- ジェンダー史学 (ISSN:18804357)
- vol.3, pp.33-44, 2007 (Released:2011-11-01)
The topic of masculinity has not received much attention in Japan. It tends to be overlooked as an intrinsic or desirable attribute of men, although masculinity can have some influence as an ideology.Considering masculinity as a historical phenomenon, this article attempts to expose its original development, its redefinition during the early twentieth century and its characteristic "weakness-phobia" within a historical context. Shonen Sekai, or Youth World, the most popular magazine among children around the time of the Sino-Japanese and the Russo-Japanese wars, is examined from the angle of masculinity.At the time of the magazine's inception, many expectations and duties were assigned only to boys and statesmen and military personnel were presented as models for boys. Later when girl readers could not be ignored, columns for girls were established. Through short stories and articles, girls' roles and desirable attributes were defined and the gender boundary was clearly drawn. Boys' deviations from that boundary could be judged feminine or weak and undoubtedly put them in an unfavorable light. This insinuates "weakness phobia" into boys.Along with supporting imperialism and colonization in East Asia, Shonen Sekai highlighted gender ambiguity in Korean boys and girls and characterized Chinese boys as cowards. The concept of "a strong masculine Japanese boy" came to be highly valued. In fact, the Russo-Japanese war was justified by the logic that to fight against the strong (Russia) protecting the weak (China, Korea) was "true masculinity."Thus in contrast to the perceived weakness of girls or non-Japanese, the concept of Japanese hegemonic masculinity had been formed, distinguishing itself by "weakness phobia." Masculinity demonstrated its influence in connection with a nation, politics and foreign policy.