Japan's gay community highly stratified by body type and age

Ivan Fernandes
Original Article:  bit.ly/15rbD9V

Gay men’s identity in Japan are subject to stereotypical categories based upon media created ideas of an idealized depiction of youth, body type and modes of consumption, says a social researcher studying gay culture in that country.

The gay male culture is highly stratified by body type and age, according to Thomas Baudinette, a PhD candidate from Monash University in his post that appeared in TASA Youth, a thematic group facilitating sociologically-based research relating to young people.

Baudinette points to Shinjuku Ni-ch?me, a district in central Tokyo which contains a high concentration of gay bars, pornography shops, saunas, brothels and massage parlors catering exclusively to gay men. The district is also the source of most Japanese gay male media that plays an important role in rendering gay men as a commodity, the post says.

These identities have become codified into a system known as Typing (taipu), which refers to a stereotypical identity category based upon ideas of an idealized body type and modes of consumption.

His study aims to investigate both how media presents certain Types as being normatively desirable and how it has affected Japanese gay men’s identities and desires, Baudinette said.

He pointed out that while conducting fieldwork in Ni-ch?me to analyze various gay media, it become apparent that “youth” (wakasa) represents an important trope and which is drawn upon in Japan’s gay media to construct a Type known as the ikanimo-kei (literally, “the obviously gay Type”).

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