runs a special course on Global Nightlife for the New York University in Shanghai. He has also taught for the University of New South Wales, University of Puget Sound, and Dartmouth College. His first book, Shanghai's Dancing World: Cabaret Culture and Urban Politics, 1919-1954 was published by the Chinese University Press in Hong Kong earlier this year. He is currently working on a second book project examining the murder of a Japanese naval officer in Shanghai in 1935 and the implications of this incident on Sino-Japanese relations and the turn to war.
purple woman

The Rise and Fall of the 'Gei Boi' in Postwar Japan

Mark McLelland, University of Wollongong

  The Second World War has been identified as a pivotal period for the development of lesbian and gay identities in the Anglophone West. Not only did the mass mobilization of young men and women facilitate same-sex intimacy but the US military's official policy of identifying and expelling 'inverts' from its ranks promoted the visibility of homosexuals, many of whom migrated to large cities in search of community. But what of Japan? Did Japan's Pacific War produce similar effects in Japanese society that led to the establishment of analogous categories to the West's 'lesbian' and 'gay'? This presentation looks at the development of the Japanese category 'gei boi' in the early postwar period and outlines the complex negotiations that have taken place between indigenous and foreign understandings of same-sex sexuality in Japanese discourse in recent decades. Mark McLelland is Associate Professor in Sociology at the University of Wollongong, Australia, and was the 2007/08 Toyota Visiting Professor of Japanese at the Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan. He is best known for his work in Japanese sexual minority history and is the author of Male Homosexuality in Modern Japan (RoutledgeCurzon, 2000) and Queer Japan from the Pacific War to the Internet Age (Rowman and Littlefield, 2005) and co-editor of Genders, Transgenders and Sexualities in Japan (Routledge, 2005) and Queer Voices from Japan (Lexington 2007).
tangerine woman

Transgressive Sexual Contacts in the Works of Tadashi Yoyogi

Masakazu Tanaka, Kyoto University

  The aim of this paper is to analyse the idea of transgressive sex found in the porn videos and writings by the director Tadashi Yoyogi. The presentation is based on Yoyogi’s early videos and numerous publications, including magazine articles about him and his books. I also conducted two interviews with him in 2002 and 2005.Yoyogi is considered to be a great master in the sex (hardcore porno) industry in Japan. Pornographic films tend to conform to socially acceptable norms and male-centered fantasy, even though they show abnormal or excessive sexual acts. However, as I will go on to discuss, Yoyogi’s view of sex contains the criticism of the patriarchal or heterosexual norms, due to its perspective of denying biological nature of sex by referring to “orgasm,” which he often call supreme bliss. The paper argues that Tadashi Yoyogi’s works differ fundamentally from other hardcore pornography because they include the possibility of so-called erotic spirituality or spiritual eroticism that is not oppressive to women. We also find a closely knitted group centred on Yoyogi as a charismatic leader, which can be compared with a religious cult. Masakazu TANAKA is Professor of Anthropology in the Institute for Research in Humanities, at Kyoto University. His research topics are Tamil societies in Sri Lanka, South Inidia, Singapore and London, U.S. military communities in and outside Japan, and Gender/Sexuality in Japan. His books include Goddesses, Patrons and Devotees among the Tamil Fishermen of Sri Lanka (Delhi: Manohar, 1997), and The Transformation of Sacrificial Society: Historical Anthropology of South Asia (in Japanese). He edited several books such as Cultural Anthropology of Violence (1998), Goddesses (1998), Living with Shakti (with Prof. M. Tachikawa, in English 1999). The forthcoming book is about Erotic Experiences in Sex Industries (in Japanese).


Abstracts from the morning session 1
Abstracts from the morning session 2
Abstaracts from graduate session
Program page