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Special Features Index  

Spotlight Japan
  Japan Japan is home to one of the most diverse and dynamic queer cultures in Asia, blending elements from indigenous traditions and recently imported Western discourses of sexual identity.  
  Japanese Art Japanese Art, from the prehistoric period onward, features images that can be given queer readings as well as a wide range of representations that contemporary viewers would understand to be homosexual.  
  Buddhism Zen Buddhism has been an important religion in Japan since the sixth century C. E.  
  Japanese Film offers unique visions of sexual transgression divorced from Western political correctness and assimilationist civil rights ideals.  
  Kabuki Kabuki, a classic Japanese theatrical form incorporating fantastical costumes, stylized gestures, music, and dance, originally showcased female and boy prostitutes, but now features all-male casts.  
  Japanese Literature Japanese Literature treats same-sex love radically differently from Western literatures, but offers many interesting texts that include male-male or female-female love.  
  Manga Manga--or comic books--are an important medium of cultural expression in Japan and frequently feature male and female homosexuality. Leading gay organizations in Japan have criticized some manga for distorted representations of homosexuality.  
  Yushio Mishima Yukio Mishima (1925-1970) pursued a quest for masculinity in which he mythologized himself both in his life and his writings. His quest culminated in his ritual suicide in 1970.  
  Ihara Saikaku's (1642-1693) primary appeal to modern GLBT readers is his collection of forty short stories called The Great Mirror of Male Love, which depicts male homosexual love as it was practiced in seventeenth-century Japan.  
  Japanese Sex Worker Sex Workers have been depicted in many pre-modern cultures, but the colored woodcuts produced in Tokugawa Japan (1603-1868) stand out as the most extensive visual documentation ever produced of queer sex work.  
  Slash Fiction refers to a genre of fan writing that imagines homoerotic bonds developing between the leads of a variety of "cult" mainstream media productions, including television shows and films. YAOI originated as a subgenre of Japanese Manga that takes as its love objects "bishonen" or the "beautiful boy" heroes characteristic of Japanese manga and animation.  
  Mutsuo Takahashi Mutsuo Takahashi (b. 1937) is an internationally recognized poet and playwright who celebrates homosexual desire in his explicitly gay work.  
  Takarazuka Takarazuka, all-female musical and theater companies, are popular entertainment in Japan, but they tellingly illustrate the construction of gender roles and inspire intense--often homoerotic--fan response.  
  Tokyo Tokyo is home to a vast entertainment world that supports hundreds of venues for individuals with diverse sexual and gender identities and interests.  


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