Japanese Lesbian/Gay Studies[1]

Noguchi Katsuzō

translated by Katsuhiko Suganuma and James Welker

This article originally appeared in Fushimi Noriaki (ed.) Dōseiai nyūmon [Introduction to Homosexuality], Tokyo: Potto shuppan, 2003, under the title 'Rezubian/gei sutadiizu,' pp. 147-55.

    Early critical awareness in Japanese lesbian/gay studies
  1. The society in which we now live is generally referred to as a modern civil society. It is a society conceived in such a way as to render it possible for people to coexist on an equal basis with others who have equal rights, regardless of such attributes as one's origins, ethnicity, and sex. The members of this society have become increasingly aware of freedom and equality.
  2. While this awareness has deepened and in spite of everyone's ostensible freedom and equality, minority awareness that certain attributes can, in fact, place one at a disadvantage or subject one to oppression arising from the freedom of the majority has been the basis for the conceptualisation of the problem of discrimination. It has further led to an awareness of the gap between society as an ideal and society as it really is. And thus discrimination has been detected based on such characteristics as one's sex, ethnicity, race, disability, and/or buraku[2] status.
  3. The development of the current debate on discrimination and minorities has been based primarily on the perspectives of victims of discrimination themselves and has taken the shape of declarations of dissent against the current state of affairs. It can be said that this critical debate has been manifested in the form of practical scholarship which has arisen with the goals of exposing, opposing, and ultimately disposing of conscious and unconscious constructions of discrimination which exist in various social spheres in cultures, values, systems and customs.
  4. Japanese lesbian/gay studies [rezubian/gei sutadiizu], likewise, is research primarily conducted by lesbians and gays which is aimed at eliminating discrimination against homosexuals [dōseiai sabetsu].[3] It developed under the particularly strong influence of feminism and gender studies, based on the thinking that discrimination against homosexuals could not exist independent of male/female gender [jendā] and sexuality [sekushuariti] norms.
  5. According to Fushimi Noriaki, the author of Puraibēto gei raifu [Private gay life; 1991],[4] a book which was the first salvo in the field of Japanese gay studies,[5] discrimination against homosexuals arises because sexual activity unconnected to reproduction is regarded as existing outside the normal sexual framework and because of misogyny in which homosexuals [dōseiaisha] are equated with feminine men. (In this discussion, the word 'homosexual' [dōseiaisha] is most closely affiliated with male homosexuals [dansei dōseiaisha].) According to Kakefuda Hiroko's book 'Rezubian' de aru to iu koto [On Being 'Lesbian'; 1992],[6] which marks the beginning of Japanese lesbian studies, the gender norms by which males are considered active and females passive hinders the sexual subjectivisation of women. Kakefuda asserts that the existence of these norms makes it difficult to realise the lesbian subject. In Hirano Hiroaki's Anchi-heterosekushizumu [Anti-heterosexism; 1994],[7] which depicts 'androcentric compulsory heterosexuality' [danseiyūi kyōsei iseiai] as a component of societies which hold in common the construct of discrimination against homosexuals, we can see the influence of Adrienne Rich's concept of 'compulsory heterosexuality' [kyōseiteki iseiai].[8]
  6. From its onset, Japanese lesbian/gay studies has been keenly aware of the relationship between androcentrism and discrimination against homosexuals and women; the asymmetrical nature of gender; and the construction of sexuality.
  7. I believe that lesbian/gay studies and Euro-American queer theory [kuia riron] to date are basically maintaining a framework along the lines of the aforementioned argument proposed by Fushimi. To clarify, I do not mean that subsequent research and queer theory were constructed based on the influence of Fushimi's book, but rather that the set of arguments he put forward was held in common by early Japanese lesbian/gay studies and in queer theory translated from the west.
  8. For this reason, I would like to consider the common points between the arguments developed in Puraibēto gei raifu and those in other writings from various perspectives.

