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Interview 1
Feb 2000, Akiyoshi, Japan
(transcribed)

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Symbolism/Shrines
Do you knowthe story of Izanagi and Izanami, from the Kojiki? If so, what is it?

He doesn't know well enough but because he was doing ecomikera, which is traditional, is dancing, Japanese dancing for the drums. And then that's based on the story about Izanagi and Izanami so he just know about their... ah then he remembers that Izanagi started the country, Japanese country. That's all about he knows.

Have you visited the Mara Kannon Shrine at Tawarayama?
Yes

What is your understandingof the purpose of this shrine?
He really doesn't know the purpose but he just thought interesting because of the statue.

Do you know if many people visit such a place?
He thinks a lot of visitor just sight-seeing and they visit that place (BH - "not so much local people"), he believes maybe just sight seeing visitor, tourist, he thinks that's a western tourists place.

Is this shrine very traditional?
He doesn't know but it looks like old, but he doesn't know really

Do you know of any other Shrine's to the phallus or male?
No he doesn't know anywhere else

Have you visited the Chichi Kannon Shrine in Hofu City?
He's never been there

Do you know what is the purpose of this shrine?
He doesn't know

Do you know if many people visit such a place?
Is this shrine very traditional?

Do you know of any other shrine's to the breast or woman?
He doesn't know anywhere,he hasn't heard anything

Would you visit either of these places to pray?
He doesn't go to pray, because he went once just becuse he was interested in seeing it, but he wouldn't go to pray

Do you know of any fertility rituals in Japan apart from visiting the shrines mentioned above? (traditional or contemporary)
(AL - Not onlyshrine is it? anything is okay) He's from Mutsumivillage, Yamaguchi Prefercure, and in that area there are some palm trees,there are male tress and female trees, and that particular area has got male and female trees all togther and then somebody put big rope around the trees and the people can go to visit just to pray for fertility ritual and so he has been a couple of times to pray himself.

Are there anycommon symbols or objects representing man and woman in Japan?
He thinks that just as he mentioned that trees, he thinks it's the symbol for men andwomen.

I understand red rice was traditionally placed outside the home when a daughter first menstruated. What rituals do you know of (traditional or contemporary) which mark such transitions to adulthood for boys and girls?
So he's a man so he hasn't done such a red rice things, but he cannot think about any other things right now. (BH- But I think this is quite an old aswell isn't it, the red rice) (AL - but I did, or not I did my mother did, but I don't know about now whatever, but my generation)

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Sex
Is there any age of consent in Japan?

He doesn't know about the law really but he thinks maybe the highschool students they canbe allowed to have sex, he thinks.

If not, when are men and women classed as sexually adult?
He thinks the 20 years old, we have adult day, we have a national holiday.

If there is an age of consent, is this different in a heterosexual or homosexual relationship?
He just feels like girls are more quickly to be adult, but he doesn't think the particular age.

Do Japanese children receive sex eduation at school?
Yes, they do

If so, does this cover just reproduction or other aspects of sexual activity?
At his childhood he didn't have such an education really. When he was a junior high school student he had education but at that time more like scientific, so they were told just as things happened and they make a baby. When he was a highschool the girls and boys were seprarted and then just a boys and a girls class and then they were told how the can avoid to be pregnant, such a thing they learnt.

If not, where and how do they typically receive this?
From magazines."Goro", the title of the magazines name, Playboy, Heibo Punch, so such magazines he learnt or other people learnt he thinks.

Are there any myths told to Japanese children about 'where babies come from'?
Yes there is.The bird which has got the big beak, 'Stork" and the beak has got what looks like a bag. That's what's going to carry the baby.

I read that in the Edo period it was normal for a bride to be given sexually instructional (Shunga) scrolls as part of her wedding gifts. Does this tradition continue today in any similar way?
He doesn't think so, that the similar way doesn't exist nowadays Is homosexuality and lesbianism accepted in Japan? He personallly doesn't accept it. He thinks lessies are better, he doesn't want to - has an aversion to homosexuals

Is sex before marriage accepted in Japan?
So nowadays yes it's accepted he thinks (BH but he thinks it wasn't before) So just he thinks just recently it's started to be accepted but before it wasn't accepted.

