Asian masculinity celebrated and otherised
Representations of Chinese and Korean men in Japanese written media
Keywords:Asian masculinity, Chinese masculinity, Korean masculinity, sexuality, Korean Wave, media representation, Japanese written media
Japanese writers portray Chinese and Korean men as physically masculine, which often involves heightened sexuality, in two ways. First, some female writers discuss Japanese women’s heterosexual desire for Chinese and Korean men by emphasising these men’s physicality and desirable masculinity. Second, Japanese novelists often assign hypermasculine language to Chinese and Korean male characters. By celebrating Chinese and Korean masculinity, such depictions offer a counternarrative to derogatory stereotypes that have circulated and continue to circulate in rightwing (often male) nationalistic discourses. At the same time, however, the language these writers employ otherises Chinese and Korean men by hypersexualising them and placing them outside mainstream Japanese society.
Abad-Santos, Alex (2018) ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ has a daring premise: an Asian man that everyone desires. Vox. Retrieved 1 June 2019 from https://www.vox.com/culture/2018/8/17/17682032/crazy-rich-asians-representation-asian-men
Abe, Tsunehisa, Obinata, Sumio and Amano, Masako (2006) Dansei-shi 3: ‘Otokorashisa’ no gendai-shi [Men’s History 3: Recent History of ‘Manliness’]. Tokyo: Nihon Keizai Hyoronsha.
Ahn, Ji-Hyun and Yoon, E. Kyung (2020) Between love and hate: the new Korean Wave, Japanese female fans, and anti-Korean sentiment in Japan. Journal of Contemporary Eastern Asia 19(2): 179–196. https://doi.org/10.17477/jcea.2020.19.2.179
Appleby, Roslyn (2013) Desire in translation: white masculinity and TESOL. TESOL Quarterly 47(1): 122–147. https://doi.org/10.1080/09540253.2014.968530
Chao, Cary (2018) Going virile: how ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ redefines Hollywood’s Asian man. The Undefeated. Retrieved 1 June 2019 from https://theundefeated.com/features/going-virile-how-crazy-rich-asians-redefines-hollywoods-asian-man/
Chun, Elaine W. (2001) The construction of white, black, and Korean American identities through African American vernacular English. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 11(1): 52–64. https://doi.org/10.1525/jlin.2001.11.1.52
Clammer, John (2008) Imagination, memory and misunderstanding: the Chinese in Japan and Japanese perceptions of China. In Kuah-Pearce Khun Eng and Andrew P. Davidson (eds) At Home in the Chinese Diaspora: Memories, Identities and Belongings 146–163. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Connell, R. W. (2005) Masculinities, 2nd edition. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Dahlberg-Dodd, Hannah E. (2018) Voices of the hero: dominant masculine ideologies through the speech of Japanese shonen protagonists. Gender and Language 12(3): 346–371. https://doi.org/10.1558/genl.32536
Dasgupta, Romit (2005) Creating corporate warriors: the ‘salaryman’ and masculinity in Japan. In Kam Louie and Morris Low (eds) Asian Masculinities: The Meaning and Practice of Manhood in China and Japan 118–134. London: Routledge.
Dasgupta, Romit (2013) Re-reading the Salaryman in Japan: Crafting Masculinities. London: Routledge.
Elman, Benjamin A. (2015) Optical and cognitive illusions: the MIT Visualizing Cultures controversy in spring 2006. Positions 23(1): 15–39. https://doi.org/10.1215/10679847-2870450
Fukuda, Chie (2020) Identity and category construction of the sengyoshufu (‘househusband’) in Japanese TV shows: a gendered division of labour in transition. Gender and Language 14(3): 263–285. https://doi.org/10.1558/genl.39955
Hiramoto, Mie and Pua, Phoebe (2019) Racializing heterosexuality: non-normativity and East Asian characters in James Bond films. Language in Society 48(4): 541–563. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0047404519000381
Hirano, Hiroaki (1994) Anchi heterosekushizumu [Anti-heterosexism]. Tokyo: Gendai Shokan.
Ishii, Ken’ichi, Kobari, Susumu and Watanabe, Satoshi (2019) Nichuukan no soogo imeeji to popyuraa bunka: Kokka burandingu seisaku no tenkai [Mutual Images among Japan, China, and Korea and Popular Culture: Developments of National Branding Policies]. Tokyo: Akashi Shoten.
Itakura, Hiroko (2015) Constructing Japanese men’s multidimensional identities: a case study of mixed-gender talk. Pragmatics 25(2): 179–203. http://dx.doi.org/10.1075/prag.25.2.03ita
Jung, Sun (2011) Korean Masculinities and Transcultural Consumption: Yonsama, Rain, Oldboy, K-pop Idols. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.
