Lecture by Ayumi Miyazaki
This special public lecture by a Japanese scientist explores the diverse discourses and performances of josō (male-to-female cross-dressing) in contemporary Japanese society. The lecture will be in English and is aimed at general public.
This lecture explores the diverse discourses and performances of josō in contemporary Japanese society. While Japan has a long history of josō, it has taken on a new meaning since the 2010s, when josō practices became a widespread phenomenon among young people, regardless of their sexual orientation. Today, the culture of josō circulates widely through contemporary media, and its influence on popular and youth subcultures can be observed in various corners of society, from josō cafés in Akihabara, cute otoko no ko (boy daughter) characters in manga and cosplay to thousands of josō-related blogs, YouTube videos, and Twitter and Instagram accounts.
Why has josō become so popular among Japanese youth? How do they explain their josō practice? How do they interpret josō in relation to their femininities/masculinities and their gender and sexual identities? In this lecture, I will first show the varieties of josō practices in Japanese culture and how they are observed in different contexts. Second, I will describe my research at university josō contests, which have become the biggest attractions at school and university festivals in recent years. Analysis of the contestants' various interpretations of their performances will demonstrate that their negotiations with their femininities/masculinities and identities through josō are very diverse and non-binary processes. Through this lecture, I hope to show how josō reflects the complex dynamics and changes of gender and sexualities in Japanese society.
Ayumi Miyazaki is a researcher at Japan Women’s University and International Christian University in Tokyo. Her research interests center on gender and sexualities, youth, identities, and linguistic anthropology. Her research on Japanese students’ gender-crossing first-person pronouns received prizes from the East Asian Section of the American Anthropological Association and the Japanese Association of Sociolinguistic Science.