Representation of Male-Male Desire in Tachibana Sotoo’s Nanshoku Monogatari (1952)
Keywords:Tachibana Sotoo, nanshoku, bishōnen’ai, homosexuality, modernism
Tachibana Sotoo (1894–1959), a novelist unknown outside Japan and not widely read in Japan either, was among the writers who depicted various forms of nonheteronormative sexuality in his work. Best known for his ghost stories later adapted into films by director Nakagawa Nobuo (1905-1989), Tachibana also published Nanshoku Monogatari (A Tale of Male Love) in 1952. This novel, largely inspired by the author’s own experience, humorously recounts his crushes on his attractive classmates. The appreciation of teenage, androgynous beauty is central in this work where same-sex attraction is presented without moral judgment. The aim of this paper is to examine how Tachibana represents male-male desire in Nanshoku Monogatari and to investigate whether the novel challenged heteronormativity in post-war Japanese society. The novel will therefore also be analysed in relation to the homoerotic literature born in the Edo period (1603-1868) and later developed in pre-war modernist literature, in which romantic relationships between schoolboys were often depicted.
Angles, Jeffrey. 2011. Writing the Love of Boys: Origins of Bishōnen Culture in Modernist Japanese Literature. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Coates, Jennifer, Lucy Fraser, & Mark Pendleton. 2019. The Routledge Companion to Gender and Japanese Culture. London: Routledge.
Durante, Daniele. 2020. “L’Adolescente nella vita e nelle opere di Kawabata Yasunari.” In Yasunari Kawabata, L’adolescente, trad. it. Daniele Durante, 115–130. Roma: Atmosphere libri.
Furukawa, Makoto & Angus Lockyer. 1994. “The Changing Nature of Sexuality: The Three Codes Framing Homosexuality in Modern Japan.” U.S.-Japan Women’s Journal. English Supplement 7, 98–127.
Fruhstuck, Sabine. 2000. “Managing the truth of sex in imperial Japan.” The Journal of Asian Studies 59(2), 332–358.
Hartley, Barbara. 2006. “The Ambivalent Object of Desire: Contesting Gender Hegemonies in Kawabata Yasunari’s Shōnen.” Asian Studies Review 30(2), 123–140.
Huang, Junliang. 2007. Tachibana Sotoo: The Forgotten Writer from the “outside.” Ohio: State University (MA thesis).
Gerstner, David A. 2006. Routledge International Encyclopedia of Queer Culture. London: Routledge.
Kusaka, Sanzō. 2002. “Kaisetsu”. In Kaiki tantei shōsetsu meisaku-sen 5 Tachibana Sotoo-shū Zushi monogatari, 477–483. Tōkyō: Chikumabunko.
Leupp, Gary P. 1995. Male Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Lunsing, Wim. 2005. “The politics of okama and onabe: uses and abuses of terminology regarding homosexuality and transgender.” In Mark McLelland & Romit Dasgupta (eds.), Genders, Transgenders and Sexualities in Japan, 81–95. Abingdon, Oxon: Taylor & Francis Group.
Maurizi, Andrea. 1997. “Postfazione”. In Saikaku Ihara, Il grande specchio dell’omosessualità maschile, trad. it. Andrea Maurizi, 325–56. Milano: Frassinelli.
McLelland, Mark J. 2000. Male Homosexuality in Modern Japan Cultural Myths and Social Realities. Richmond: Curzon Press.
McLelland, Mark J., Kazumi Nagaike, Katsuhiko Suganuma, & James Welker. 2015. Boys Love Manga and Beyond: History, Culture, and Community in Japan. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi.
Mishima, Yukio. 2009. Colori proibiti. Trad. it. M. Gioia Vienna. Milano: Feltrinelli.
Mori, Ōgai. 2007. Vita sexualis. Trad. it. Ornella Civardi. Milano: Se.
Pflugfelder, Gregory M. 1999. Cartographies of Desire: Male-Male Sexuality in Japanese Discourse, 1600–1950. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Reichert, Jim. 2006. In the Company of Men: Representations of Male–Male Sexuality in Meiji Literature. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Tachibana, Sotoo. 1995. Nanshoku Monogatari. In Tachibana Sotoo wandārando: Yūmoa shōsetsu hen, 6–88. Tōkyō: Chūō Shoin.
Tyler, William J. (ed.). 2008. Modanizumu: Modernist Fiction from Japan, 1913–1938. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.
Usai, Loris. 2022. Trent’anni di Barazoku. Il ruolo della rivista nella formazione di una comunità omosessuale in Giappone. Milano: Asterisco Edizioni.
Yamashita, Takeshi (ed.). 1995. Tachibana Sotoo wandārando: Yūmoa shōsetsu hen. Tōkyō: Chūō Shoin.
Yáñez, Juan Antonio & Yoko Naito (eds.). 2022. KAIKI 2. Nuevos cuentos de terror y locura. Madrid: Quaterni.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2022 Marco Taddei
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.