Stream E

Family, care, and diversity in contemporary Japan

E1. Law, Gender and Family in Contemporary Japan

Wednesday, 5th September, 15:30 - 17:10

If marriage and family are key structures in most societies, as is the case in Western industrialized countries, the increase in celibacy and divorce as well as the later marriages and the birth rate decline illustrate the diversification of family structures and changing attitudes toward family norm in contemporary Japan. Yet, we also observe the trends of conformity in this society where births outside of marriage remain a rarity. As for the name practice, more than 96 % of Japanese wives adopt their husband’s surname, while the law does not stipulate which name to take. Structured around the themes of the inheritance law reform, financial consequences of divorce for mothers and children, the gender relation represented in the residence registration system and the hierarchization of motherhood in public policies, this panel aims to provide not only an explanation of legal principles but also examines how the State contributes to shape and reproduce family ideology. In which ways does law construct and regulate family life? How does the State justify protecting some families while excluding others? How does it reinforce general assumptions about gender roles? How do families navigate, internalize or overcome such normative expectations? Coming from different academic backgrounds – legal, political and social science – and different institutions, the authors of this panel will revisit women’s disadvantage in historical and contemporary context and examine the relationship between family, gender and the State to analyze the complexity of process of normalizing family diversity.

Being the Head of One’s Household: Gendered Assumptions and Consequences of the Residence Registration System

Amélie CORBEL, Sciences Po Paris / Hitotsubashi University, [email protected]

The unit of reference for administrative purposes, whether it is the individual or the household, is not gender neutral, as years of feminist scholarship have shown. Built upon underlying gendered assumption, the household-unit has been especially criticized for contributing to the reproduction of gender inequalities. In Japan, the koseki registration system has generated strong scholarly interest, partly because it relates to the highly contentious rule of single surname for married couples. However, the administration of yet another registration system has often been overlooked, namely the residence registration system (jûmin tôrôku).

This paper investigates the gendered aspect of the residence registration system, paying special attention to the mandatory designation of a “head” (setainushi) per household unit. On which grounds – both legal and normative – does a certain household member become the designated household head? How does this system reinforce general assumptions regarding the division of labor among spouses? And finally, how do couples navigate those normative expectations? These are some of the questions that will be explored.

This paper draws upon legal cases in which the ‘household head’ category became an object of scrutiny for enabling discriminative treatment against female workers. We shall also refer to feminist debates that took place in the 1980s-90s. Lastly, people’s first-hand experiences with the residence recording system will be analyzed through data gathered on internet forums.

Can We Protect "Wife" in New Inheritance Law? - A Movement of Inheritance Law Reform in Japan

Harumi ISHIWATA, Tohoku University, [email protected]

In Japan, the inheritance law reform bill was introduced in last March. It is big reform in 40 years. The legislator says that the main purpose of this reform is the protection of outliving spouse, especially wife, to adapt to the aging society.

However, this reform doesn’t necessarily protect all wives. I can give two examples. First, the legislator proposes to increase the spouse’s share but only when the couple has been married for a long time. Why does the legislator choose such proposition? Second, the legislator proposes the following rule; if there is a person who has made a special contribution to the maintenance or increase of the decedent’s property through decedent’s medical treatment or nursing of the decedent or other means, his contribution is valued and he can receive decedent’s property even if he is not heir. The legislator thinks this rule is mainly used for decedent’s son’s wife, in short decedent’s daughter-in-law. The wife may be protected in inheritance outwardly because she can receive some property. However, she may be forced to care for her parents-in-law because of this provision. Incredibly this proposition is rarely criticized.

Focusing on these two points in reform, this paper proposes to examine two questions. Is this reform suitable to protect “wife”? Is it a proper way to keep up with family change, such as divorce, remarriage, cohabitation couples and double-income family? Considering these questions, this paper will also show Japanese family’s problems from a gender viewpoint.

Gender and the Best Interest of the Child - Exploration of Japanese Law Concerning the Financial Consequences of Divorce

Maia ROOTS, Tohoku University, [email protected]

Gender remains a prevailing theme in Japanese law concerning divorce, including its financial consequences, as gender stereotypes remain strong and family realities are overlooked. I argue that this gender bias is in fact harming the best interests, including economic interests, of the children involved.

