CONFRONTING CONFORMITY:
GENDER FLUIDITY IN JAPANESE ARTS AND CULTURE

Dean and co-editor Sayuri Hirano are currently working with 13 contributors on a book that examimines gender fluidity across various Japanese arts and cultural pursuits, including: early writing, poetry, novels, manga, theatre, photography, cinema, television, anime, drag culture and more – divided broadly into the following categories: Literary Arts, Theatre Arts, Screen Arts and Pop Arts & Culture.

Editors: Dean Conrad and Sayuri Hirano / 平野早百合.
McFarland & Company Inc., USA.
Expected publication date: mid-2023
Original call for papers here.




CHAPTER LIST**
Written in English by scholars bringing perspectives from America, Scotland, The Netherlands, England, Romania, Italy, and Japan.
Below are brief outlines with current working titles:

LITERARY ARTS

1. (En)gendering Literature: Tosa Nikki, or Where Writing Begins
An account of the ‘gendering’ of Japan’s early writing, including the first major work in hiragana, Tosa Nikki, which was written by a man pretending to be a woman. This is a spiritual touchstone for the work that follows in this volume.

2. Disturbing Gender Norms: Yasunari Kawabata's Otome no Minato and Translations of Torikaebaya Monogatari
Readings of a number of works that straddle the Second World War. Examining developments around this tumultuous period of US influence, national healing and cultural renewal, this chapter draws a line between WWII and the present day.

3. Almost Transparent Blues: Postwar Years, Deconstruction of the Male Self, and the Transformations of Gender Relations in the Cultures of the 1970s
An account of developments in Japanese arts and society that led to what might be defined as ‘the modern era’. Close readings of specific texts, with reference to literature, anime, manga, popular music and international contexts.

4. Trans Bodies and Gender Fluid Fatherhood in Contemporary Japanese Literature
Japanese society’s developing attitudes and approaches to transgender issues are brought into focus in close readings of very recent novels that challenge their readers' assumptions about parenting.

THEATRE ARTS

5. Transcending the Traditional: Developments in Contemporary Kabuki
An account of the female-role (onnagata) in this usually all-male, traditional theatrical form, alongside an examination of changes resulting from modern professional and amateur practices – not least the arrival of ‘Super Kabuki’.

6. Otokoyaku in Drag: Moving Beyond a Gender Role Binary in the Takarazuka Revue
In a curious reflection of modern kabuki, the Takarazuka Revue troupe – developed originally as a result of female bans on the traditional stage – is now finding that its male-role (otokoyaku) traditions are also being eroded by contemporary practices and politics.

7. A "beautiful woman in men's clothes:" Takiko Mizunoe and the Development of Cross-Dressing in Pre-war Japanese Entertainment
Emerging from the Shōchiku Girls’ Revue – a rival to the Takarazuka Revue – this vaudeville performer and early cinema actress developed a new mode of cross-gender representation in trans-war Japan’s entertainment industry, garnering her many female fans.

SCREEN ARTS

8. The Politics of Trans Visibility in Japanese Film: Close-Knit and Midnight Swan
These films attempt to move transgender representation away from the ‘comic’ or ‘pathological’ towards a more enlightened and understanding mode. Central to this development are politics around the notion of ‘being seen’ and what this means in entertainment media and society.

9. Depicting Society and Reconfiguring Reality: Representation of LGBTQIA+ Characters in Contemporary Japanese Television Drama
Borders between heterosexuality and homosexuality have become blurred in various recent Japanese TV dramas. The result has been a move towards free expression of gender-nonconforming identities and the development of gender-hybrid characters.

10. Carnivore Salarymen and Herbivore Males: Kimi no Na wa and the Shift to the Omnivorous Person
The recent feminist notion of the (masculinised) ‘carnivore girl’ – in opposition to the (feminised) ‘herbivore boy' – is expanded here to encompass the ‘omnivorous person’, as seen in this 2016 anime film and other popular media, including: television, manga and J-pop.

POP ARTS/CULTURE

11. Female Kings and Feminized Warships: Moefication in the Fate and Kantai Collection Media Mixes
Exploring the concept of ‘moe' this chapter focuses on gender fluid character representations that meet the needs of ardent fans (otaku) of mixed media franchises such as Kantai Collection, which spans gaming (PC and RPG), anime, manga and movies.

12. Tokyo Drag: Contemporary Perpectives
An interview-based account of Japanese theatrical cross-dressing cultures, from kabuki and the Takarazuka Revue, through cosplay, to the contemporary Tokyo drag scene – as inspired by American television shows such as, RuPaul’s Drag Race and Dragula.

13. Gender Beyond Boundaries: The Fluid Photography of Ayano Sudo
An historical account of women's struggles within a male-dominated medium, alongside an examination of the work of this contemporary female photographer, who specialises in multi-layered gender identities that morph through female and male to non-binary and beyond.

 

[**This is work-in-progress, so chapters, summaries and titles in this list are subject to change]