Kamei-Dyche, Andrew T. (2017) Reading culture in Japan. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Literature. https://oxfordre.com/literature/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780190201098.001.0001/acrefore-9780190201098-e-287
Kelsky, Karen (2001) Who sleeps with whom, or how (not) to want the West in Japan. Qualitative Inquiry 7(4): 418–435. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/107780040100700402
Kinsui, Satoshi (2003) Vaacharu nihongo yakuwarigo no nazo [Virtual Japanese: The Mystery of Role Language]. Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten.
Kinsui, Satoshi (2010) ‘Otoko kotoba’ no rekishi: ‘ore’ ‘boku’ o chuushin ni [The history of ‘men’s language’: with a focus on ‘ore’ and ‘boku’]. In Momoko Nakamura (ed) Gendaa de manabu gengogaku [Linguistics Learned from the Gender Perspective] 35–49. Kyoto: Sekai Shisosha.
Lie, John (2016) Obasan and Kanryu: modalities of convergence of middle-aged Japanese women around South Korean popular culture and gender divergence in Japan. In Patrick W. Galbraith and Jason G. Karlin (eds) Media Convergence in Japan 124–141. Tokyo: Kinema Club.
Lin, Xiaodong, Haywood, Chris and Mac an Ghaill, Mairtin (eds) (2017) East Asian Men: Masculinity, Sexuality and Desire. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Louie, Kam (2002) Theorising Chinese Masculinity: Society and Gender in China. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Louie, Kam (2012) Popular culture and masculinity ideals in East Asia, with special reference to China. The Journal of Asian Studies 71(4): 929–943. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0021911812001234
Louie, Kam and Low, Morris (eds) (2005) Asian Masculinities: The Meaning and Practice of Manhood in China and Japan. London: Routledge.
McLelland, Mark (2000) Male Homosexuality in Modern Japan: Cultural Myths and Social Realities. Richmond, Surrey: Curzon.
McLelland, Mark (2005) Queer Japan from the Pacific War to the Internet Age. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
McLelland, Mark and Mackie, Vera (eds) (2015) Routledge Handbook of Sexuality Studies in East Asia. London: Routledge.
McVeigh, Brian J. (2006). Nationalisms of Japan: Managing and Mystifying Identity. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
Miller, Laura (2008) Korean TV dramas and the Japan-style Korean Wave. PostScript 27(3): 17–24. https://www.proquest.com/docview/
Miyazaki, Ayumi (2004) Japanese junior high school girls’ and boys’ first-person pronoun use and their social world. In Shigeko Okamoto and Janet S. Shibamoto Smith (eds) Japanese Language, Gender, and Ideology: Cultural Models and Real People 256–274. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Mukai, Satoshi (1998) Tantei biyori [Detective Weather]. Tokyo: Mainichi Shinbunsha.
Nakamura, Momoko (2007) ‘Sei’ to nihongo: Kotoba ga tsukuru onna to otoko [‘Sex/Gender’ and Japanese: Women and Men That Language Constructs]. Tokyo: Nihon Hoso Shuppan Kyokai.
Nakamura, Momoko (2010) Women’s and men’s languages as heterosexual resource: power and intimacy in Japanese spam e-mail. In Janet Holmes and Meredith Marra (eds) Femininity, Feminism and Gendered Discourse: A Selected and Edited Collection of Papers from the Fifth International Language and Gender Association Conference 125–144. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars.
Occhi, Debra, SturtzSreetharan, Cindi and Shibamoto-Smith, Janet S. (2010) Finding Mr. Right: new looks at gendered modernity in Japanese televised romances. Japanese Studies 30(3): 409–425. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10371397.2010.518605
Ochs, Elinor (1992) Indexing gender. In Alessandro Duranti and Charles Goodwin (eds) Rethinking Context: Language as an Interactive Phenomenon 335–358. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Oh, Chuyun (2017) ‘Cinderella’ in reverse: eroticizing bodily labor of sympathetic men in K-pop practice dance video. In Xiaodong Lin, Chris Haywood and Mairtin Mac an Ghaill (eds) East Asian Men: Masculinity, Sexuality and Desire 123–141. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Okamoto, Shigeko (2021) Japanese language and gender research: the last thirty years and beyond. Gender and Language 15(2): 277–288. https://doi.org/10.1558/genl.20316
Okamoto, Shigeko and Sato, Shie (1992) Less feminine speech among young Japanese females. In Kira Hall, Mary Bucholtz and Birch Moonwoman (eds) Locating Power 478–488. Berkeley: Berkeley Women and Language Group, University of California.
Okamoto, Shigeko and Shibamoto-Smith, Janet S. (2016) The Social Life of the Japanese Language: Cultural Discourses and Situated Practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Park, Michael K. (2015) Race, hegemonic masculinity, and the ‘Linpossible!’: an analysis of media representations of Jeremy Lin. Communication & Sport 3(4): 367–89. https://doi.org/10.1177/2167479513516854
Pua, Phoebe and Hiramoto, Mie (2020) White hot heroes: semiotics of race and sexuality in Hollywood ninja films. Language & Communication 72: 56–67. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.langcom.2020.02.003
Roberson, James E. and Suzuki, Nobue (2003) Men and Masculinities in Contemporary Japan: Dislocating the Salaryman Doxa. London: Routledge.
