A sweeping study of sex, power, and knowledge in modern Japan, this ambitious work provides the first full-scale, detailed history of the formation and application of a science of sex from Meiji through mid-twentieth century Japan. Tracing the different uses made of sexual knowledge, the book brings to light the complex and subtle interplay between sexuality, scientific expertise, social control, and empire building.
Drawing on a wide variety of sources, Frühstück analyzes the conflicts and negotiations that aimed at producing a normative sexuality. She shows how the "colonization" of sex was enacted through debates over several issues: the necessity of sex education; the prevention of venereal diseases; the problem of masturbation and its alleged consequences; the legalization of birth control; the fight against prostitution; the emergence of eugenics; and, eventually, the implementation of "racial hygiene" policies. In Colonizing Sex we see how these struggles were driven by rhetoric consisting of cries for defense, liberation, and truth—emphasizing in every historical moment how the sexual body has been, and is, part of much broader currents in political, cultural, and social life.
List of Illustrations
1. Erecting a Modern Health Regime
2. Debating Sex Education
3. Sexology for the Masses
4. Claiming the Fetus
5. Breeding the Japanese "Race"
Sabine Frühstück is Professor of Modern Japanese Cultural Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is coeditor of The Culture of Japan as Seen through Its Leisure (1998) and Neue Geschichten der Sexualität: Beispiele aus Ostasien und Zentraleuropa 1700-2000 (1999). She is currently completing a book on military-societal relations in modern Japan, entitled Avant-garde: The Army of the Future.
“Well-argued chapters . . . splendidly researched and generally persuasive work”—Gary P. Leupp American Historical Review
“Colonizing Sex will be remembered as one of the most important of the path-breaking works in this field.”—William Johnston Journal Of Japanese Studies
"Anyone interested in the history of western sexuality will want to read this book because of how it refracts the huge project of sexology through the eyes of another people, the Japanese, who appropriated it as part of their own project of modernization. And anyone interested in Japan will find Frühstück 's story fascinating for what it shows about the role of the professions, the place of education, and the work of politics more generally. This is a funny, brilliant book that carries its theoretical sophistication and great erudition lightly."—Thomas Laqueur, author of Solitary Sex: A Cultural History of Masturbation
"Sabine Frühstück has written a cogent history of Japanese public health, sex education, and sexology. Spanning the late nineteenth century to the present, her lively study introduces a colorful array of birth control activists, eugenicists, and sexologists."—Helen Hardacre, author of Marketing the Menacing Fetus in Japan
"Frühstück's study of modern Japan imaginatively uses the concept of colonization to explain how Japanese elites made use of Western ideas of hygiene to modernize the nation. By controlling procreation, venereal disease, sex education, and racial health, they reinforced the traditional gender order and helped provide the human materials for the great era of Japanese Imperial expansion."—Robert A. Nye, author of Masculinity and Male Codes of Honor in Modern France