Authorizing Pleasure: male-male Sexuality in Edo-Period popular discourse

Gregory M. Pflugfelder

in Cartographies of Desire

Published by University of California Press

Published in print August 2000 | ISBN: 9780520209091
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520940871 | DOI:
Authorizing Pleasure: male-male Sexuality in Edo-Period popular discourse

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In the Edo-period, for the Japanese, “homosexuality” was an unfamiliar and unimaginable concept. People of this era never engaged in sexual practices with nor experienced erotic desires toward individuals of the same sex. This period's sexual vocabulary offered various expressions that could be used to refer to erotic activities between males or females so that even finding an appropriate name for it would pose a considerable challenge. Writings on male-male sexuality possessed an indigenous textual tradition, with its own vocabulary and commercial market. The “sexuality” of “homosexuality” was quite the same as the “love” of “male love”

Keywords: male sexuality; love; homosexuality; Edo-period; erotic desire

Chapter.  33711 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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