    The mechanisms of discrimination against homosexuals
  9. Fushimi explains that eros [seiai] in our current culture of sexuality is constructed upon the dichotomy of 'male-image' [otoko no imēji] and 'female-image' [onna no imēji], into which Fushimi calls the 'hetero-system' [hetero-shisutemu]. Through this, we can see that homosexuals and heterosexuals are no more than aspects of this system. That is, both are ultimately about desire [yokudō] aimed at the 'male-image' or the 'female-image.' Further, these are constructed based on the shape of the existing male-dominated 'hetero-system.' Therefore, non-masculine [otokorashikunai], effeminate [onnappoi] males are perceived as having fallen to the position of females, whereby they have lost their credentials as men, and become subject to discrimination aimed at women—that is, onē sabetsu.[9] This is because, although there are homosexuals who are not feminine, the compound image [imēji] of reproductionism and misogyny constructs discrimination against homosexuals.
  10. Hirano labels the current sexual order a 'male-centered heterosexist society' [danseiyūi iseiaishugi shakai], a society in which it is stipulated that the only normative eros is that between a man and a woman, with the latter subordinated to the former. In this society, a man who sleeps with men, that is a male homosexual, occupies women's position. As women, who are the objects of the eros of heterosexual men, are placed in an inferior position relative to men, men who drop to the position of women are seen as 'failed men' [narisokonai no otoko]. This is the psychological mechanism behind discrimination against male homosexuals.
  11. While both Fushimi and Hirano point out the connection between discrimination against homosexuals and the norms of male superiority, Fushimi goes further to point out the contradiction whereby an acknowledgement of homosexuality does not simply liberate gays [gei]. This is because, as long as homosexuals [homosekushuaru] desire the 'male-image,' affirming gay desire 'conversely reinforces the existing culture of the "hetero-system," which oppresses women—and, in fact, oppresses men too.' Indeed, for homosexuality as well as heterosexuality, as long as there is desire for the 'male-image' and the 'female-image,' for gays to accept this system as it is results in the reproduction of the gender norms that support their own oppression. As a result, homosexual liberation [dōseiai kaihō ] merely dismantles the heterosexualism [iseiaizettaishugi] which occurs within the 'hetero-system'; thus, the 'male-image,' the 'female-image,' and the 'hetero-system' itself are preserved.
  12. In this way, Fushimi challenges the categories of homosexuality and heterosexuality, and problematises the very distinction between the sexes. (In terms of his reconceptualisation of sex/sexual difference [seibetsu], feminist critiques predate Fushimi's work.)

    Questioning identity and community
  13. Japanese lesbian/gay studies and Euro-American queer theory, the latter of which was imported into Japan in the mid-1990s, display a kind of synchronicity, and have in common a perspective which questions the identities [aidentiti] homosexual, heterosexual, male [otoko] and female [onna], and the sense of community [kyōdōsei] based on these identities. In addition, lesbian/gay studies shares critical perspectives on identity and community [kyōdōtai] with the emergent fields of cultural studies and post-colonialism in contemporary academia.
  14. It can be said that for those who have from the beginning been in a socially weak position, identity formation has led to community construction, and that resistance against dominant norms has been indispensable in this process. In societies with strong discrimination, minorities form groups to protect themselves from attacks and discrimination by the majority, since without such community, it is not possible to endure social oppression.
  15. However, communities sometimes simultaneously find occasion to oppress as foreign elements those who do not adhere to the group's internal norms. For as strong as social oppression is, communities must have correspondingly strong norms in order to unite. Within this communalism, the tendency to expel those who deviate from the norms is inescapable. Paradoxically, communities which form to resist discrimination, themselves construct different discrimination.
  16. Further, the formation of communities sometimes acts as the source of conflicts between communities. To the extent that the centripetal force of the community increases and the community becomes more exclusive, the norms of the community become absolute, and thus the group comes to possess a subconscious or overt sense of antipathy towards communities with different values. As can been seen from disputes between those of different religions or ethnicities, this can become the cause of still more confrontation or rivalry between communities.
  17. However necessary it may be for members of a minority or the socially weak, this situation has given rise to a critical awareness [mondai ishiki] of the inability to unconditionally affirm identities and communities. The excesses of identity politics [aidentiti poritikusu] and the exclusivity of groups have even been pointed out in the US gay movement. This background is the reason that queer theory has risen to the surface.

