Lesbians and Transgenders in Japanese Media

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Regina E. Caldart
thesis / dissertation description
Japanese GLBT appear to have always held a place in national media. From the the Edo period to the modern age, the Japanese people have constantly been exposed to different types of GLBT society, whether or not they realized it at the time. In this paper, I explore the representations of lesbians and transgenders during the Edo period (1600 to 1860) and in the modern and post-modern era (1868 to the present). I look at ukiyo-e from the Edo period and then Western-style theatre and newspaper stories from the modern era to grasp how lesbians have been portrayed through the years. Then I look at onnagata of Kabuki and modern-day new half in order to show how the concept of a transgender has changed over time in the media. Just how has the Japanese perspective changed after the mass introduction of Western culture and ideals during the Meiji period?