Writing the Love of Boys
Origins of Bishonen Culture in Modernist Japanese Literature
Publication Year: 2011
Jeffrey Angles focuses on key writers, examining how they experimented with new language, genres, and ideas to find fresh ways to represent love and desire between men. He traces the personal and literary relationships between contemporaries such as the poet Murayama Kaita, the mystery writers Edogawa Ranpo and Hamao Shiro, the anthropologist Iwata Jun’ichi, and the avant-garde innovator Inagaki Taruho.
Writing the Love of Boys shows how these authors interjected the subject of male–male desire into discussions of modern art, aesthetics, and perversity. It also explores the impact of their efforts on contemporary Japanese culture, including the development of the tropes of male homoeroticism that recur so often in Japanese girls’ manga about bishonen love.
Published by: University of Minnesota Press
Note about Japanese Names
The Japanese names that appear in this book are in the traditional Japanese order, with the surname before the given name; however, when writing about Japanese writers and artists with pen names or distinctive given names, I follow the common Japanese convention of referring to them simply by their given name or pen name. ...
When Western readers look at the manga (graphic novels) that have been so popular in Japan over the course of the last few decades, they are often struck by how often male–male affection and eroticism appears in their pages. In fact, male–male love has been one of the most important thematic elements in manga, especially manga for adolescent girls (shōjo manga), ...
1. Blow the Bloodstained Bugle: Murayama Kaita and the Language of Personal Sensation
Early in the morning of February 20, 1919, in Tokyo, a young artist named Murayama Kaita passed away from tubercular pneumonia, which had been exacerbated by the influenza epidemic that swept through Japan and much of the industrialized world in 1918 and 1919. ...
2. Treading the Edges of the Known World: Homoerotic Fantasies in Murayama Kaita’s Prose
Over the course of his life, Kaita wrote a number of works in prose. Just during his days as a schoolboy in Kyoto, he produced a half-dozen stories and plays. Although many are not polished or particularly refined, others display the visionary and even hallucinogenic qualities present in his poetry. ...
3. The Appeal of the Strange: Same-Sex Desire in Edogawa Ranpo’s Mystery Fiction
The 1920s and 1930s were a time of massive change in Japan. As the nation recovered from the devastating Kantō earthquake of 1923, the consumer market underwent a period of unprecedented expansion, as did the publishing industry and the related mechanisms of censorship. ...
4. (Re)Discovering Same-Sex Love: Ranpo and the Creation of Queer History
In Getting Medieval, Carolyn Dinshaw writes that one of the reasons people explore queer history is to make cross-temporal connections between “on the one hand, lives, texts, and other cultural phenomena left out of sexual categories back then and, on the other hand, those left out of current sexual categories now.”1 ...
5. Uninscribing the Adolescent Body: Aesthetic Resistance in Taruho’s Writing
One day around 1930, the prominent poet Hagiwara Sakutarō came to Ranpo’s apartment, which at that time was near Waseda University in Tokyo, to ask him about “secret clubs for massage” (massāji no himitsu kurabu).1 He had also brought the young, aspiring writer Inagaki Taruho with him, ...
Conclusion: Postwar Legacies
The writings of Kaita, Ranpo, and Taruho lie at the center of a long, ongoing, multifaceted cultural dialogue in early twentieth-century Japan about the meaning of male–male love and eroticism—a dialogue given new urgency by the proliferation of sexological and psychological writings ...
It was several years ago on a warm afternoon in the book-filled study of the brilliant poet Takahashi Mutsuo that I first heard the name Murayama Kaita in a conversation about erotic desire and poetry. Since it was this bit of karma that eventually led me to the topic of this book, it is only appropriate I begin by thanking Mr. Takahashi. ...
Page Count: 312
Publication Year: 2011
OCLC Number: 707926702
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Writing the Love of Boys