By Mark J. McLelland

This publication is the 1st to examine the big variety of contrasting photos of the homosexual male physique in jap pop culture, either mainstream and homosexual, and relate those pictures to the adventure of an interview pattern of eastern homosexual males. In so doing, it touches on a couple of vital matters, together with no matter if there could be a common 'gay identification' and even if innovations built for expanding homosexual and lesbian visibility in western nations are acceptable to the social state of affairs in Japan

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Additional resources for Male Homosexuality in Modern Japan: Cultural Myths and Social Realities

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A series of Tokugawa-period jokes and humorous stories collected by Levy (1973) also suggests that the sexual relationship between monks and acolytes was a general assumption. ’ (1973: 129). Furthermore, as pointed out by Leupp (1992:98), sexual relations between masters and servants (young apprentices) were common and widely accepted. That these boys should prostitute themselves for money or favours is well attested, Hidaka comments that ‘servant boys were…loved by their shop masters and bantō [manager] clerks for whom they had to work very obediently 20 HOMOSEXUALITY IN JAPANESE HISTORY in any circumstances’ (1982:96).

However, that this notion of homosexuality as a specific form of sexual desire which excluded heterosexual interests was not widely understood even by the Taisho period is clear from newspaper reports complaining about the predatory activities of university students who were out to seduce, not young girls, but young boys. Their predatory desires are not pathologised because of the inappropriateness of the love object (seduction of young girls would not have been considered preferable) but because they are symptomatic of ill-discipline.

The 1998 Bessatsu Takarajima edition dedicated to Ura Tōkyō kankō (Backstreet Tokyo sightseeing) has a brief potted history of gay bars in Japan from the end of the Second World War to the present written by a gay editor and writer, Ogura Tō. He argues that after the war the gay bar scene in Tokyo was small and closely linked with prostitution. ’ In the 1950s, the number of bars increased to about twenty but most of them were filled with hustlers (1998:146). He says that the system at these bars was similar to present-day host bars where the client would enter, have a drink and then select a partner from among the boys working at the club.

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