- Gender and Sexuality (ISSN:18804764)
- no.13, pp.61-84, 2018-03-31
This paper discusses aged mens' employment of kawaii discourse from theperspective of feminist gerontology. First, the function of kawaii discourse is examined in the context of theJapanese society, based on previous research. Throughout the analysis, thispaper points out that the effects of kawaii discourse place the "kawaii person"in a subordinate position within society, reinforcing the power relationshipbetween dominant/powerful and submissive/powerless. This dominant/powerful-submissive/powerless relationship does not exclude other binaryrelations, notably the relationship between young and old. While previousstudies analyzed gender relationships by positioning women on the kawaii side,my study focuses on the process of men employing kawaii practices. By examining representations of the Ojisan (middle-aged man) in magazinesand on the Internet, this paper clarifies how men become marginalized fromthe male homosocial relationship of the dominant class as they age. Moreover,this paper examines how the function of kawaii discourse toward aged menredefines their age in a positive manner, while denying aging itself. Through thisexamination, this paper concludes that men can overcome the negative aspectsof ageing by interjecting kawaii discourse.