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.. The tales we read were not shy in expressing intimate details (and you know we’re not shy in reading them!), so strap in for an exciting look at the rich history of male and female homosexuality in Japan!
As with our episode on China, many of the woodblock prints featured below are highly erotic and most likely NSFW. We will put those at the very end, but it might be best to save these for your living room, not your office!
Timeline of Japanese Time Periods Discussed in This Episode
Heian Period (784-1185 CE)
Kamakura period (1185-1333 CE)
Muromachi Period (1333-1573 CE)
Azuchi-Momoyama Period (1573-1603 CE)
Edo Period aka The Tokugawa Shogunate (1603-1868 CE)
A Closer Look at Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan
NSFW Woodblock Prints from Tokugawa Japan
If you want to learn more about homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan, check out our full list of sources and further reading below!
Books and Print Articles:
“The Gender of Wakashu and the Grammar of Desire” by Joshua S. Mostow, Chapter 4 in Gender and Power in the Japanese Visual Field
Male Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan by Gary P. Leupp
Cartographies of Desire: Male-Male Sexuality in Japanese Discourse, 1600–1950 by Gregory Pflugfelder