    De-essentialisation and doubt within queer theory
  18. In response to the seemingly self-evident nature of the categories of homosexuality and heterosexuality, Fushimi shows the impossibility of dividing sexuality [sekushuariti] into these two categories. First, Fushimi defines the construction of sexuality as based on three parameters: namely, the extent of the internalisation of the image of one's gender [seibetsu] and one's sexual orientation [sei shikō ], and the sex of one's body [shintai no seibetsu]; rather than these respective elements being clearly divided into male [dansei] and female [josei] Fushimi argues there is a continuous gradation from male to female. In showing that ultimately sexuality is a composite constructed from diverse elements, he de-essentialises [sōtaika] the duality schema.
  19. Within queer theory, Eve Sedgwick insists the division between homosexuality and heterosexuality is arbitrary. In The Epistemology of the Closet (1990/1999),[10] Sedgwick makes clear that a trans-historic border separating homosexuals and heterosexuals does not exist. She insists that, in the twentieth century West, sexuality is constructed around an axis of oppositionality between homosexuality and heterosexuality, but that in reality, however, it is a concept that includes various differential causes. Sedgwick indicates that 'sexual orientation' is not something that comes into being uniformly but rather is constructed of a complex mix of heterogeneous elements.
  20. If we allow that through analysing symbols, Fushimi and Sedgwick de-essentialise sexuality, the one who accomplished this from an historical viewpoint is Michel Foucault. Volume I of Foucault's History of Sexuality (1976/1986),[11] is a theoretical source of queer theory. This work makes clear that the concept of sexuality is a product of modernity, prior to which it did not exist.
  21. Foucault draws attention to the explosive proliferation of discourse about sexuality among modern bourgeois society. In this era, the establishment of theories about sexual perversion led to an increased awareness of sexual deviation, and a system of surveillance wherein individuals inspect their own desire [yokubō] for abnormality. The result is the formation of subjects who discover their identities through their sexual desire. Rather than sexuality being something that is simply repressed, to the extent that they came to regard sexual attributes as one's 'real self' (that is, one's essence), people had an excessive preoccupation with sexuality. Foucault termed the mechanism whereby such subjects are created as the 'deployment of sexuality.'[12]
  22. Accordingly, it can be argued that the 'homosexual' subject was also established through this mechanism. While people who made sexual objects out of those of the same sex existed prior to the modern era, people who were aware of themselves as 'homosexuals' did not exist. Treating people of the same sex as sexual objects was simply seen as a behaviour which was unrelated to the identity one expressed as a whole person. The 'homosexual' was restricted to and can be said to have been unique to modern Europe, both in terms of geography and era.
  23. Within queer theory, Judith Butler has taken up the problem of gender identity. Butler applies the concept of performativity [pafōmatibiti] to identity and to the subject (Gender Trouble 1990/1999).[13] According to Butler, gender identity [jendā aidentiti] is, from start to finish, a concept that results from the practice of consistent gender norms. We ordinarily regard identity as something that exists as an internal core, and gender is understood to be its external expression. Yet, according to Butler, gender identity that precedes gender expression does not exist. Since identity is a repetition of gender norms, it is a concept constructed as if it existed from the beginning, prior to behavior. In this way, Butler insists, concepts such as gender, sexuality, and sex are no more than socially constructed fabrications.
  24. The position of Butler, as well as of Sedgwick and Foucault, that posits that sexuality is a construct created through social, historic 'knowledge' is called social constructionism and has become an operating principle for contemporary research on sexuality.

