2000, Akiyoshi, Japan
Do you knowthe story of Izanagi and Izanami, from the Kojiki?
If so, what is it?
She doesn't know any in detail, she's heard about the name
visited the MaraKannon Shrine at Tawarayama?
your understanding of the purpose of this shrine?
Because she's never been there she doesn't know anything about
know of any other Shrine's to the phallus or male?
She's seen some pictures,also she's heard some stories about the
shrines through her friends, on Shikoku Island
visited the Chichi Kannon Shrine in Hofu City?
She's never been there.
know what is the purpose of this shrine?
She doesn't know anything about the purpose
know of any other shrine'sto the breast or woman?
When she heard about the shrine about the man the shrine has got
the woman's aswell, so just see heardabout the shrine through
her friend. She just talking about the man's things,there is ...she
was given one of the Japanese sweet cakes by a friend butshe didn't
know what the shape means or anything but that is a phallus shape,
from Totori Prefecture. (BH Was this from a shrine) So she doesn't
know where it was from.
know of any fertility rituals in Japan apart from visiting the
shrines mentioned above? (traditional or contemporary)
She has visited a couple of shrines, sometime by the school trip
or whatever but doesn't really know whats the purpose of the shrine
but sometimes it includes the fertility rituals and anything but
she doesn't know the purpose every time she visits. Herself she's
not in such a sitatuon yet that's why she's not so interested
but some places she's told that if you go to that place,the couples
going to be split up in the future or such a things she heard
some knows some places about that but not that yet.
any common symbols or objects representing man and woman in Japan?
She thinks there must be a lot of things to show such things,
but because for eg there are some traditional festivals can be
fertility ritual things but because happens every year or whatever
so people don't think about the real purpose for, people just
go and then watch the festival, but can be a lot of deep meaning
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
She thinks it depends on each family but herself when she started
the period her mother made the red rice (BH So what do you do
to make the red rice) It's boiled red beans then you add the rice,
then if you boil the red beans and the water changes to red colour
and then you add the rice so it becomes a little bit red, but
the taste is a little bit salty. (BH And then do the family eat
the rice?) She has got a younger sisters aswell and at her younger
sisters time they celebrate as well to make red rice. And also
they add some food which is their favourite one and they say congratulations
or whatever but at that time she doesn't know why they've got
to celebrate and she was a little bit not sure and embarrased
to say thank you but she didn't know why at that time. (BH Is
it made for you to eat ) Yes, all together with family like a
party. She's got an older brother aswell so she and her younger
sister was celebrated and he said why only then what about me
and then their parents celebrate whateverfor him. (BH So had she
been told about the periods before, by her mother or someone that
this would happen) So before she wasn't told about it by anyone
and that thing happened suddenly so she wasn't sure about how
she should behave.
Is there anyage of consent in Japan?
There isn't she thinks If not, when are men and women classed
as sexually adult? She thinks when the girl has started the period,
that time is, people thinks thats gets ready for it but she doesn't
know about the man boys that's the thing she knows (BH She is
it thought there were would be a time after the girl has started
her period or straight away) She thinks that when the periods
has started the body is ready for it, but the more spiritually
and mentally is not ready yet so she thinks the balance is important
I think individually.
children receive sex eduation at school?
So she had the sex education yes.
does this cover just reproduction or other aspects of sexual activity?
So she remembers just scientifically they learnt but not how they
can make sexual activity they didn't learn
where and how do they typically receive this?
From magazines or while talking with friends. And also when the
university's entrance exam time everyone of the friends goes to
all over the place in Japan and they stay, because it's so far
they stay in the hotel and then take the exam. So when they are
staying at the hotel there are some videos which show such a thing,
so the friends just watched the videos and then they learnt from
the videos aswell and after that she learnt such a thing from
friends (BH - So is this typical that hotels will have these videos,
is it channels) So the hotel maybe you need to pay for it, but
she thinks you can learn from the video channel whatever, from
any myths told to Japanese children about 'where babies come from'?
Yes there is (BH - What are they) Yes the bird, the stork (BH
You have it where the baby's inside) In Britiain there might be
a piece for cloth hanging from the storks mouth so the baby would
drop but you have it inside the mouth?) Childhood she has a book
can be from Europe where ever and that book said that that the
stork carried the baby hanging the bag or the picture in the nest
there is a baby she remembers that picture
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?
She doesn't think anything just to given such a picture nowadays
and lesbianism accepted in Japan?
So she thinks its a kind of curiostity but she can see that such
a people have predudice against, one of her friends is actually
a lesbian, but she knew her before that's why she knows her personally
well. That's why she doesn't think a different or strange way,
but if she doesn't know anyone like that she can see people, just
a different way (BH - That people are prededice against them?)
before marriage accepted in Japan?
Yes, she thinks yes
Is it common
for men and women to have a number of sexual partners?
At the sametime? (BH - I mean more over their lifetime) Yes she
is, it's happened a lot but she cannot say this is the right or
any laws which prevent certain sexual activities?
Not just a particular laws but just like other people or parents
told daughter and son, you mustn't have sex until you got married
or something like that told by some people,such a things happen
discussed in Japan?
Is that personally or generally (BH - Both) In general it's become
more opened but personally she talks such a things only with close
What is theattitude to Shunga in Japan?
Ukiyo-e, she thinks some people are intersted in this but they
don't just talk about just only about the Shunga, I'm interested
in Shunga whatever. Her personally she is interested in Ukiyo-e
including Shunga, but she doesn't want to talk about it to people.
