[Blueboard] Invitation to a talk on the X-Gender in Japan

Japanese Studies Program [LS] japanese.soss at ateneo.edu
Wed Feb 3 17:06:28 PHT 2016

*The Japanese Studies Program would like to invite *
*faculty and students **to a talk by*

*Professor Sonja Dale*
*Hitotsubashi University*

*on *

*From “Miss Dandy” to “X-Gender” – **Non-binary Gender Identities in Japan
from the 1980s to the Present*

*19 February 2016, 5:00 - 6:30, SS Conference Rooms 1 & 2*

The language used to describe non-binary (taken in this talk to refer to
identities that are not strictly and clearly recognized as either “female”
or “male”) gender identities has developed vastly in the past thirty years.
In Japan, the term “x-gender” (*x-jendā*) has gained increasing social
recognition in the past five years, and within queer communities has come
to be recognized as the term to refer to non-binary gender identities.
However, the term x-gender only emerged in the late 1990s, and developed in
a specific socio-historical context – one in which “Gender Identity
Disorder” as a medical condition had just been recognized and started
gaining social prominence, and terms such as “transgender” (*toransujendā*)
and the other components of the LGBT acronym were gaining social traction
as terms to describe one’s identity. When used to refer to a gender
identity, “x-gender” refers to identities that were/are forged within a
specific time period and social context, and that were/are created at the
interstices of specific social discourses pertaining to gender, sexuality,
and identity.

Prior to the term “x-gender,” other terms were used to refer to non-binary
gender identities, and these terms are also indicative of different
socio-historical contexts and different understandings of gender and
identity. Focusing on the time period spanning from the 1980s up until
present day, this talk explores the different terms and terminology that
have been used to refer to non-binary gender identities in Japan, as well
as examines the specific socio-historical contexts in which these terms
were used and the social changes that may have led to their eventual
decline. The term “Miss Dandy” (*Misu Dandei*), for example, was used in
the 1980s to refer to female-assigned individuals who presented as
masculine or male, and was made use of particularly in the media during a
period in which transgender individuals appeared frequently on television
variety shows, often presented as the “Other.” Terms such as “*okama*” and “
*onabe*” were also used to refer to male-assigned, feminine presenting
individuals (or gay men) and female-assigned, masculine individuals
respectively. However, the use of these terms in public spheres has now
declined owing to debates that they are discriminatory.

Although limited to a brief examination, this talk attempts to capture the
changing times and terms used to describe non-binary gender identities in
Japan, and how the terminology used also reflects changes in social
discourses. Identity terms are not only personal, but social as well, and
are implicated in a web of social discourses that are fluid and constantly

Sign ups will be at the Japanese Studies Program

For more inquires: please contact Ms. Marian @ 426-6001 Loc. 5248/5249 or
japanese.soss at ateneo.edu

Japanese Studies Program
Ateneo de Manila University
LH209 Ricardo and Dr. Rosita Leong Hall
Katipunan Avenue, Loyola Heights
Quezon City, Philippines 1108
Phone:  +632 426-6001 local 5248/5249
Telefax: +632 376-0966
Email: japanese.soss at ateneo.edu
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