The Work of Gender: Service, Performance and Fantasy in Contemporary Japan

$36.00 SGD

edited by Gitte Marianne Hansen and Fabio Gygi

This engaging volume brings new perspectives to the much-studied field of gender in Japan by focusing on the ways in which gender presentation is turned into a commodified experience. It highlights the deliberate work that goes into the creation of gendered forms of intimacy in a broad range of settings: among female fans of pornography, cross-dressing escorts, gay bar service staff, street musicians in Tokyo and transgender people in Kyoto.

Engaging with theories of gender presentation, performance and emotional labour, the chapters pay careful attention to the lived realities of gender, showcasing the strength of ethnographic methods. They allow readers to understand not only how gender is constructed and commodified in contemporary Japan but also what fantasies feed this process. Mainly written by early-career scholars, the volume addresses questions of sexuality and gender that are of interest to scholars and students at all levels, whether in Japan-related fields or beyond.

"(…) this collection breaks new ground in several respects. First, it is a collection of essays, which provides readers a richer variety of workplaces and forms of work than would be possible in a single-authored volume. Second, the essays all feature post-industrial workplaces and workers: staff at a gay bar and at a crossdressing escort service, sex workers, street musicians, and male adult-film stars and their fans; even the notion of gender transitioning as work gets its due." - Chris McMorran, Society for the Anthropology of Work

Gitte Hansen is Reader in Japanese studies at Newcastle University and is well known for her research on gender and character construction.

Fabio Gygi is the chair of the Japan Research Centre at SOAS, University of London, and lecturers in anthropology. He works at the intersections between material culture, gender and medical anthropology.

Publication year: 2022
256 pp / 229mm x 152mm
12 figures (9 in colour)
ISBN: 978-87-7694-312-7, Paperback
ISBN: 978-87-7694-311-0, Hardback

NIAS Press