    'Strategic essentialism'—the fictionality of identity
  25. Fushimi and Sedgwick argue that the homosexuality/heterosexuality categorisation[14] posits that, of the various elements that construct the individual, it is the sexual element which defines one's character. Now, one could pose the question, if I refuse to categorise myself as a homosexual [dōseiaisha] will the problem be solved? In fact, it is not that simple. Even when some individuals renounce the category 'homosexual,' under the present circumstances in which a vast number of people continue to define themselves thus, the category of homosexual will not disappear. Further, as long as the category of homosexual remains, if a man establishes relations with a male that includes eros, from society's viewpoint that person will be defined as a homosexual. As a result, merely disassociating oneself from the conceptual label 'homosexual' will have no effect on the real construct of discrimination.
  26. Grasping this situation, Fushimi provisionally describes himself as 'gei [gay],' while setting as his goal liberation from the word 'gei.' In the book Gei sutadiizu [Gay studies; 1997],[15] Keith Vincent, Kazama Takashi, and Kawaguchi Kazuya, members of Ugoku Gei to Rezubian no Kai (OCCUR), describe this same tactic as 'strategic essentialism' [senryakuteki honshitsushugi].'[16] While the gay identity [gei aidentiti] is necessary in the battle with discrimination against homosexuals, adopting queer theory's transgression of identity, they advocate using this identity as a transitional phase in the process of deconstructing gay identity. The strategy behind their 'strategic essentialism' was conceived to mediate between a real sense of the involuntariness of gay identity and the principle of avoiding reproducing the discrimination that accompanies identity. Once again, just as with early Japanese lesbian/gay studies and queer theory, at the core of this strategy is the sense of the value [kachikan] of the necessity of the deconstruction of gay identity.
  27. As we have seen, Foucault and queer theory elucidate the fictionality of homosexual/heterosexual and male/female subjects and identities from the standpoint of history and sociology, studies of representation, and linguistic theory. Further, while continuing to insist on the fictionality of identity and categories, there remains an entrenched feeling that these identities and categories are real, so Japanese gay studies proposed its eclectic 'strategic essentialism.' One could say that queer theory has refined this point through its analysis, but in fact it offers nothing but an insistence on the need to problematise identity.
  28. So, how do we overcome these conceptual contradictions regarding identity?

