Associative identity politics: unmasking the multi-layered formation of queer male selves in 1990s Japan
Suganuma, K, Associative identity politics: unmasking the multi-layered formation of queer male selves in 1990s Japan, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, 8, (4) pp. 485-502. ISSN 1464-9373 (2007) [Refereed Article]
This paper discusses one way to articulate queer male identity politics in 1990s Japan
through Fran Martin’s conceptualization of the ‘mask’ (Martin 2003). By comparatively examining
two key Japanese ‘gay’ coming-out narratives, the paper shows how a reading of queer subject formationin the decade through a metaphor of ‘masking’ can shed light on the complex scenarios functioning beneath the surface of identity politics. I argue that the notion of ‘masking’ is useful in reading the multiple axes incorporated into queer identity formation in Japan in the context of globalization. The paper further refutes any reductive claim that queer identity in Japan can be understood in terms of essentialist epistemological binaries, such as global/local, West/non-West, and Japan/abroad.