Disguising as Kikei (Deformity) : Lesbian Representation in Tamura Toshiko’s Haru no Ban


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  • 「畸形」を仮装する : 田村俊子「春の晩」における女性同性愛表象


Tamura Toshiko’s Haru no ban (Spring Night, 1914), serialized in the literary journal Shinchō, depicts a bisexual women Ikue and her two intimate relationships: a heterosexual relation with Shikeo and a lesbian relation with Kyōko. The narrative of Ikue’s two intimate relationships occupies the first and second half of the text respectively. In this article, I first analyze the text of the first half to show the subversion of heterosexism in the narrative; then, I examine the lesbian representation of the text of the second half to suggest its possibility of deconstructing the category of “lesbian,” which was established by contemporary sexology. Previous studies have interpreted the text of the first half as a story in which heterosexism is immanent. However, as I argue in this paper, if we read the text with focused attention on its multilayered construction, we can find that the narrative of physical sensations in the text, which is barely utilized in the context of heterosexual love, subverts heterosexism. After analyzing the subversion of heterosexism of the narrative, I focus on the lesbian representation in the text. In this work, female same-sex love, described as kikei (deformity), seems to be reproducing the discourse of sexology, and to be easily exposed to scopophilia towards lesbians. However, by taking notice of the discrepancy between textual representation and sexological discourse, I argue that lesbian representation in this work does not reproduce the sexological discourse but deconstructs the sexological definition of lesbianism as sexual perversion.


  • JunCture : 超域的日本文化研究

    JunCture : 超域的日本文化研究 11 96-107, 2020-03-26

    Center for Transregional Culture and Society, Graduate School of Humanities, Nagoya University

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