Episode 25: Chrysanthemums and Golden Bums: Male Love in Pre-Modern Japan

That’s right, Leigh and Gretchen are back with another delightful look at the history of homosexuality in East Asian history! Episode 3 explored homosexuality in Ancient China but this time, they’re heading over to Japan to take a closer look at Buddhism, samurai tradition, and the economy-shaped homosexuality in the Tokugawa shogunate. But it’s not all context, you’ll laugh along with us at some of the monks’ exploits, swoon over romantic queer poetry, and peer into the delights of the floating world. So strap in for an exciting look at the rich history of male and female homosexuality in Japan!

0:00 – Introduction
6:37 – Main Topic: Male/Male Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan
6:52 – Socio-Historical and Religious Context
15:47 – Fun Segment: Word of the Week
25:25 – Earliest References to Male Love in Japan
28:47 – The Monastic Tradition
42:40 – The Samurai Tradition and Undying Devotion
48:44 – The Rise of Kabuki and Commercialized Nanshoku
1:03:00 – Male Love in Popular Tokugawa Literature and Art
1:17:57 – Female/Female Homosexuality in Japan
1:23:43 – Main Takeaways/Conclusions
1:25:29 – How Gay were They?
1:26:40 – Closing and Where to Find us Online

For a full list of sources and bonus content, visit our Notes page! 

Apple Podcasts  |    Google Play    |    RadioPublic    |    Stitcher    |    Download

Episode 10: Thigh Fencing and the Saffron Massage

In this episode, co-hosts Gretchen and Leigh will take you on a tour of medieval Arabo-Islamic erotic literature and the many delightful descriptions of queer female experience it contains. Remember way back in episode two when ‘thigh fencing’ came up? Well, that and other martial imagery for wlw sexual experience come from medieval Arabo-Islamic poetry! Like shield banging, jousting without a lance, or our new favorite---the saffron massage. Plus, we’ll dive into cross-dressing heroines, the music of love (moaning), and the first lesbian couple, Hind and al-Zarqa’!


0:00 – Introduction
5:57 – Historical Context: Medieval Arabic Erotic Tradition More Generally
25:52 – Historical Context: Arabic Literature and Western Courtly Love Poetry
36:11 – Fun Segment: Word of the Week
42:38 – Tribadism and Queer Lady Love in Arabo-Islamic Writing
1:03:17 – Tales of Cross Dressing and Same-Sex Marriage
1:16:10 – People Examples
1:24:41 – Takeaways
1:30:25 – How Gay were They?
1:33:18 – Closing and Where to Find Us Online

For a full list of sources and bonus content, visit our Notes page! 

Apple Podcasts  |  RadioPublic  |  Google Play    |    Stitcher    |    Download