    The terms by which the 'Game' can be modified
  29. In fact, Fushimi has already theorised a response to this problem. Yet, his theorisation remains ambiguous, since he develops his argument based on an anti-heterosexist [han-iseiaishugiteki] ideology and an anti-identity perspective. Thus, I would like to further elaborate on the potential of his theorisation. The key term for his discussion is the 'game' [gēmu].
  30. To the extent that male homosexuals seek the 'male-image' as an erotic object, they allow the reproduction of the 'male/female-image' duality system, thereby reinforcing the cultural system (i.e. the 'hetero-system') which supports discrimination against homosexuals. In response to the intractable problem of discrimination against homosexuals due to sex/gender [seibetsu], Fushimi delimits 'male/female image' (i.e. gender [jendā]) to the realm of the 'game,' and, through 'layering new subjective adornments upon the male/female design,' seeks the potential to deconstruct sex/gender.
  31. Here, first of all, we can understand his fundamental idea which is the impossibility of wiping the slate clean by eliminating the 'male/female image' duality. No matter how hard we try to shed the 'male/female image,' this internalised system of desire cannot easily be modified. Thus, Fushimi calls for us to make a distinction between the 'images' of our erotic desire and social reality. He suggests that we capture sexuality [sei] within an 'image game,' and thus enclosed within love [ren'ai] and eros, it will not return to social relations. In seeing love and eros as no more than an 'image game,' one distances oneself from the sense that one's sexuality [sekushuariti] is natural [shizen] and reconceptualises it as something that is performed [enjiru mono]. In this way, in addition to coming to terms with eros [erosu], Fushimi strives toward the construction of a culture of sexuality [sekushuariti bunka] in which sex/gender has been deconstructed and there is no oppression or discrimination.
  32. While Hirano agrees with Fushimi that homosexuality is contained within the framework of the 'hetero-system,' he posits that it is necessary for us to problematise our desire itself, which is constructed through the 'hetero-system.' As for such repeated self-examination—'Why do I have to be a "male" [otoko]?' 'Why do I sexually desire "males"?'—Hirano offers no explanation of how it will deconstruct the 'hetero-system' or wherein lies the potential for this to deconstruct sex/gender. One could argue that this debate has been returned to the fighting ring and is stuck in a continuous repetition of the principles of the argument.
  33. On the other hand, Fushimi sees eros as part and parcel of the system of desire centered around the 'image of male'/'image of female' (i.e. gender). He has elucidated how the contemporary 'game' of eros is a product of the 'male/female image' binary and the rules of that arrangement, as well as how through these rules ordinary people find enjoyment in desire. The first rule of the 'game' of eros is that there is a bifurcation between 'male gender' and 'female gender,' with the second being that a multiplicity of arrangements arise between these two genders.
  34. It can be said that, similarly, an aim of queer theory has been to deconstruct these rules. The logic of queer theory, in which gender is seen as a fabrication, suggests that, firstly, in the 'game' of eros, the rules based on the 'image of male'/'image of female' dichotomy are not a necessity; and, secondly, through liberation from the 'male/female gender' dichotomy the potential arises for free [jiyū] eros.
  35. In fact, there are no such absolute rules of the 'game.' For instance, it is possible to change the rules of a game of soccer in order to accommodate the needs of the players and spectators. That is, one could say that the rules of the 'game' are arbitrary. In reality, there are some individuals who pursue the 'game' of eros not based on the 'male/female gender' dichotomy; rather, such people sate their desire according to different rules. The existence of such rules further shows us that the rules of eros are not inevitably fixed.
  36. However, that is not to say that the normal [ippan] 'male/female gender' dichotomy, that is, the rules of the 'game' of eros, can easily be shifted to alternatives. If we thoroughly consider the 'male/female gender' dichotomy within the desire 'game,' for people who live within it, the deconstruction of the 'male/female gender' dichotomy is inconceivable.
  37. Once again, the 'game' becomes a 'game' only in relation to the existence of 'rules.' For instance, people enjoy a soccer game just because of the rules on which it is based. Without any rules, the 'game' itself cannot be constituted. The elements of the 'game' that people enjoy are exclusively produced through the effects of its 'rules,' without which the game itself is inconceivable. At the same time, people will not be motivated to change the 'rules' without a rationale that appeals to them. People who satisfy their desire within the existing 'rules' will want other rules only when they sense that their desire will be better actualised under the new rules. Without this sense, people do not disassociate themselves from the existing rules, through which their desires are met.
  38. In reality, people are governed by rules, and find meaning and joy in their lives through these rules. The very same can be said of the 'game' of eros. We, as human beings, obtain desire and meaning in our lives within the 'game' of eros which is based on the 'male/female gender' dichotomy, and thus its deconstruction would mean that our desire itself would be lost.
  39. Seeing the rules of the 'male/female gender' system as arbitrary, queer theory seeks to theoretically deny the very existence of the rules themselves. However, to appropriately identify the normative and repressive components of the 'male/female gender' system is not at all tantamount to denying the system itself. The former seeks to improve the current situation, while the latter would result in the elimination of the rules altogether. Further, the possibility to alter the rules is revealed when the players of the game among themselves discover rules through which they can enjoy their desire more deeply. What we now need to ascertain is not the perfect rules or the perfect game, but rather a better game based on better rules.
  40. Early Japanese lesbian/gay studies as well as queer theory have argued that liberation from the system of desire based on 'male/female gender' is a state in which human liberty [ningen no jiyū] has been attained. By asserting how groundless and fictitious are identities and categories such as homosexuality/heterosexuality and man/woman, queer theory, in particular, suggests the possibility of a being who is neither homosexual nor heterosexual, neither man nor woman. Thus, queer theory renders conceivable the possibility of the deconstruction of identity itself.
  41. Indeed, identity and a sense of community are socially constructed. However, pointing out the fictionality of their construction generally does not bring about their deconstruction. Similarly, even when flaws in a religious doctrine are proven scientifically, the religion does not disappear. Identity continues to exist as long as there is a practical basis that renders it necessary. In spite of skepticism, sexual difference [seisa] between male and female, as well as the heterosexuality/homosexuality binary itself continues to exist; and rather than a movement toward resolving the real problem of discrimination, there is effort to wipe out a sense of guilt about it.
  42. Considering this contradictory situation, one could say that Fushimi is the theorist who comes closest to the essential relationship between desire and rules based on his notion of the 'game.' However, since his work is premised on the goal of deconstructing sexual difference [seisa kaitai], he becomes trapped by his conclusion that to get rid of the rules makes 'freedom' possible. In other words, while he realises that rules are the basis for desire, at the same time, he still argues that homosexual people should aim to 'fundamentally' [honraiteki] disassociate themselves from the rules.
  43. However, what is important, rather than debating this contradiction in his theory, is to further the operating principles Fushimi has picked out, whereby it is through the rules that desire becomes possible.