I look more specifically at how gender is relevant in the context of Japanese law (both statutory (Civil) and case law) concerning the financial effects of divorce, more particularly distribution of property, the possibility and extent of spousal maintenance, and also maintenance of the children. I will show how women tend to be disadvantaged in this context, explore the reasons for this, the attempts at reform, including changes in case law and interpretation of the law, and how effective (or ineffective) these have proven to be. Due to the fact that in approximately 80% of cases the mother gets custody of the children after divorce, the disadvantages experienced by women in relation to the financial effects of divorce will seriously affect the interests of the children.

As an important backdrop, I will briefly introduce criticism towards the prevalence of divorce by agreement in Japan from a gender and law perspective, and how this system ignores the actual power relationships in families, thereby facilitating overlooking the interests of women and children.

Hierarchy of Motherhood in Public Policies

Kanae SARUGASAWA, INALCO, [email protected]

In Japan, despite several evolutions in family patterns which are observed since the late 1970s, marriage is still considered as an important step to start a family and the extramarital birth rate remains extremely low: 2.3% in 2016. When a woman becomes a mother without getting married, she is thus considered as “deviant”.

Next to sociology, law is probably most concerned with “deviant behaviour”; it controls, discourages, or even prevents certain types of action. State control over family remains indeed strong. The civil registration system, for example, shapes the institution of marriage as well as the family nucleus: the couple must be married and have a single surname to be legally considered as a family; a child born out of marriage is registered as “illegitimate” even if the father recognizes the child. As for fiscal policy, an unmarried mother is not eligible for the tax benefit intended for single-parent household despite the real economic difficulties she may encounter, while a divorced or widowed mother and father can receive it.

If single parenting has become socially acceptable over the years, the State seems hierarchize mothers according to their marital status. Adopting a sociological approach, this presentation investigates the gendered vision of the public policies and demonstrates how they exclude people considered as “deviant”. Through the interviews conducted in 2012 and 2013, I will also attempt to bring to light how some of unmarried mothers internalize this vision.

E2. Changing Networks of Mutual Assistance and Emergent Forms of Care in Contemporary Japan

Thursday, 6th September, 0900 - 10:30

Contemporary Japan faces a range of pressing social issues, including an aging population, growing income gaps and economic uncertainty. The state has often compensated for the limits of public assistance by mobilising intermediate institutions, such as family, companies, and neighbourly associations, to act as care providers within their communities. At the same time, a variety of local actors including religious organizations, NPOs, and care facilities have also taken initiative to address perceived gaps in the welfare system.In recent years, while the increased demand for social services resulting from demographic and socioeconomic challenges has further strengthened the role of communal support, the capacity of traditional networks to secure the wellbeing of residents has been undermined by urbanisation, diversification of residential patterns and family structures. The weakening of locally-based relationships of mutual aid encouraged the emergence of alternative networks of assistance, in some cases centred on institutions maintaining a complex relationship with society. These networks often draw on their unique positioning to provide innovative solutions to prominent social challenges. For these organisations, social care provision becomes an opportunity to create new roles for themselves within local communities, and to reformulate their interaction with broader society.This panel focuses on these emergent forms of care in contemporary Japan. Drawing from ethnographic research with a religious organization, a volunteer-led NPO, and two nursing care facilities, the panel provides grounded analysis on multiple forms of assistance, exploring the mutually transformative relationships among organizations, communities, and broader practices of care within Japanese society.

Socio-religious Networks of Support in Contemporary Japan: Mutual Assistance in Local Congregations of Risshō Kōseikai

Aura Di Febo, The University of Manchester, [email protected]

In recent years, Japan has seen a progressive expansion and diversification of sources of social services, encouraged by the combination between state withdrawal from its role as social security provider and the weakening of traditional structures of mutual support, such as family and communal networks. Within a context marked by constant curtailment of public expenditure in social policy and decline in the capacity of families to shoulder the burden of care for the aged, non-state actors such as minseiin, social welfare councils, care facilities, and NPOs, have come to play an increasingly relevant role in the provision of social assistance at local scale. Religious organisations, where local congregations often act as safety nets for their members, can also be alternative sources of support. This paper will focus on the locally-based system of social care and mutual aid implemented by the lay Buddhist organisation Risshō Kōseikai, based on interactions with a range of institutions engaging in welfare provision on both formal and informal levels. By exploring the patterns of cooperation and competition among religious practitioners, family members, and other institutions, this paper investigates the ways in which the many actors involved negotiate the boundaries of respective roles and responsibilities. These dynamics also shed a new light on the presence of “religion” in contemporary Japan and its engagement in the public sphere. Provision of social care can turn into a space of interaction between religious institutions and local community, and thus contribute to redefining their relationship with broader Japanese society.

