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Love and sexuality in japanese literature


It has been said that there are more words for rice in Japanese than for love and that the Japanese language has no equivalent of "I love you. That's an exaggeration, but you get the point. Love has traditionally been regarded as disruptive to social harmony and in the past was sometimes more likely to occur between a prostitute and her customer than between husband and wife.

Japanese literature has more stories about love between unmarried couples than married ones. There are also lots of double suicide stories involving geishas and their lovers. Once we say it, it sounds rather cheap. But despite this Japanese television dramas are full couples confessing their love. They often feature a male and female who are infatuated with each other, but nothing romantically happens until one confesses his or her love for the other. It also happens in real life. In one famous incident a member of a baseball team than won a big game climbed a pole and expressed his love for a particular women.

The woman played along but later politely rebuffed him, when attention was not focused on them. In a study on jealousy, Japanese men ranked the least jealous and Brazilian Love and sexuality in japanese literature ranked as the most.

Women from all three places said they felt love with the same level of intensity. The Shinto religion recognizes neither good nor evil, so the concept of sin and personal guilt so commonly associated with sex in Western cultures does not exist in the Japanese tradition.

The persistence of fertility festivals echoes the acceptance of sex and romance as a natural component of everyday life.

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Apart from the persistent traditional culture of Japanese sexuality, it is true that Japan has also experienced a rapid modernization, especially in the s and s. As in other societies, modernization in Japan has brought a series of changes in the daily life and lifestyles and hence in human behavior. In general, technological development has resulted in a significant decrease in the amount of physical labor and inconvenient living circumstances.

Development of scientific knowledge, along with popularization of education, brought more literacy and freer communications among the common people. The power of the patriarchal structure that originally gave an eccentric, unbalanced character to the family organization decreases as modernization proceeds. In this manner, communication within the family is being ignored. Modern Japanese family life has come to the point where many parents are not taking care of the children and the children are not establishing their self-identity.

On the other hand, with only one or two children, parents, and particularly mothers, may be overly protective to the point of rendering their offspring indecisive and inadequate in their interpersonal relationships. Such changes also cause significant shifts in the way human sexuality is experienced in modern Japan, including the sexual consciousness and sexual behaviors among the people.

The impact of the scientific development invited marked progress in the knowledge of biology and genetics. This Love and sexuality in japanese literature turn stimulated the development of sexology. For example, much of the mystery in childbirth, especially the superstitions that there are certain relationships between the behavior of the parents in the past and the physical nature of Love and sexuality in japanese literature newborn, has gradually disappeared.

The promotion of science education in public schools has helped this tendency.

Japanese literature has more stories...

The next event in this line was the development of sexology and knowledge about sexuality, such as the separation of reproduction and other sexual behaviors, family planning, emancipation from traditional sex roles, and subsequently a more liberal attitude regarding sexual activities. Promotion of family planning after the war years played a decisive role in decreasing the yoke of the women in Japan.

In these societal trends, religion no longer played a strong role in controlling the code of ethics, because of the allergic reaction to the national control of religion during the dark days of World War II. However, at the same time, modern Japanese have often lost self-identity in terms of development of moral judgment and values. The premodern Japanese had no choice but to accept and follow the lifestyles, behavior patterns, and basic philosophy of life of their parents or leaders in the society.

Role models and lifestyle patterns were rather easily found among the family members, as long as one did not attempt to find something new in life. Modern Japanese people, confronted with an explosively large amount of information pouring into their brains, have had to learn how to sort and select this information before they can apply it to actual daily living.

Education in information selection systems or value systems - moral education, particularly in relation to sexual activities - has become a major necessity in formal and informal education. Likewise, sexuality education is expected to Love and sexuality in japanese literature education for parenting.

All of these needs share a common base as consequences of modernization. The current national Course of Study of the Ministry of Education does not include education for either value systems or for establishment of self- and sexual identity. Perhaps these aspects of education belong to the realm of family education. Unfortunately, in con temporary Japan, the national administration of public education is so well developed that the general public has almost forgotten the responsibility of family education.

This is causing some serious social problems, particularly when parents expect the public schools to assume complete responsibility for teaching all the Love and sexuality in japanese literature of ethics, including sexual behaviors.

Kate Elwood wrote in The Daily Yomiuri: It is said that the Meiji novelist Soseki Natsume told his students the proper way to translate "I love you" into Japanese was "Tsuki ga kirei desu ne" The moon is beautiful tonight. The remark ascribed to Soseki points to the wide divergence in ways of giving voice to matters of the heart, and the potentially daunting task for both "Love and sexuality in japanese literature" and prospective cross-cultural couples Love and sexuality in japanese literature making sense of amorous dynamics.

Chieko Mulhern, a scholar of Japanese literature, and Janet Shibamoto Smith, a linguistic anthropologist, have analyzed differences between Harlequin romance novels and Japanese home-grown stories of a similar ilk. As Mulhern points out, Harlequin romances, which entered the Japanese market inwere extremely popular right from the start.

Byclose to 2, Western romances had been translated into Japanese. InSanrio created its own "New Romance" line and sought original manuscripts from Japanese fans. Mulhern emphasizes that these indigenous works "blossomed out of Western seeds" and were by and large uninfluenced by Japanese literary conventions. And yet, they were not exactly replicas of the Western model.

