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Cultural Politics of Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary Asia$
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Tiantian Zheng

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780824852962

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824852962.001.0001

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Feeling like a “Man”

Feeling like a “Man”

Managing Gender, Sexuality, and Corporate Life in After-Hours Tokyo

(p.74) Chapter Four Feeling like a “Man”
Cultural Politics of Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary Asia

Nana Okura Gagné

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter argues that during Japan’s rapid economic rise, corporate consumption was conspicuous and promoted through corporate patronage of “night business” leisure spaces of hostess clubs. While it is tempting to think of such intimacy and exchange as characteristic of what Anthony Giddens calls the “transformation of intimacy” under late modernity, which presupposes that all relationships have become utilitarian and based on a “democratic” model of gender equality and mutual self-disclosure, this chapter aims to understand the dynamics of intimacy in late capitalist Japan. Through ethnographic research at three hostess clubs, this chapter argues that rather than representing the birth of new subjectivities and new forms of intimacies as a result of a destabilization of individual identities and social roles under late modernity, the kinds of intimacies at hostess clubs highlight how the continuing “democratization of marriage” and the private sphere under late capitalism has opened up the space for romance and love in marriage, and yet it has also produced new challenges in marriages through the “transformation of intimacy” within the course of marriage.

Keywords:   Japan, Masculinity, Sexuality, Managed Intimacies, Work and Leisure, Hostess Clubs

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