Listening to the Community: Community-based Volunteer Mental Health Care in Japan

Isaac Gagné, German Institute for Japanese Studies (DIJ-Tokyo), [email protected]

It has been over seven years since the Great East Japan Earthquake, and while physical and economic recovery proceeds in many areas, social and psychological trauma has been more difficult to repair. As of spring 2018, more than 68,000 people remain displaced, living in temporary residential units or government-sponsored housing. This displacement has an especially negative impact on elderly citizens who were already living away from family and who have been cut off from their previous community ties. Many face both physical and emotional challenges adjusting to new living conditions. These challenges are further exacerbated by institutional and cultural barriers to mental health care in contemporary Japan.

In this talk, I address the challenges of mental health care in Japan and examine the emergence of a community-based, volunteer-led psychosocial therapy called “active listening” (keichō). Including various social activities as well as one-on-one counselling services, these groups offer displaced survivors a new form of community-based care premised on “average citizens” caring for other “average citizens.” I suggest that the role of volunteers as a sympathetic third party distinct from friends and family enables them to provide particularly meaningful care to survivors, while also offering new possibilities for community amongst each other. This further reveals the social dimensions of mental suffering and mental health within the changing structures and discourses of family, community, and healthcare in contemporary Japan.

Conflicts over End-of-life Care at Japanese Nursing Homes in Rural and Urban Areas

Shizuko Katagiri, Kagoshima University, [email protected]

Contemporary Japan is a super-aged society with nearly 30% of the population aged 65 or older. As the generation of elderly baby-boomers grows frail and needs care, the next 20 years in Japan will be deeply marked by their experiences of dying and death. Sociologically, we have entered a post-modern era of both life and death, which implies more options in every aspect, including End-of-life Care, specifically where and how to die at the end-of-life stage. Several options of where to die--hospitals, homes, or nursing homes--are now available for “post-modern” elderly people.
This paper examines a new function of Japanese nursing homes as an optional place to die. It focuses on the challenges that arise in trying to enable the residents to maintain “Quality of Death/Well-dying” when the care workers and administrators provide End-of-life Care, despite the difficulty of actually realizing good dying and death. The paper explores the conflicts for the administrators when they share dying and death experiences with care workers, residents and their families as a goal of End-of-life Care at Japanese nursing homes. Qualitative data were collected by in-depth interviews at two nursing homes, one rural and the other urban. Comparative analysis revealed several findings. Firstly, administrators had an “Institutional Conflict” between care value and the medical system. Secondly, they struggled with “Internal Conflict” between maintaining Quality of Death and preventing burnout. They also faced an “External Conflict” between surviving as an agency and procuring resources from the local community.

E3. Gender perspective on disability in contemporary Japan

Wednesday, 6th September, 11:00 - 12:30

Despite their institutionalization in the 1990s, only recently have Japanese gender studies started to tackle the issue of handicap and disability. Thus, there is still little understanding of the intersections of gender and disability, be it from a theoretical or factual perspective. For example, even if the Disability Right movement has strongly contributed to raise disability awareness in Japanese society, differences between the situations of disabled women and men are hardly discussed. Gender perspective on disability is thus a recent issue.

There is today sufficient evidence that women and men face different risks of becoming disabled or as a result of disability. In that regard, women are at an increased risk of becoming disabled because of longstanding gender inequalities. Japanese women with disabilities are not a single homogeneous group: using social and anthropological analytical tools allow us to investigate the diversity of their behaviours, anchored in and/or symptomatic of some singular features of Japanese society.

