Cut for length. Introductory article on homosexuality in Pre-Meiji Japan. The head of the temple where we're staying is an LGBTQ activist (I believe a straight ally), and we're meeting with Kyoto LGBTQ activists in a coffee shop while we're there.



"Homosexuality in Pre-Meiji Japan," by Louis Crompton. (Meiji Restoration: 1868.)

St. Francis Xavier, whose embalmed body is preserved in Goa, India, and was on display until a woman bit off both his big toes, visited Japan in the 1540, and wrote of his horror at seeing that for the Zen monks at Hakata (in Kyushu), "the abominable vice against nature is so popular that they practice it without any feeling of shame." He proceeded to rant about the sin of Sodom at the previously welcoming local daimyo, who chucked him out.

Nanshoku: love of men. Influenced by Chinese cultural and literary traditions. 17th century Japanese sources cite the love of of the duke of Wei for Mizi Xia, of Han emperors for favorites like Jiri and the musician Li Yannian, etc. Also associated with Bodhisattva Monjushiri and with Shingon founder Kobo Daishi.

Lovely poems quoted, by Ikkyu and Shinga Sozu, from Kitamura Kigen's 1676 male love anthology, Wild Azaleas.

Heian courtier diaries note gay relationships. Fujiwara Yoringa (1120-1156): "Today I took Yoshimasa to bed and really went wild. It was especially satisfying. He had been ill for a while and was resting, so tonight was the first night [since his illness.]"

Chigo: Formalized affairs between adult monks and teenage acolytes, sometimes with written oaths of devotion. "Chigo monogatari" = "acolyte tales." "Chigo no soshi" is a shunga scroll depicting monk-acolyte anal sex, now housed at the Daigoji Treasure House at Samboin Temple south of Kyoto. (Maybe I could make a special trip!)

Wakashudo or shudo: Love between warriors. Gomotsu: same-sex lover. Anonymous treatise "Shinyu-ki" (Records of Soulmates) extols this on Buddhist grounds. Discussion of kabuki and failed government attempts to make it less sexy.

Boy prostitutes in Edo period. 1768 guidebook has a list of them!

Tokugawa period: tons of gay literature. Saikaku: Mirror of Male Love. Stories of shoguns and their boy lovers. (Dangerous for boy lovers! Cross-class affairs often politically volatile.)

Due to Western influence, in 1873 homosexuality was briefly (for 10 years) criminalized in Japan. Penalty: 90 days in jail. (At the same time, the penalty in England was life imprisonment.)
oyceter: teruterubouzu default icon (Default)

From: [personal profile] oyceter


Oh yay! I've read a bit about female-female sex in historical Japan, but not a lot since most of the stuff is about nanshoku... will be interested to see what you have!
dancesontrains: (The Rose of Versailles in thorns)

From: [personal profile] dancesontrains


Please post about that too when you get to it :D

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com


My apologies for the misleading title. This article was just about male-male love. There are more articles which I haven't read yet.
ext_110: A field and low mountain of the Porcupine Hills, Alberta. (Default)

From: [identity profile] goldjadeocean.livejournal.com


Bwwahaha, just saw the DW side comments. :) Great minds think alike? (Of lesbians!)

From: [identity profile] vom-marlowe.livejournal.com


Neat! I always enjoy reading about other culture's takes on homosexuality. One of the books I most miss from the flood was a pancultural history of sexuality which explored a lot of these things.

From: [identity profile] jinian.livejournal.com


"the abominable vice against nature"

How is this not already a band?

I mean, DOT TUMBLR DOT COM. Please?

From: [identity profile] sovay.livejournal.com


Discussion of kabuki and failed government attempts to make it less sexy.

. . . How was that attempted?

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com


This is pretty hilarious. First they banned actresses, because people were getting obsessed with them. Boys took on women's roles, and people then got obsessed with the boys. Then they banned the boys. (Boys kept sneakily performing anyway, wearing men's hairdos.) Then they demanded that all plays have a plot, ie, not be PWP (Plot What Plot).

From: [identity profile] sovay.livejournal.com


First they banned actresses, because people were getting obsessed with them. Boys took on women's roles, and people then got obsessed with the boys. Then they banned the boys.

*snerk*

Then they demanded that all plays have a plot, ie, not be PWP (Plot What Plot).

That is great.

I gather it did not work.

From: [identity profile] lady-ganesh.livejournal.com


That is super-hilarious. (I love this whole entry anyway.)

From: [identity profile] isabelknight.livejournal.com


This is awesome - I need to find a copy of that article. Do you know if it was originally published in a journal, or was it written for an anthology?

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com


It looks like it was excerpted from a book called Homosexuality and Civilization, by Louis Crompton.

From: [identity profile] isabelknight.livejournal.com


Huh. Looking over the amazon reviews, I may have come across an earlier edition in the uni library back when I was in grad school, though the cover copy gave the impression that the primary focus was on classical Greek and Rome. The 2006 revision sounds worth tracking down, though!

From: [identity profile] oracne.livejournal.com


Discussion of kabuki and failed government attempts to make it less sexy.

This made me laugh.
.

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