Is it common for men and women to have a number of sexual partners?
He said he is married so he personally doesn't have a number of sexual partners. (BH I mean more throughout the life not necessarily at the same time) He yes before he got married, he said not more than one.

Are there any laws which prevent certain sexual activities?
He thinks there isn't

Is sex discussed in Japan?
He thinks that in the Junior High school or high school students they may discuss such a thing, but personally he desn't talk about any things

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Erotic/Pornography
What is the attitude to Shunga in Japan?

Shunga is, that was an old age, but now its changed into photography the picture, so he cannot think about the attitude to the shunga now.

Is pornographycommon in Japan?
10 years ago they're not allowed to show the hair of the naked body in photography, but nowadays they're allowed so become more open to the public

What is your attitude to pornography?
He's a photographer himself that's why he thinks pornography's more like art, to show the beauty of the female's body, so he thinks more to take a picture of the naked woman's body is more art. He's going to have an exhibition of his work and then he wants to do the naked body pictures but that is art, he believes more perverted picture and then art of the woman's body is completely different.

Love Hotels
What are lovehotels?

He' never been there. (BH Has he heard what they are?) The place to have sex (BH This is with people you are in a relationship with, normally - AL Boyfriend and girlfriend) And also maybe love affair, and such a secretly relationships they go there as well he thinks (BH But not like a brothel, for prostitutes) He thinks it can be used for that aswell, but he thinks in the countryside they're not using prostitutes, just boyfriend girlfriend relationships, they use that

Is it common for people to use these?
He himself not (BH - Would it be any people he knows) He hasn't heard so many stories about this

Do people of all ages use Love Hotels?
He thinks large range of ages people using

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Marriage
On a wedding night are there any rituals which signify the man and woman's first night together as husband and wife?

He himself lived,or was with his girlfriend (or wife) before they got married so the first night is not that different day, a particular day, but they stayed at the hotel at which they had the wedding, that one night they stayed at the hotel

What is the average age for men and women to marry in Japan (if there is such a thing)?
He doesn't know even trying to think in general, he himself was 24 when he got married and his wife aswell was 24

Do men and women have equal responsibility for bringing up children?
He thinks there are some equal reponsibility, each can be equal he thinks.

Is it unusual for a man and woman to marry and not to have children?
He knows some people who hasn't got children but he doesn't know the reason why, can be they don't want to or they can't. But he himself has got children, because he thinks if himself and his wife can be difficult to last long so having children is nicer to have family

Are there many single mothers in Japan?
He knows quite a lot of people, 3 or 4 mothers, single mothers (BH- and also in Japanese you say 'single mother') (AL yes recently has become more of a Japanese word)

Is divorce common?
He knows quite a lot of people who are divorced

Are divorced men and women viewed any differently to married people?
He himself doesn't see any difference. He knows some single mothers who have got children aswell and then they're working so hard and doing so well so he doesn't think any differences

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Beauty
What characteristics make a Japanese woman beautiful?

He thinks the skin of the womans body and the, how soft (BH Is there any behaviour?) He just thought first the indian people when they're dancing, he thinks that's beautiful, like any country has got their own traditional way and he thinks even Japanese woman if they get used to wearing a kimono their attitudes and behaviour he thinks beautiful (BH - Quite traditional attitutudes?) (AL - Yes)

What characteristics make a Japanese man handsome?
He himself he doesn't think handsome, so he doesn't think about any...he thinks not the face, the figure, he think more how much the person can be dependable or you can rely on the person. He thinks if the man says from the man's view, if they say he is handsome that it's more true than if the woman says. (BH - Why is it more true if the man says?) Sometime when the woman says the person is so handsome, he cannot aggree so that's why, that sort of thing has happened a lot and that's why he thinks. He's maybe cynical.

Do you know what these characteristics were at any previous times in Japanese history,particularly the Edo period?
He said he didn't live in Edo period so he really cannot think about it.

How old are you?
Age - 38, 4 children

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BH = Beverley Hood (Interviewer), AL = Akemi Lucas (Translator)