She think like European art some pictures shows the naked woman's
body but in Japan she cannot think imagine about the naked woman's
pictures or in an exhibitions or museum as it's more like hidden
in Japanese society
Yes, maybe she thinks too much nowadays (BH It's interesting that
Shunga can't be shown in an exhibition but explicit manga is in
the corner shop) She thinks now they become more free to express
things and then, so she's talking about the yin and yang, the
balance is become unbalanced and then the things because peoples
more interested to see such things and they more become more popular
and the balance goes to the not right. She thinks, just talking
about Ukiyo-e, because especially the shunga is hidden that's
why people think it's more mysterious and that's the ukiyo-e as
it is becomes more valued and important. But nowadays everything
has opened and nothings so mysterious and hidden, that's she thinks
a shame in many ways.
your attitude to pornography?
She thinks, just comparing with Ukiyo-e and nowadays, that it's
completely open too much and in that case it's a little bit annoying
What are love hotels?
There are a lot of love hotels all over japan. She thinks personally
it sound interesting place but not like a beautiful or nice place
to visit. She think they,especially in the countryside in the
middle of nowwhere sometimes like castle shaped and lightning
and very different and strange doesn't fit the scenery. Sounds
interesting but doesn't match the scenery as it is she thinks.
When she was a child she's sometimes see when they're driving
and she thinks of beautiful castle I want to go, you know curious,
very interesting. (BH - What's her undertsanding of the function
of a love hotel?) She think the place to have sex, there (BH -
And also, between people who are boyfriend and girlfriend) Not
only boyfriend girlfriend relationship (BH - Which other do you
think?) She hears that because they're like a karoke machine inside,
so sometimes more like amusement place so just young people go
together or because then the price to stay is quite cheap so people
just use as a hotel that's what she heard.
Is it commonfor
people to use these?
In general yes, it is
of all ages use Love Hotels?
Not all ages but quite a lot. In different sitations so she cannot
tell what age, but one of the enjukosai, highschool students especillay
girls got middle aged men, because they can be with the men, the
man's going to payfor them. Sometimes they use love hotel for
whatever. Enjukosai, which is more like paying, helping to pay
for young school girls, and then instead of it, you're going to
have a time together. The Enjukosai, since that's sort of things
started more like talking about sex and hotels become more open
(BH - But that's not like prostituion is it?) That's different.
That person, the girls don't think they are prostitutes, they
don't think, just they spend the time with men for money.
On a wedding night are there any rituals which signify the man
and woman's first night together as husband and wife?
She thinks yes, like a, they don't talk about but they knew the
first night the husband and woman get together and they spend
the first night together. (BH - You mean like sexually together)
Yes. (And historically would that probabaly be the first night
they would have sex together?) Yes
the average age for men and women to marry in Japan (if there
is such a thing)?
She thinks roughly such an age is getting older and older but
between 25 - 30. If
they remarried after divorce or whatever that can be later on
so it's difficult to say the average age.
and women have equal responsibility for bringing up children?
She doesn't think it's equal (BH - More the woman?) So for the
woman they want to be equal but for the man its difficult to accept,
it takes time she thinks.
Is it unusual
for a man and woman to marry and not to have children?
She said maybe70% they think it's unusual, but she personally
the life of not having children, it's there is yes. She thinks
the socially sometimes having children is difficult fiancially,
nowadays people got to spend a lot of money bringing up children
but talking about the long time ago having a lot of children was
more like supporting family but that concept has changed nowadays,
so that's why they cannot have children or they don't want to
many single mothers in Japan?
Yes there are
She thinks yes, there is a lot of divorced men and women she knows.
men and women viewed any differently to married people?
Yes she think people think different way, more like negatively
What characteristics make a Japanese woman beautiful?
She think the words they use, the way they speak, or more like
their personality characteristics inside, not only the figures.
She thinks more than the beauty of the figure,is not that important,
more like the heart of the person can make the person beauty,
and she wants to be more like that.
make a Japanese man handsome?
Yes she think it's similar but more like a spiritual way that
makes a man handsome, it's difficult to see the real person as
handsome or not, just spiritually. Like in shunga, even the mans
really handsome, inside is hidden, so that's more interesting
if there's a difference in looks and inside of the person.
know what these characteristics were at any previous times in
Japanese history,particularly the Edo period?
So she thinks that the sort of Edo period or before because people,
man and woman were separated, it's difficult to see each other
so they can't judge just by the figure so that time they write
the poem to describe their feeling, in many sorts of ways to describe
themselves. Without seeing each other, so that's why that time
more such characteristics were important people thinks, the more
value for it. So not figure inside of the person, the sense, how
they can describe their feelings through the poems. If you want
to send a poem or whatever some maybe woman can put some flowers
with it or how you wrap it up or whatever just the way they do
that stake more important and they judge how she is or how is
he is. Not only the Edo period people write poems to describe
their feelings, and she thinks then how you choose the word in
short poem, haiku, or 100 poem or Heian poem, and the people choose
like flowers to describe the season whatever so they judge from
the word that that person choose. Such things is not direct, more
like using many sort of ways so can be a little bit irritated
but more like take the peoples curiousities. So because only 1
poem you can't undertsand everything so that's why the persons
going to imagine in many ways so can be irritating but more interesting
too, imagine this way or that way.
BH = Beverley
Hood (Interviewer), AL = Akemi Lucas (Translator)