In order to understand the intersections of gender and disability, this panel examines the evidence of gender biases in several fields related to handicap. This panel will present the grounds for sexism against women (and men) with handicap and some aspects of this phenomenon.The three presentation are focusing on the field of education and also on the daily life of women. This panel, based on recent ethnographic data, aims to actualize and nurture analysis on disability in contemporary Japan.

Daily discrimination in primary schools in contemporary Japan: how children are desexualizing boys and girls with handicaps

Aline Henninger, Center for Japanese Studies, CEJ, INALCO, [email protected]

Concern for school-based discrimination against handicap is increasing in Japan, yet gender and disability intersection have hardly been analyzed in Japanese school contexts, or at least only by teachers implicated in special education or sex equality research groups. I will analyze ways in which children are assessing a special gendered position to pupils with handicap. This presentation will be sustained by my fieldwork data. I conducted an ethnographic research in four primary schools in Tokyo area and Yamagata area from 2013 October to 2014 June and I also attended during 2013-2014 year to meetings of sex education and women’s questions research groups that were organized by teachers or primary school administrators.

The hierarchy between the feminine and the masculine seems clear to most children at primary school. Moreover, I will show that children are combining it with other discrimination. For example, a child with a disability, such as Kaito, or a foreign pupil who is poorly fluent in Japanese, such as Jun, is easily "deviated" and assimilated to girls, as the frequent mockery of them shows. Conversely, Sakura, a handicapped girl, is made "asexual" by her comrades and undergoes a separate treatment. Gender, as a social relation, is thus articulated with other
relations of power. Special education staff and teachers are trying to handle this issue, especially by thinking of an adequate sex education. However, Japanese education system continues to exclude gender perspective on special education.

Living with a disability in contemporary Japan: A female perspective

Anne-Lise Mithout, Paris Diderot University, [email protected]

People living with a disability tend to be considered primarily as “disabled people”, rather than “disabled men” or “disabled women”, as if disability per se was a substitute for gender. Even in the numerous studies tackling “disability” as a social issue, only recently has its gendered dimension started to be accounted for. However, in a society as highly structured by gender norms as Japan, it would seem hard to believe that people with disability are not affected at all by mainstream gendered expectations.

What is the influence of gender norms on disabled people’s life experiences? After analyzing statistics that reveal significant differences in employment rates and incomes between disabled men and women, the paper presents the first results of a qualitative research focusing on the life experiences of women with visual impairment.

It shows that disabled women are sorely aware of mainstream norms regarding female beauty and ability to carry out housework, two features that are strongly associated to their ideal of femininity. Therefore, they strive to negotiate their identities with reference to this ideal model. However, most of them seem to be trapped in a double blind where they can neither abide by this model (because of their impairment) nor challenging it (because then they would not be seen as “real women”).

Mothers of Autistic Children in Japan: How Expectations of Motherhood Shape Women’s Experiences of Parenting

Lynne Nakano, The Chinese University of Hong-Kong, [email protected]

The paper argues that gendered assumptions that mothers take almost complete responsibility for their child’s behavior places enormous pressure on mothers of autistic children. The pressures upon mothers are particularly great in the child’s early years before diagnosis, as family members, other mothers and even educators may blame the mother for the child’s autistic behaviors. Even after receiving a diagnosis, mothers may continue to face criticism. Many mothers respond to these pressures by focusing on the child’s achievement of “normal” behaviors and avoiding situations in which their child’s autistic behavior may be noticed. However, mothers are also told to beware of “secondary disabilities” (psychological problems) caused by inappropriate expectations that developmentally delayed children behave normally. In other words, mothers are blamed both for their children’s autistic behavior and for pushing their child to behave normally. Mothers respond to these pressures by drawing upon their knowledge and understanding of their children to assert that they learned to see the world from their child’s perspective.

Adoption of their child’s perspective led some mothers to criticize Japanese society’s emphasis on the standardization and uniformity of behavior. This study of mothers’ experiences of raising autistic children suggests that society’s expectations about motherhood causes enormous stress for mothers and their autistic children but may also open possibilities for mothers to empathize with and find value in their child and autism in unexpected ways.

