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Home > Books & Journals > Journal Abstracts Last Updated: 14:23 03/09/2007
Journal Abstracts #133: April 6, 2004

Japan Forum: The International Journal of Japanese Studies

Journal Name: Japan Forum: The International Journal of Japanese Studies: March, 2004, Vol.16, No.1
Print ISSN: 0955-5803, Online ISSN:1469-932X


From the stage to the clinic: changing transgender identities in post-war Japan (pp1 - 20)
Mark J. McLelland (Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies, University of Queensland)
This paper looks at the transformation of male-to-female transgender identities in Japan since the Second World War. The development of print media aimed at a transgender readership is outlined, as is the development of bars, clubs and sex venues where transgendered men sought both partners and commercial opportunities. The origin of various transgender 'folk categories' such as okama, gei bli, burˆbli and nyˆh#fu is discussed and their dependence upon and relationship to the entertainment world is outlined. Finally, the paper looks at how the resumption of sex-change operations in Japan in 1998 has led to a new public discourse about transgender phenomena that utilizes a range of medical terminology. While the recent establishment in Japan of clinics for individuals who consider themselves to be transsexual is an important development, it is argued that other transgenders who identify with indigenous categories are sceptical about the new medical model which they regard as both reductionist and pathologizing, and that their experience should not be overlooked when giving an account of constructions of transgender experience in contemporary Japan.

Keywords: Japan, transgender, transsexuals, sex-change, homosexuality

Disability, gender and power in Japanese television drama (pp21 - 36)
Arran Stibbe (Chikushi Jogakuen University, Fukuoka, Japan)
Traditionally, people with disabilities have been kept segregated and invisible in Japanese society and media. The 1990s, however, saw the start of a surprising boom in the portrayal of disability on Japanese television. Within the last ten years, there have been popular, prime-time dramas featuring portrayals of paraplegia, deafness, autism, visual impairment and learning disabilities. At first sight, the sudden increase in programmes about disability seems to follow a number of political changes which occurred in Japan during the 1990s, as increased disabled activism created pressure to move away from the widely condemned medical model of disability towards new constructions. But closer analysis suggests that, while the television dramas manage to avoid some of the negative images that have appeared on television in the West, their overall effect is that of reinforcing many of the aspects of the traditional medical model. This is particularly true for dramas that feature disabled female characters, suggesting a relationship between representations of disability based on the medical model and traditional representations of gender.

Keywords: Japan, disability, social construction, media, gender, television

Ozawa Ichirl as an actor in foreign policy-making (pp37 - 61)
Tomohito Shinoda (International University of Japan, Niigata, Japan)
Ozawa Ichirl was probably the most visible Japanese politician in the 1990s. During this period he was not only active on the domestic political scene, but also in the process of Japan's foreign policy-making. His position towards foreign policy was consistent and he strongly argued and acted for a bigger role for Japan in world politics. This study focuses on Ozawa as an actor in foreign policy-making in the following three case studies: 1) United States (US)-Japan economic issues under the Takeshita administration; 2) the Gulf War under the Kaifu administration; and 3) the Uruguay Round and the US-Japan framework talks under the Hosokawa administration. Although Ozawa was not in an official position with legal authority, he effectively used his informal sources of power to deal with these issues.

Keywords: politics, foreign policy, leadership, policy-making, Ozawa Ichirō

The Yoshida doctrine and the unipolar world (pp63 - 85)
Bert Edström (Stockholm University, Göteborg University)
The changes in world politics and the upheavals in domestic Japanese politics from 1989 onwards can be surmised to have had an impact on Japan's foreign policy. This article presents a comparison of Japan's official foreign-policy doctrine, aptly called the 'Yoshida doctrine', before and after 1993. The study is based on data from policy speeches delivered by the prime ministers to the Diet. While elements of both continuity and change are discerned, the over-all conclusion is that Japan's official foreign-policy doctrine did not alter after 1993.

Keywords: foreign polic, political change, Yoshida doctrine, policy speeches, prime ministers

Factionalism in Japanese political parties revisited or How do factions in the LDP and the DPJ differ? (pp87 - 109)
Patrick Köllner (Institute of Asian Affairs, Hamburg, Germany)
This paper offers a comparative analysis of factions in Japan's long-time governing party, the LDP, and the country's biggest opposition party, the DPJ, by probing into their respective causes, functions and consequences. Factionalism in the LDP and the DPJ can be traced back to the fact that both parties came into existence as the result of a merger of formerly independent parties. In the case of the DPJ, groups based on former party affiliations still play an important role in the 'factional landscape' of the party. While the desire to remain in power has acted in the case of the LDP as an important centripetal force countervailing the immanent centrifugal forces of factionalism, it is suggested that in the case of the DPJ the current electoral system for the Lower House has so far helped to contain such centrifugal tendencies. A central consequence of inter-factional conflicts in the DPJ, however, is the visible lack of a clear profile of the party.

Keywords: party organization, factionalism, Liberal Democratic Party, Democratic Party of Japan, personnel decisions, electoral system

They came to party: an examination of the social status of the medieval noh theatre (pp111 - 133)
Lim Beng Choo (National University of Singapore)
The Japanese noh theatre started out as a popular art form which originated among the lower classes of society. The noh master Zeami Motokiyo (1363-1443?) refined it so that it conformed with the aesthetic preferences of the élite members of the audience. Within a century of Zeami's death, many members of the audience had crossed the boundary between spectator and performer, and had begun ardently to learn to perform noh. By this time, the performers were able to participate in defining the noh theatre, rather than being constrained by the aesthetic preferences of their patrons as in the earlier times. This paper argues that evidence of the changing social discourse about the noh theatre can be found in historical documents written by both the audience members and noh practitioners. These historical documents, ranging from noh treatises to diary entries, demonstrate how the noh theatre was perceived and related to by both the performers and the audience since Zeami's time. When the genre had successfully established itself as an officially sanctioned theatrical form during the late Muromachi period, noh practitioners were able to create a category of noh plays that were markedly different from the earlier ones.

Keywords: Noh history, late Muromachi period, performer-audience relationship, noh treatises, medieval documents, furyū noh

Henry Black, rakugo and the coming of modernity in Meiji Japan (pp135 - 164)
Ian McArthur (Macquarie University, Australia)
The Australian-born storyteller (rakugoka) Henry (Kairakutei) Black lived in Japan between 1865 and 1923. During those years, he affiliated with the San'yˆ school of storytelling, and performed kabuki roles, conjuring, and hypnotism. His achievements include the adaptation of the modern European detective and sensation fiction novel genres of Mary Braddon and Charles Dickens, as well as possibly Charles Reade and Alexandre Dumas, to the Japanese yose stage. In the process, Black participated in the Meiji debate over reform and the meaning of modernity. Stenographic book (sokkibon) versions of Black's narrations show that he presented audiences and readers with characters and settings which combined European and Japanese characteristics in stories which served as prototypes of the new Meiji nation-state. His narrations also served as blueprints for survival in an age of rapid change. Black's entertaining and instructive narrations reveal how he and his contemporaries interpreted Meiji reforms and their impact. They are a social historian's tools for mapping the development of the literary sensibility and intellectual history of the Japanese.

Keywords: Literature-Meiji, Henry Black, sokkibon, rakugo, modernity, sensation fiction

Japan Forum (2004)
Copyright ©2004 BAJS

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