    The potential of queer theory
  44. In the works by Fushimi and Hirano discussed above, there is a fundamental problemisation of the values heretofore created by heterosexuals, such as family, marriage, and male/female relations, along with a strong will to seek alternative forms of relationships which are not imitations of male/female relationships. They insist that the marriage system and existing family structure are based on an ideology which perpetuates sex discrimination [sei sabetsu]. In the same vein, for Butler and Sedgwick, queer practices are aimed at resisting and deconstructing the entirety of the cultural system based upon heterosexuality. This is the reason why queer theorists are generally critical of gay and lesbian political movements which seek legal recognition of same-sex marriage and families.
  45. In fact, in the current social system structured around heterosexuality can be found oppressive aspects such as discrimination based on sex and sexuality. However, if we were to suppose this cultural system as a whole to be the root of discrimination, it becomes possible to show that every single component of the system is a fundamental factor of oppression. On one hand such criticism trans-historically focused on discrimination against homosexuals which occurred in the past from a contemporary perspective is anachronistic. And society centered around families of heterosexuals is the result of various historical processes. On the other hand, to say that, through this, a new kind of discrimination, that against homosexuals, came into being seems to be a socially and historically legitimate viewpoint.
  46. It is a typical reactionary posture to draw special attention to the whole of hetero-centric [iseiai chūshin] society, which became dominant due to an accumulation of various historic and social conditions, a posture akin to lavishing special praise on the culture of homosexuals. We need to judge as a whole the various systems depending on the historical and social roles and functions for which they were created; and, further, this consideration must incorporate comparisons with various cultures.
  47. When there are oppressive norms, unless members of a minority de-essentialise those norms and pursue their skepticism, they will be unable to affirm their own lives. This skepticism often leads them to deny the entire oppressive system. One can see in various discourses which oppose discrimination that the logic of minority groups inevitably follows the same sort of pattern. Japanese lesbian/gay studies and queer theory have created similar theoretical frameworks. One could argue that this kind of path is a general requirement for members of a minority, but it is not a strategy with which I agree unconditionally.
  48. Even so, motivation to resist norms arises only when the norms exist as absolutes. In practice, de-essentialisation and skepticism become necessary only when the oppressiveness of system is extremely fixed. Without such norms, ordinary people cannot understand the purpose of skepticism. The current system based on heterosexuals is no longer so absolute that the existence of people outside the confines of the system are not tolerated—circumstances which make it impossible to problematise the hetero-centric system as a whole.
  49. What is necessary is to grasp how and why modern society constructed discrimination based on sex and sexual orientation. Further, to prevent this from recurring, and to resolve the current problems, theoretical frameworks as well as practical requirements need to be elucidated. Discrimination and oppression that arise between men and women, and between homosexuality and heterosexuality, are conquered not by dismantling the foundation for their respective commonalities, or skepticism against the hetero-centric cultural system as a whole, but by suggesting the requirements for a solution, through which its potential is maintained.
  50. When queer theory progresses in this direction, it sets up a foundation, and the continuing development of theory becomes possible.


    [1] Translators' note: Issues of gender, sex, and sexuality are intractably problematic for translators. While Japanese lacks gendered nouns that occasionally pose problems for translators of languages such as Spanish and German into a language such as English, the terminology itself poses problems in this case. Foremost among these, the Japanese word sei can variously mean sex, gender, and sexuality. Seibetsu, literally 'distinction between sei,' can indicate sex and gender, as well as sexual or gender difference. Further complicating matters is the existence of the loan word jendā, a transliteration of the English gender. Other related terms present similar obstacles. While we do not wish to bog down this translation with Japanese terminology, in order to convey the meaning of the original text as accurately as possible, we have chosen to parenthetically indicate the Japanese term the first time we translate it, as well as at points where we feel an awareness of the original Japanese term would be enlightening to readers familiar with Japanese. In addition, as it may be of interest to readers, we have added or supplemented citations to source texts and their Japanese translations, when appropriate, that were not included in the original article.

    In addition, the original text contained few citations to original texts. We have added citations to both original texts and, when appropriate, their Japanese citations, when we were able to confirm them.

    [2] Translators' note: Buraku were areas where the lowest cast of Japanese society lived during the Edo Era (1603-1867) and burakumin is a term sometimes still used to describe persons of this caste. While far more limited than in the past, discrimination against people from buraku areas continues to the present day.