E4. Strategies for love, gender, and migration in contemporary Japan

Thursday, 6th September, 13:30 - 15:10

Cooking Dads and Working Moms: New Conceptions of the Japanese Neo-liberal Family in the 1980s

Samuel J. Timinsky, University of Wisconsin-Madison, [email protected]

The salaryman as absentee father is one of the most durable images of postwar masculinity. Many analysts of gender in the late-twentieth century Japan have focused the ways in which women attempted to avoid perpetual servitude in the home by, for example, demanding equal access to the workplace. However, little attention has been given to the ways in which those efforts by women might have induced complimentary changes in the cultural expectations of men as breadwinners and parents. In this presentation, I will unpack the idea of the cooking father in the magazine Weekly Post, the manga Cooking Papa, and a variety of cooking guides and books—all of which released by conservative publishing houses such as Kodansha during the 1980s. In doing so, I will work through how cooking gurus, manga artists, cultural critics and writers responded the rush of young women refusing to leave the workforce. I argue that they, collectively, advocated for men to take on greater responsibilities in the home—by cooking—to ensure that the crisis facing the Japanese family, now striped of its lead caretakers, would not grow into an insurmountable problem. Such an analysis will allow me to explain the ways in which salarymen felt the impact of women’s long-term participation in the workforce not just in their offices, but in their homes and on the pages of their favorite periodicals.

Seeking Love and Asylum: Marriage Strategies of Asylum Seekers in Japan

YUSUF AVCI, Sheffield University, [email protected]

Despite being one of the most developed countries in the world, Japan is not famous for being a welcoming country for asylum seekers. In 2017, only twenty refugees were accepted among almost 20,000 applications. Since Japan’s unwelcoming asylum system has failed to provide long-term refuge for asylum seekers, some of them turn to other visa options like marriage. Considering that most of the asylum seekers are males, marriage with a Japanese woman or someone who has a long-term residency have become an option to overcome the hardships that they are facing while navigating through Japanese asylum system. There are, however, different approaches and perceptions among asylum seekers on marriage, love and asylum. These approaches and perceptions differentiate depending on various factors such as legal, socio-economical, marital and educational status. Based on a yearlong ethnographic fieldwork among asylum seekers in Japan, this paper will discuss how asylum seekers try to compromise their emotional and practical needs, desires and constraints while seeking love and asylum. The discussion, hopefully, will shed some light on the complex subjectivity of these asylum seekers and their day-to-day struggle and negotiation with the Japanese asylum system.

Overcoming Barriers to Multiculturalism in Kyoto

Carolyn WRIGHT, Kyoto Koka Women's University, [email protected]

The possibility of inviting migrant workers to make up for future shortfalls in labour has not gained traction with the Abe government despite the population crisis, and acceptance of refugees into Japan is woefully limited by international standards.  Discrimination and systemic hurdles for foreigners living and working in Japan have been well-documented.  Nevertheless, the non-Japanese resident population is rising slightly year by year, and moreover, the number of inbound tourists is increasing dramatically, outpacing even government targets.  How is Japanese society dealing with this on-going internationalisation?  Efforts to promote intercultural understanding under the rubric of tabunka kyōsei can be seen at the grassroots level.  This study focusses on the activities of a citizens’ group comprised of international and Japanese female residents in a socially conservative area of Kyoto.  The group has two strands to its activities: firstly, support for foreign women, especially mothers and their children, in overcoming social isolation and language difficulties, and secondly, outreach to the Japanese community.  Outreach consists mainly of local, small-scale contact, using existing structures including neighbourhood associations (chonaikai), and local government urban development funding and support.  However, their efforts at acceptance are being undermined by the huge influx of overseas tourists into Kyoto and the growth foreign-owned minpaku, which are causing a variety of difficulties for local residents, and thus paradoxically hindering efforts towards intercultural acceptance.

E5. Permanently on the Verge of Change? Gender, Inequality, and Discrimination in the Japanese Workplace

