Male-Male Eroticism and the Age/Gender System of Tokugawa Japan"
Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2002
|About the presentation:
In Tokugawa Japan (1600-1868), erotic knowledge and practice came to be widely understood as a discipline or "way" that existed for the benefit of adult males. Although non-adults and non-males were involved in, indeed necessary to, the pursuit of this "way," men alone enjoyed full status as its disciples. Within the commercialized sexual culture that flourished in the cities, the legitimate objects of men¹s desire included both females and pre-adult males ("youths" or wakashu), creating a triangular structure in which the individual¹s erotic positionality was determined by considerations not only of sex but of age and economic power. This paper considers the semiotic codes that constituted male "age" and "gender" within the written and visual texts of the Tokugawa period, placing emphasis on the commodification of erotic identities that took place within an urban-based commercial economy.