in Secrets, Sex, and Spectacle

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print January 2007 | ISBN: 9780226894089
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226894119 | DOI:

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In 1989, a scandal befalls the leader of a world power. Apologies, public backlash, debates over moral leadership, and outrage in the legislature all played their roles in the drama. How very American, some groaned, all this fuss about a little sex. However, the actors were not Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, but Japanese prime minister Sōsuke Uno and his paramour, geisha Mitsuko Nakanishi. The facts of that incident resemble those of the Clinton affair, but the resulting scandal was quite different. This book explores the differences and similarities between contemporary Japanese and American scandal and looks at a range of provocative, subversive, moving, maddening, amusing tales—and the forces and guardrails that bring such stories to our collective attention. It explores why scandal stories develop as they do, and why in Japan, through a unique lens: comparative law. The book discusses the ways rules bring structure to the who, what, when, where, and why of the sliver of human behavior that “catches” as scandal in Japan and the United States.

Keywords: scandal; geisha; Japan; United States; rules; comparative law; Sōsuke Uno; Mitsuko Nakanishi; Bill Clinton; Monica Lewinsky

Chapter.  4229 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Law

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