Ryan, Colleen (2 April 2005) Historical enmities melt as Japan finds ‘Asian cool.’ Australian Financial Review. https://www.afr.com/politics/historical-enmities-melt-as-japan-finds-asian-cool-20050402-jl67g
Ryang, Sonia (2000) Koreans in Japan: Critical Voices from the Margin. London: Routledge.
Said, Edward W. (1978) Orientalism. New York: Pantheon Books.
Saito, Junko (2020) Contesting and advocating gender ideologies: an analysis of sarariman (salaried men) characters’ hegemonic masculinities in a Japanese TV drama. Gender and Language 14(3): 286–304. https://doi.org/10.1558/genl.39956
Saito, Minako (2002) Bunshoo tokuhon-san e [Dear Writing Manuals]. Tokyo: Chikuma Shobo.
Shibamoto Smith, Janet S. (2004) Language and gender in the (hetero)romance: ‘reading’ the ideal hero/ine through lovers’ dialogue in Japanese romance fiction. In Shigeko Okamoto and Janet S. Shibamoto Smith (eds) Japanese Language, Gender, and Ideology: Cultural Models and Real People 113–130. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Shibamoto-Smith, Janet S. (2021) Japanese? Language? and Gender? Gender and Language 15(4): 582–590. https://doi.org/10.1558/genl.21525
Stamou, Anastasia G. (2018) Sociolinguistics of fiction. Discourse, Context and Media 23: 1–5. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dcm.2018.03.003
SturtzSreetharan, Cindi L. (2004) Students, sarariiman (pl.), and seniors: Japanese men’s use of ‘manly’ speech register. Language in Society 33: 81–108. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/s0047404504031045
SturtzSreetharan, Cindi L. (2017a) Academy of devotion: performing status, hierarchy, and masculinity on reality TV. Gender and Language 1(2): 176–203. http://dx.doi.org/10.1558/genl.21361
SturtzSreetharan, Cindi L. (2017b) Language and masculinity: the role of Osaka dialect in contemporary ideals of fatherhood. Gender and Language 11(4): 552–574. http://dx.doi.org/10.1558/genl.31609
Suzuki, Satoko (2019) Bunka nashonarizumu to dansei-go: Nihon shoosetsu ni okeru gengo-teki henken [Cultural nationalism and masculine language: linguistic stereotypes in Japanese novels]. In Naomi McGloin, Naomi Geyer and Yoshiyuki Hara (eds) Proceedings of the 27th Central Association of Teachers of Japanese Conference 43–52. Madison: University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Suzuki, Satoko (2020) Masculinity, race and national identity: representations of non-Japanese men’s speech in contemporary Japanese novels. Gender and Language 15(3): 226–243. https://doi.org/10.1558/genl.39953
Taga, Futoshi (2005) Rethinking male socialization: life histories of Japanese male youth. In Kam Louie and Morris Low (eds) Asian Masculinities: The Meaning and Practice of Manhood in China and Japan 137–154. London: Routledge.
Yoon, Tae-Jin and Jin, Dal Yong (eds) (2017) The Korean Wave: Evolution, Fandom, and Transnationality. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.
Yu, Yating and Nartey, Mark (2021) Constructing the myth of protest masculinity in Chinese English language news media: a critical discourse analysis of the representation of ‘leftover men.’ Gender and Language 15(2): 184–206. https://doi.org/10.1558/genl.18823
Chino, Yukiko (1995) Han suu in no tsuki [The Moon of Han Suyin]. Tokyo: Shueisha.
Ekuni, Kaori (2013) Mahiru nanoni kurai heya [Dark Room at Midday]. Tokyo: Kodansha.
Fukui, Harutoshi (2007) 6 Sutein [6 Traces of Stains]. Tokyo: Kodansha.
Hase, Seishu (1998) Yakoochuu [Sea Sparkle]. Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten.
Kitahara, Minori (2013) Sayonara, hanryuu [Goodbye, Korean Wave]. Tokyo: Kawade Shobo.
Makihara, Satoru (2018) Isshoo tsukaeru kuroozetto noooto [Closet Handbook You Can Use throughout Your Life]. Tokyo: Gentosha.
Miyamoto, Teru (1998) Suisei monogatari [Comet Story]. Tokyo: Bungei Shunju.
Shishido, Yuko (2001) Liu yue huang [Shanghai Crab]. Tokyo: Kodansha.
Shoji, Yukiya (2008) Tokyo bando wagon [Tokyo Band Wagon]. Tokyo: Shueisha.
Yoshida, Shuichi (2014) Taiyoo wa ugokanai [The Sun Does Not Move]. Tokyo: Gentosha.