Mulhern compared the 26 Love and sexuality in japanese literature Romances that had been published by Sanrio up until with their Western counterparts and found intriguing divergences. Particularly interesting is the downgrading of the importance of the heroine's isolation, often a key facet of Western romances. While in the latter the heroines are often thrust into a cold, uncaring world as a result of the death of a parent, in almost half of the domestically produced tales of love that Mulhern examined both parents are alive and on good terms with the female protagonist.

Moreover, in almost a third of the novels the heroine's mother serves as a devoted and supportive confidante. Similarly, while the Harlequin heroines are typically lacking in close friends, reinforcing their emotional dependence on the main male character, in more than half of the Sanrio novels the heroines have at least one good friend. Mulhern's analysis further points to a stronger sense of self-esteem among the home-grown heroines.

Unlike in the Western romances in which as a rule the female character defines her worth in terms of her relationship with a man until she is forced to reconsider following a distressing event, in the Sanrio novels the women are well aware of their own value, and derive satisfaction and confidence from their work, which often involves foreign travel.

They seek a fulfilling romantic relationship, but it is not the be-all and end-all matter that it is for the heroines in the corresponding Western novels. Shibamoto Smith made a similar comparison of romantic novels written by Japanese authors and Harlequin romances translated into Japanese, focusing particularly on one novel from each genre.

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Her findings make plain some other interesting disparities in the heroines' paths to ultimate happiness with their very own Mr. One difference relates to the inevitable obstacle to the relationship, which provides much of the impetus for the plot. Shibamoto Smith observes that in the novels by Japanese writers, romantic impediments are usually not related to a potential partner's personal traits, such as infidelity or indifference, but rather concern his family or other uchi "in-group" circumstances.

On the other hand, in the Harlequin Love and sexuality in japanese literature, the barrier to love typically takes the form of a conflict between the two lovebirds rather than some kind of external setback. Because of this, the burgeoning love between the two often suffices to eradicate the hindrance to the relationship. Another difference found by Love and sexuality in japanese literature Smith relates to descriptions of how those pierced by Cupid's arrow feel and how their love is manifested.

In the Harlequin novels, the characters undergo a tremendous amount of physical reactions as a result of their attraction--they have difficulty breathing; their hearts throb; blood boils; bodies melt, tremble violently, and burn; and faces are flushed. The characters do tremble, although not violently, and there is a bit of blushing. Conversely, these heroines' hearts are "tickled," and they sweetly lean against their lovers or cling to them, sometimes desperately.

Additionally, while the Harlequin characters look intensely at each other, bite their lips, and so on, the Japan-created protagonists mostly look away from each other at crucial moments. Ayako Nishidoji wrote in the Yomiuri Shimbun: The popular new field also aims to improve people's communication skills with the opposite sex. Ayako Nishidoji, Yomiuri Shimbun, September 27, ]. Tomonori Morikawa presents detailed strategies for dating.

Morikawa began giving his love lectures inand his class continues to attract many students. This academic year, about students registered for the course. He screened Love and sexuality in japanese literature to select about for the class, which has about 80 percent female students.

Though Morikawa is an expert in politics, he has taken up the study of love to examine the attraction process between males and females. He analyzes people's criteria for selecting a partner, consulting leading theories from the fields of biology, psychology and economics, all because he is concerned about the low birthrate and today's trend of people staying single throughout their lives. He teaches students the keys to success in romance.

After the class ended in July, some students wrote comments on their final exams such as "I have a boyfriend now" or "I could finally end a painful relationship.

If one partner in a relationship does not have a stable source of income, it is difficult to seriously pursue dating or marriage. He also feels his class has become so popular because "female students are intent on making the most of the few chances they have to meet the right person.

So it's not enough to simply create an opportunity for them to meet and expect them to take Love and sexuality in japanese literature initiative of asking someone on a date and falling in love naturally," Chizuko Fujimoto, a sectional chief at the Hyogo Deai Support Center, told the Yomiuri Shimbun.

Mao Saito, an associate professor at Ritsumeikan University's department of Social Science, has a different approach to the study of love. The meeting often takes place at high schools or as part of events held by municipalities in the Kansai region. Saito says, "The young generation always feels peer pressure to have a "Love and sexuality in japanese literature" or girlfriend and be like everyone around them. During one talk at the "cafe," a female high school student realized she was forcing herself to find time to see her boyfriend every day just so he would not resent her.

Saito said the student has now talked with her boyfriend and they agreed to respect each other's individual lives and allow time to see other friends. Accepting such extreme restrictions could lead to a situation of psychological or physical abuse in a relationship," Saito warned. But I hope more people will start to objectively study love. Asian couples don't usually express affection towards each other in public. Even families rarely touch, hug or display physical affection in Love and sexuality in japanese literature. Most school children have said they have never seen their parents kiss.

Holding hands and hugging among members of the same sex is perfectly acceptable although this practice is less common in Japan than other Asian countries. It is not unusual for a pair of women to walk down the street holding hands or for men to embrace one another and arm.

It has traditionally been considered taboo to touch the nape of a girl's neck. The first celluloid kiss took place in and the actors that did it were so nervous about it they put a piece of gauze between their lips.

Japanese couples are starting to kiss more in public. University Library · LibGuides · EALC Modern Japanese Literature in Translation: Love, Gender and Sexuality in Modern Japan; Love in. This class is structured around three motifs: love suicide (as a romantic ideal), female desire, and same-sex sexuality.

Over the course of the quarter we will look.

The shifting sexual norms in...

University Library · LibGuides · EALC Modern Japanese Literature in Translation: Love, Gender and Sexuality in Modern Japan; Sexuality.


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