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Japanese Feminist DebatesA Century of Contention on Sex, Love, and Labor$
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Ayako Kano

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780824855802

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824855802.001.0001

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Sex for Sale, Sex as Self

Sex for Sale, Sex as Self

Debates on Sexuality

(p.29) Chapter 2 Sex for Sale, Sex as Self
Japanese Feminist Debates

Ayako Kano

University of Hawai'i Press

Chapter 2 starts with two questions: What is sexuality, and who should control sexuality? The “chastity debates” in the early twentieth century involved the former, the “prostitution abolition debates” the latter. The postwar diversification of the sexual industry led feminists to propose “sexuality as inseparable from personhood and individual control” as a default position. I call this the paradigm of “sexual sovereignty.” The critique of “commodification of sexuality” constituted the core of feminism in Japan in the 1970s and 1980s. In the years since, the paradigm has been fundamentally questioned. On the one hand, libertarianism has resisted any kind of definition of sexuality, and has also protested censorship, especially in the realm of pornography and popular culture. Opposed to this has been a paternalism, starting with a feminist critique of liberalism and individual rights, and proposing regulations of sex work protecting individuals, especially children and migrant women.

Keywords:   Japan, feminism, women, chastity, prostitution, pornography, libertarianism, paternalism, censorship, sex work

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