    [3] Translators' note: Throughout this essay Noguchi uses the term dōseiai sabetsu, literally discrimination against homosexuality. For the sake of English grammar, we have, however, chosen to translate this term as discrimination against homosexuals [dōseiaisha ni tai suru sabetsu]. We opted against translating this as 'homophobia' as both the loan word homofobia and the translation word dōseiai ken'o [hatred of homosexuality] exist in Japanese and Noguchi chose not to use either of these.

    [4] Fushimi Noriaki, Puraibēto gei raifu, Tokyo: Gakuyō shobō, 1991.

    [5] Translators' note: Several times in this essay, Noguchi mentions gei sutadiizu [gay studies] rather than lesbian/gay studies. While in the body of theory which Noguchi discusses here, there has been a fair amount of effort to include lesbians—at least verbally—Noguchi's choice of 'gay studies' acknowledges the fact that the majority of the theorising Noguchi refers to has been by and about men.

    [6] Kakefuda Hiroko, 'Rezubian' de aru to iu koto, Tokyo: Kawade shobō, 1992.

    [7] Hirano Hiroaki, Anchi-heterosekushizumu, Tokyo: Gendai shokan, 1994.

    [8] Adrienne Rich, 'Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence,' in Adrienne Rich, Blood, Bread and Poetry: Selected Prose 1979-1985, New York: W.W. Norton & Co, 1986, pp. 23-75; in Japanese, 'Kyōseiteki iseiai to rezubian sonzai' in Adoroennu Ricchi joseiron: chi, pan, shi 1979-1985, trans. Ōshima Kaori, Tokyo: Shōbunsha, 1989, pp. 53-129.

    [9] Translators' note: Onē refers simultaneously to an older sister and the speech and mannerisms of feminine homosexual males, and onē kotoba [big sister words] describe what in English is sometimes called queeny or campy speech. Noguchi thus uses onē sabetsu to refer to discrimination [sabetsu] aimed at male homosexuals with female status.

    [10] Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, The Epistemology of the Closet, Berkley: University of California Press, 1990; in Japanese Kurozetto no ninshikiron: Sekushuariti no nijūseiki, trans. Tonooka Naomi, Tokyo: Seidosha, 1999.

    [11] Michel Foucault, Histoire de la sexualité 1: La volonté de savoir, Paris: Éditions Gallimard, 1976; in Japanese, Sei no rekishi I: Chi e no ishi, trans. Watanabe Moriaki, Tokyo: Shinchōsha, 1986.

    [12] See Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality Volume I: An Introduction, trans. Robert Hurley, New York: Vintage, 1990 (1978).

    [13] Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, New York: Routledge, 1990; in Japanese, Jendā toraburu: Feminizumu to aidentiti no kakuran, trans., Takemura Kazuko, Tokyo: Seidosha, 1999.

    [14] Translators' note: While in Sedgwick's terminology this concept is called 'homo/heterosexual definition (in translation, dōseiai/iseiai to iu teigi)' (see Sedgwick 1990, 1999), here Noguchi more broadly speaks of 'the category called homosexuality/heterosexuality' [dōseiai/iseiai toiu kategorii].

    [15] Keith Vincent, Kazama Takashi, and Kawaguchi Kazuya, Gei sutadīzu [Gay studies], Tokyo: Seidosha, 1997. Translators' note: Established in 1986, Ugoku Gei to Rezubian no Kai (OCCUR) is one of the most well-known Japanese gay and lesbian organization in Japan, particularly among researchers and activists in the Euro-American sphere. In 1999, OCCUR became the first organisation primarily working on issues related to homosexuality to be officially recognised as an NPO (non-profit organisation).

    [16] See Asada Akira, Claire Maree, Yonhe Chon, and Kawaguchi Kazuya, 'Rezubian/gei sutadīzu no genzai [Lesbian/Gay Studies Today],' in 'Rezubian/gei sutadīzu' special issue of Gendai shisō , vol. 25, no. 6 (May 1997):18-57.


This paper was originally published in Intersections: Gender, History and Culture in the Asian Context, with the assistance of Murdoch University.

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