Thursday, 6th September, 15:30 - 17:00

This panel aims to shed a new perspective on the contemporary Japanese employment system by considering the professional experiences of female and male workers in relation to the division of labour by sex, gender inequalities and legislation, discrimination at work, and gendered occupations. It highlights the crisis and change in the workplace in Japan during social transformations in the complementary content of three interventions. We reveal the overall structured discrimination against women and men in Japanese society and the workplace, tracking its ramifications in the working and personal life spheres, whilst exploring the broader implications for effective changes in employment in contemporary Japan. We emphasise that female equality with men cannot be achieved without male equality with women. Both sexes often feel coerced into behaviours and tasks because of normative assumptions about their gender roles. Consequently, achieving gender equality for women also necessarily requires the achievement of gender equality for men. Specifically, we first analyse the post Equal Employment Opportunity Law has interacted with the Japanese labour market, and regular employment, from the perspectives of the workplace gender dividend and government policy to advance equality. Subsequently, we investigate the male position and the unconscious workplace biases and discrimination against men by revisiting the implications of the ‘Second Sexism’ for Japan. We conclude with an empirical perspective, considering non-regular employment by tracing the defection of women working ‘with the foreign’ to resist gendered socio-professional expectations.  The panel aims to highlight sexist bias, occupational segregation and gender inequality lived by female and male workers and contribute to resolving deep-seated workplace bias, advancing government policy and supporting movements for equality in workplaces in Japan.

An Overview of 30 years of Gender Equality Legislation in Japan: Progress for Women and Work? 

Dr Helen Macnaughtan, SOAS University of London, [email protected]

The ongoing focus on expanding women’s employment since the implementation of the Equal Employment Opportunity Law (EEOL) in 1986 is promoting a universal ideal that seeks to harness a dividend from gender equality. However, the post-war Japanese employment system at its core harnesses a gender dividend of difference and a division of labour by sex. This tension impacts on the degree to which government policy and a movement for gender equality can bring advancement for working women (and men) in Japan.

The Second Sexism Revisited: Towards a Genuine Gender Equality in Japan through Understanding Male Experiences of Regular Employment

Dr Peter Matanle, The University of Sheffield, [email protected]

Regular employment in Japan discriminates against men in ways that compel many of them to go on to discriminate against women. This is a consequence of everyday practices and unconscious workplace biases. Men are neglected in the debate on gender equality in Japan, and there is structured discrimination against men in society which then has broader implications for gender and employment overall. Uncovering sexist bias against men will, consequently, contribute to resolving employment practices that are prejudiced against women.

Narratives of mobility and gender reversal: Women joining the ‘foreign option’ working as professional interpreters in the context of Japan’s non-regular employment

Ms Deborah Giustini, The University of Manchester, [email protected]

Despite the Equal Employment Opportunity Law, the gender wage gap remains high in Japan and women are overrepresented in the ranks of non-regular workers, including language professions such as interpreting/translation. Blocked from the path of regular employment and male professional achievement in Japan, women are increasingly turning to the ‘foreign option’ to mark their presence and financial independence into the labour market. Although female interpreters’ professional experiences in Japan are still impacted by gender norms and stereotypes (e.g. the good wife, wise mother ideology), by exploiting their positions on the margins of corporate and family systems they are increasingly defecting gendered socio-professional life courses.

E6. Queer Economies in Queer Spaces

Friday, 7th September, 11:00 - 12:30

This panel aims to shed a new light on the peripheric economic models enacted by different subcultural worlds bound to non-normative sexual and gender subjectivities in contemporary Japan. Specifically, we will take into examination the Japanese-style gay bar scene in Shinjuku Ni-chome, the milieu of recruiters of sex workers for Kabukichō’s sex clubs and dansō (FtM crossdressers) escort companies landscape in Akihabara. These models manage to both integrate and resist the mainstream neoliberal discourses on profit and business management, against the climate of persisting stagnation and precarity that most signified the so-called lost decade(s) of Japan. By celebrating the importance of the “service industry” and promoting often contrasting models of business based on emotional labour and successful interpersonal networking, these entertainment environments work also by strategically balancing at once respect and circumnavigation of the current law system on adult entertainment and sexwork, showing the multifaceted nature of what is usually lumped into the night-time industry (mizu shoubai). Moreover, the panel will investigate the agents’ processes of subjectification and objectification unfold in space, while they build, nurture and at times discontinue – in a word, navigate – the delicate relationships with customers, colleagues and prospective collaborators. The panel will also explore the implications between the configuration of these working spaces and the ways in which the actors manage to help their business stay afloat or even flourish (spatial economy) by presenting three different areas aimed at catering to the needs of specific sectors of the clientele.

That bar life. Spatial economies and the service business in Sninjuku Ni-chome’s gay bars.

