J a p a n e s e    C u l t u r e

Modern and Traditional Japanese Culture: The Psychology of Buddhism, Power Rangers, Masked Rider, Manga, Anime and Shinto. 在日イギリス人男性による日本文化論.

Monday, April 09, 2012


The Land of the Loving Transvestites and Ancestor Worship

The Land of the Loving Transvestites by timtak
The Land of the Loving Transvestites, a photo by timtak on Flickr.
There are a lot of men who feel themselves to be, or impersonate, women on Japanese TV.

Why is this?

There are many reasons. Here I will only address one of them.

This above image is of a poster advertising one of the most famous cross gendered celebrities, Mr. Miwa Akihiro. It advertises an evening of music with the theme of love in my town in August of this year.

In Japanese theatre it was traditional for men to play female roles. The "onna-gata" (woman-formed) actors were very popular.

In the famous Takarazuka theatre group (and school) women who impersonate men are also very popular but female male impersonators are less popular in the mainstream media.

Hofestede's cross cultural psychology research (2001) claims that Japanese culture is very masculine, with the highest "MAS" score by far of any other country. On the other hand, Markus and Kitayama's theory of the interdependent self (1991) was originally published, using almost the same data, as a theory regarding women in Markus and Cross (1990) the year before.

In the face of modernisation, Japanese religion becomes concentrated upon 'ancestor worship,' or 'respect for ancestors.' The belief that there is something sacred in Shrines becomes hocus pocus, but the assertion that 'without ancestors we would not be here' remains tenable. The Japanese respect their ancestors, and aspire to be them.

It seems to me that the Japanese see themselves above all as ancestors-to-be, or parents and as such, to an extent feminised. It is probably very biased of me but I am of the opinion that parenting is a more feminine, than masculine, trait.

Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture’s Consequences: Comparing Values, Behaviors, Institutions and Organizations Across Nations (2nd ed.). Sage Publications, Inc.
Markus, H.R, & Cross, S. E. (1990). The interpersonal self. In L. Pervin (Ed.), Handbook of personality: Theory and research (pp. 576-608). New York: Guilford.
Markus, H.R. & Kitayama, S. (1991). "Culture and the self: Implications for cognition, emotion, and motivation". Psychological Review 98 (2): 224–53. doi:10.1037/0033-295X.98.2.224.

This blog represents the opinions of the author, Timothy Takemoto, and not the opinions of his employer.