desire

Hamasaki Ayumi fan car sparks doubt about gender identity and desire

hamasaki_ayumi_car_yoyogiparkI heard that singer Hamasaki Ayumi is a gay-rights supporter, so I don’t mean to be harsh on her. But this image, plastered on a car hood outside Yoyogi Park, alternately fascinates and haunts me. I am amazed that such a pornographic look can circulate in public with no friction. Is this a day look? Should children see this?

I understand that the male gaze prizes artifice over reality, and that simple drag tactics are very effective in attracting male attention (big hair, heavy make-up, scary long nails, and a blank look). I am not shocked that these images are popular, but I am surprised to see them in the daylight and on the street.

China Lover

China Lover, Ian Buruma

I recently read China Lover, by Ian Buruma. It is a fascinating historical fiction narrated by three men who are mesmerized by real life Japanese actress Yamaguchi Yoshiko: a Japanese cultural officer in Japanese occupied Manchuria, a US film writer in US occupied Japan, and a Japanese terrorist imprisoned in Lebanon. Buruma, a prolific author and Japan expert, provides a compelling history of twentieth century Japan, film and cross-cultural desires. The middle section is based on the life story of noted American expat and film scholar Donald Richie (see his Japan Journals: 1947-2004).