Marcello Francioni, SOAS University of London, [email protected]

This segment of the panel will focus on the economic strategies and the models proposed and reproduced by a network of Japanese-style gay bars operating in the so-called gay town of Shinjuku Ni-chome in Tokyo. It will be based on the observational data gathered during my 12-month fieldwork in Tokyo, where I worked as a miseko (gay bar staff) in one of the bars, and on the interviews collected from the members of staff there. The aim of this segment is to highlight the peculiarities of the Japanese-style gay bar culture of drinking and entertaining the customers (sekkyaku) and the importance of the mutual support system existing between bar staff and the customers based on economic support and family-like relationships of amae, and the one among bars based on relationships of obligation and on circulation of money and people. The segment will also deal with the role of the very queer tradition of “gay bar culture”. The choice of an economic model dating back to the 60s and never substantially altered has produced a network of businesses not overtly centred around profit-making, and highly demanding customers that, after the 1990s, still expect and get the same level of service without being able to fully afford it anymore. The result is an unbalanced system that drives staff members away and allows the bar to merely stay afloat but never thrive, unless the traditional system is tweaked with an entrepreneurial mindset by some of the managers.

Dansō escort service: a business space in between self-expression and performed emotions

Marta Fanasca, University of Manchester, [email protected]

The aim of my intervention is to present the model of female to male crossdresser escorts companies as an example of successful business based on emotional labour and commodification of intimacy involving non-cisgender identities. Dansō is a Japanese word that means "male dress" and it is used to describe a woman who crossdress. Since 2006, mainly in the Tokyo area but not only, several companies started a dansō escort service, offering to customers the possibility to enjoy a romantic date with a crossdresser woman upon the payment of a rate of 4000yen/hour. The success of these companies is founded on the ability of dansō escorts to positively promote themselves among customers and to build a network of loyal clients. I will highlight the importance of dansō escort companies in providing a space for crossdresser individuals to participate in the labour market notwithstanding an aesthetic appearance in contrast with current gender stereotypes within the Japanese society; moreover, I also underline how crossdressers escort companies gained space on the market offering an alternative to mainstream heterosexuality for female clients. To conclude, I shall show that dansō entertainment is a form of business that drawing upon the expert provision of affective services is expanding, as showed by the recent emergence, in the last two years, of dansō host clubs to wider the range of services provided.

Keeping with(out) Feeding: Politico economics between Workers, Managers, and Recruiters of Sex Work in Japan

Tooru Takeoka, The University of Tokyo, [email protected]

This paper focuses on the recruiting process of sex workers in order to investigate the recent relationship between objective monetary condition and subjective value system of sex workers. With regards to the sex work studies focused on Tokyo’s landscape, an unbalanced analysis of the interactions between workers and customers has been favoured at the expenses of those among workers at different levels. However, macro-economic and social trends in the last decades affected not only the service interaction but also the management of clubs and workers’ aspiration. Basing my argument on interviews with recruiters and members of management in the sex industry, this presentation will analyse the triangular relation among club management, sex workers and recruiters. Recruiting for sex industry is unambiguously prohibited by Japanese law. Employment in clubs not offering sexual services, such as kyabakura, is met with low resistance on the prospective workers’ side, but generates relatively lower revenue, while clubs offering sexual services face more difficulties in introducing women but generate higher revenue. Recruiters maximize their income when women work safely for long-term generating high revenue, because of an introduction system based on commission. Hence, recruiters try to introduce women to safe and well-paid positions, as a fully “rational choice”, making it at the same time difficult for women to quit sex work altogether. This whole process from recruiting to exit of sex work highlights the subtle economic instability of sex workers, and perhaps, the so-called “night time economy” as a whole.

