a typical scene of japanese salary men relaxingafter work served by women. except, at this bar, the women are the customersturning the tables. now, take a closer look because the 'malehosts' are also women, masquerading as men. at the new marilyn bar, a woman can unburdenherself on a sympathetic 'male' knowing she'll be perfectly understood.
confused? this is japanese female sexualityin the 1990s. there is a new boldness about japanese womenthese days. some are calling it a female 'sex boom'. but, just like the new marilyn barback there, it's a social trend full of contradictions and surprises and one that does not necessarilyconform to western notions of 'women's lib'.
her name is ulala aikawa. ulala is a sex counsellor and purveyorof ladies pleasure products recently it's become easier for japanese womento buy these things. although they may feel they want to become sexy, i think it's becausethey've already become more active. this is a slightly erotic 'how to' video iwant to introduce in japanese terms, ulala is a pioneer of femalesexual emancipation. this is a scene of a man and woman havingsex. her 'how to' videos for women are being featuredon television talk shows
this segment was aired midafternoon in housewives peak viewing time this commercialisation, the flourishment ofsexual representation itself stresses the women's pleasure whichencourages women it's perfectly ok for women to pursue their pleasure.so, it's in a sense a by product of male-oriented porn. chizuko ueno is japan's leading feminist scholar. she welcomes the fact that japanese womenare becoming more sexually demanding. even though it may be a limited victory. i would call it liberation from within bed,rather than at work places. and this commercialisation
of sexuality is actually both positive andnegative. so we have to take advantage of any kind of change in this market economy. voiceover in the 'open market' of sex, japanesewomen are now free to enjoy this in tokyo's most fashionable neighbourhood,the j-men's club serves up 'bump and grind' for petite college students and office ladies. the sort who usually giggle behind their handsin male company. last week disneyland this week, well,another kind of fantasy. the all-american strippers average two thousanddollars a week, just in tips. one way to a skimpier trade deficit.
that japan should need to import sex entertainmentof any sort is puzzling, given its own cultural heritage. in folk festivals, like this one near tokyo,the sex organs are worshipped as gods of fertility and paraded through the streets. japan's native shinto religion celebrateshuman sexuality uninhibited by shame or guilt. the same attitude inspired the great wood-blockartists of the past. their 'shunga', or spring pictures, exploredsexual pleasure in all its variety. the emphasis was on men and women in mutualenjoyment sex as a technique of love.
in the modern era, with increasing state controland influence from the west, things have changed. an obscenity law requires publishers and film-makersto obliterate the genitalia. but it's bureaucratic censorship ... thatleads to absurd double-standards. in the office of a men's porn magazine, theeditor's red felt pen draws the line at pubic hair yet doesn't blush at graphic images offemale humiliation. i can't sell these magazines without touchingthem up. so this something i have to do. is it a kind of art to put in as little aspossible? that's right. the readers prefer it that way.
it's even easier to make a nonsense of thelaw in the fantasy world of comics, or 'manga', as they're calledhere. these are erotic 'manga' - available at anynewsstand with annual sales in the hundreds of millions. the typical ingredients of theirstories are rape, paedophilia and sado-masochism. so it may surprise you to learn that eroticmanga are now also being produced and read by women. milk morizono is one of the first artiststo create erotic manga for women. her comics, 'feel'', and 'young feel', sellover a quarter of a million copies a month.
the heroine's lover has been captured by afamous married couple who like sadomasochism. to get to him shehas to join their bondage party for group sex. that's the story so far. all the usual ingredients of manga for men. except, in these stories, the women use theirsexuality to get their own way. in erotic manga for men, the women are men'sdolls or slaves. that's the way men would like to manipulate women. in my case it'sdifferent, the opposite. in this story, the woman is not obedient to the man. she's independentand pursues her own career in the fashion industry.
once a target of feminist criticism, women'smanga are being seen in a new light in men's comics women are always victims.but in female comics, women, well, in the guise of victim, she takes control of theoffenders. a similar kind of control game is going onhere. the discos call it 'body consciousness' ... femalepatrons who pay to become the stage show. men are spectators, not partners, in thisgame ... kept at a distance, while the dancers urge each other on. it's a private-public show of independence by women whose lives away from the disco
are a very different story. they are actually just ordinary girls workingas ols. office ladies? yes, office ladies. they usually have a quiteboring frustrated job. so, as a compensation they want to attract male attention, as aninaccessible object. the disco display would have been unthinkablea few years ago - but, then, much has changed for japanesewomen. they now make up forty per cent of the workforce. more women than men are taking degrees.
and many are seeking a more equal partnershipin marriage. seijitsu. you want your husband to be faithful.in this class if your husband had an affair would you divorce him? american academic, anne sokalsky, is surveyinghow japanese women feel about their lives. would you divorce him? absolutely ok. why? because it's not fair to me. also to him.so absolutely. personally i don't respect me. because untilnow men would
call themselves 'great', 'great'. it is, it'swhat they say. but actually they were propped up by the women all the time. these college students are typical of a moreoutspoken japanese womanhood. i think it's a reflection of women becomingmore vocal. the increasing women's consciousness here. the fact that their real power - it'sno longer being as secretive as it used to be. women are starting to stand up for theirrights. they're starting to claim more through the law. after the titles a one minute bath scene, centre position. unlike foreigners japanese women don't show all ofthemselves, and don't
try to be sexy. japanese are more reserved.but, i don't think it has to be that way. a most public face, and someone who givesa final twist to this tale, is ai iijima. her office is a television studio ... hostinga show which tops the late-night ratings. everybody, are you feeling run down? to relievestress, a bath is the best thing ... it's not a cable channel - but a free-to-airbroadcast. the 'wueen of the g-string' is a respectablestar in japan ... she even gets fan mail from primary school children. it's a bath-house special tonight. and now...
yet this is someone who began her careen asa porn video actress. in this season, the best combination is apretty girl and a draught beer in a bath ... the image of adult videos is not good. sowe try to erase it and she herself has stopped. with a good image she'snow able to appear in quiz shows. through this program, i'd like to create more starslike her. is this pitch by the producer merely an excusefor crass commercial exploitation? or does the show represent a mutually advantageouspact between commercial enterprise and japanese women?
the fact is iijima-san has more female admirersthan men women who see her as a role-model. although the star herself qualifies that admiration. i'm glad to hear that. but only the outside,not the inside. i didn't go to school so much, i didn't study and i've had a hard time, whichi regret. i don't want them to follow me in that way. here is a new motto for a restless society:'girls, enjoy your bodies, but study hard.' in this sexual awakening, old distinctionshave become blurred.
female sexuality,anyone is now a potential object of desireanyone a potential consumer of the desirable. whether pleasing men or just pleasingthemselves.
changing the plot or being caught inone. that is the paradox, the living dilemma, ofjapanese women in the 1990s.