E7. Beyond the ‘Control Society’: Rethinking Power in Contemporary Japan

Friday, 7th September, 13:30 - 15:00

In late-twentieth century Japan there was extensive discussion of the kanri shakai ('control society' or 'managed society'). Recent technological developments mean, however, that the forms of surveillance and control feared at that time are all the more feasible and realistic, leading to the coining of the term kanshi shakai (‘surveillance society’). Post-Foucauldian social theories also mean that we have different ways to understand questions of power and control. Theories of power exerted from above have been supplanted by understandings of networks where power is embodied and enacted in everyday practices. In this panel, we revisit and rethink questions of culture, power and control in early twenty-first century Japan. While much of the initial discussion of the ‘control society’ was carried out in sociological circles, we look at how issues of control and surveillance are imagined in popular culture and embodied in everyday practices. Vera Mackie focuses on Higashino Keigo's popular novel, Purachina Deeta (Platinum Data) and its themes of surveillance, control and the ‘genetic imaginary’. Etsuko Toyoda investigates how surveillance is conducted through discursive practices linked to debates and activism relating to fūfu bessei. David Chapman adds to our understanding of the complicated landscape of Japan’s kanshi shakai through investigating the Family Registration System (koseki seido). and argues that surveillance through the koseki is guided by a moral ideology that prioritises patriarchal notions of family, neoconservative misogyny, marriage and inheritance based on normative ideals. He demonstrates this by explaining the unexpected results of Article 772 of the Civil Code in which many in Japan are born without legal identity usually afforded through household registration.

Moral Ideology and the Managed Society

David Chapman, School of Languages and Cultures, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, [email protected]

One of the most powerful forms of surveillance in Japan is the Family Registration System (koseki seido). In this paper I build upon previous research to argue that, surveillance through the koseki is guided by a moral ideology that prioritizes patriarchal notions of family, marriage, inheritance and a neoconservative misogyny based on normative ideals. I demonstrate this through an investigation of Japan’s approximately 10,000 unregistered children (mukosekiji) who, as a result of the specific conditions of article 772 of the Japanese Civil Code, are without legal identity usually afforded through household registration. The legislation restricts choice for women in unsafe circumstances such as a difficult divorce, domestic violence and places at risk the fundamental right of children to protection by the state and the family. Reflected here is the point at which skewed moral ideologies of family (kazoku) outrank ideologies of blood (ketto) resulting in potentially disastrous consequences for those that would normally be accepted as full members of the nation’s community.

The End of Japan: Conservative Discourses and the threat of fūfu bessei

Etsuko Toyoda, University of Melbourne, [email protected]

Japan is tightening its surveillance, a word often associated with national security, such as the counter-terrorism law. However, when interpreted in a broad sense as “close observation or supervision maintained over a person, group, etc.”, everyday surveillance is conducted on the Japanese public even at a personal level by people who see family diversity as a national crisis.

This project investigates family values, which are critical to understanding conflicts of ideology in Japan. It examines family values specifically related to the selection of family names and identifies underlying ideologies behind this process by analysing written and spoken discourses. The Japanese Civil Code currently requires a married couple to have the same surname. However, appeals to government and the judiciary against the status quo to promote fūfu bessei have been submitted by protestors and their supporters. They request amendment to present laws to allow married couples to retain their individual surnames. Turning a blind eye to the reality of family diversity in contemporary Japan, every time the possibility of the amendment arises, conservative nationalists run large-scale campaigns to prevent any amendment.

This paper provides findings from critical discourse analysis of statements made by conservative politicians, critics, academics and journalists opposing law amendment and fūfu bessei. Firstly, the statements were categorised by types of claims, secondly by beliefs and thirdly by persuasive strategies. The results of this survey reveal that the bottom line for conservative nationalists is to conclude that supporters of fūfu bessei are egotistical people who neglect traditional family values for their own selfish happiness and therefore contribute to the destruction of social order.

Platinum Data and the Genetic Imaginary

Vera Mackie, School of Humanities and Social Inquiry, [email protected]

In this paper, I analyse Higashino Keigo's popular novel, Purachina Deeta (Platinum Data) and its film adaptation. Platinum Data is set in a very near fictional future. In the novel, a database has been developed with genetic information about the whole Japanese population. This can be used to identify criminal suspects from DNA traces. The database, alongside advanced surveillance technologies, can be used to track down suspects. The murder investigation depicted in the novel and film touches on themes of genetics, family, 'nature versus nurture', and the two cultures of art and science. While the depiction of the power of genetic information is somewhat exaggerated, the surveillance technologies which appear in the novel are all too realistic. At the same time, the novel also reflects contemporary anxieties about family, reproduction and heritage, which I refer to here as the ‘genetic imaginary’.