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Interview 4
Feb 2000, Akiyoshi, Japan

Do you know the story of Izanagi and Izanami, from the Kojiki? If so, what is it?

She heard about the name but she doesn't know in detail (BH - Do you know anyof the details) She doesn't know any

Have you visited the Mara Kannon Shrine at Tawarayama?

Do you know what the purpose of this shrine is?
She just heard about the story of the shrine, if you get there, the couples can be the fertility, they be given a lot of children. Or the relationship between the couples, man and woman's going to be nice, better

Do you know of any other Shrine's to the phallus or male?
She's heard there are quite a lot of shrine in Japan but she doesn't know where abouts (BH - So similar shrines?) Mm hm. She thinks the shape of the phallus

Have you visited the Chichi Kannon Shrine in Hofu City?

Do you know what the purpose of this shrine is?
Probably similar way like tawarayama's, mara kannon shrine, but that's especially for the woman if you want to do the breast feeding the milks coming out a lot, that's what people go to pray for

Do you know of any other shrine's to the breast or woman?
She doesn't remember exactly but one day she saw the tv programme, the documentary programme and there was the tree shape like the woman's body and then if the person touched the shape of the breast the person can be pregnant or the breast feeding, the milk comes out a lot, such a things happened she watched. (BH - And that's somewhere in Japan) Somewhere.

Would you visit either of these places to pray?
If she got married to someone and she had such a problem she would go to visit

Are such shrines very traditional?
She doesn't know its traditional or not but Japanese people tend to believe such myths or stories.

Do you know of any fertility rituals in Japan apart from visiting the shrines mentioned above? (traditional or contemporary)
She can't think about just know. Can be that, contemporary, if the man eats a lot of vegetables and the woman eats a lot of meat things, the balance of the hormone of each other is going to be better, and then easy to make babies, especially boys for the person who wants to have the boys. She cannot think of other because she never been in such a situation.

Are there any common symbols or objects representing man and woman in Japan?
She can't think of any.

I understandred rice was traditionally placed outside the home when a daughter firstmenstruated. What rituals do you know of (traditional or contemporary)which mark such transitions to adulthood for boys and girls?
She just thinks about only the red rice for the girls and in her case that wasn't the red rice but cakes or whatever and then they celebrated (BH - So did they make red cakes?) No, just bought. (BH - To have as a celebration to have on that day?) Yes. The first time she had her period she couldn't tell to anyone because she knew they would celebrate making red rice and she thought a little bit embarrasing, so maybe 2nd or 3rd time after she finally told her family and they bought some cakes for her

Is there anyage of consent in Japan?

She thinks there is such a certain age nowadays

If not, when are men and women classed as sexually adult?
So the couples, each other,if they can take the responsibility for it then they can be allowed to have sex.

Do Japanese children receive sex eduation at school?
She remembers she's had some but she just doesn't remember the details

Does this cover just reproduction or other aspects of sexual activity?
She remembers they're just told scientifically, they didn't have any of the sexual activiites,how to make things like that

Where and how do they typically receive most of their sex education?
She think its much better told by their parents, but they learn more from mass media like tv or magazines, something like that. But she said just recently at the school they do more sex education in detail, so it has changed.

Are there any myths told to Japanese children about 'where babies come from'?
She just said there is something like the bird, stork. She doesn't think about any other stories.

Is it common for men and women to have a number of sexual partners?
Yes, she thinks yes.

Is sex discussed in Japan?
Yes, she thinks yes (BH - So is this among friends and also on TV?) She heard now there are a lot of television programmes show such things but she personally doesn't watch tv so she doesn't get any info from tv but she talks about these things with close friends

What is the attitude to Shunga in Japan?

She doesn't know about Shunga (BH - You've never seen) She's just started to remember that's from the ukiyo-e. There is some pictures showing the sex but she didn't know that's called shunga, she didn't know that's the name. She thinks not so many people knows about shunga and nowadays its representing a different way so they're not so interested in shunga, so they don't need to learn from shunga because there have a lot of ways to learn, to see.She thinks when she was in school students, still knowing about sex was a little bit hidden part, not openly told, so she just imagine in the past,long time ago such a things more hidden so people don't have the opportunity to know shunga so much, in the past. Only maybe in the past such picture were inhibited she thinks and then once the ukiyo-e as it is was banned to be open to the public, so that's why such shunga is so hiddenpart, so thinking of the past and comparing nowadays still its a hidden part (BH - So you mean only the shunga part of ukiyo-e was banned?) She thinks ukiyo-e as it is once. So she thinks ukiyo-e as it is, more like sexual things so thats why once the shogun, prime minister, didn't like the way so they banned, she remembers (BH - Do you know when it was banned?) She doesn't exactly remember when or who but one shogun, the top one, said personally no, no more and then they sent a, showed the sign saying no more ukiyo-e whatever to the public, but she doesn't think that's all Japanese societies but more like personally the top person's opinion. (BH - But that would have big influence?) That she thinks

Is pornography common in Japan?

What is your attitude to pornography?
So she thinks that pornography influenced people badly. She thinks that too much pornographyis nowadays also there is not limited to the certain age, so that's why influenced in a bad way and also the looking at pictures in magazines not teaching, not educationally way so the people looking at it can be influenced badly, just curious of the woman's body not like specific sex educationally way (BH - Some of the manga pornography is aggressive) She asked if pornography includes video things aswell (BH - Yes anything you class as pornography).Talking about the videos of pornography is worse, worse than the magazines, they're no good. She thinks its a big problem people can get the pornography videos and magazines easily at the convenience store, there is a vending machine for the videos and magazines aswell. (BH - So anyone can access that, so there's no way to limit at all or restrict the age of people buying that?) No

Love Hotels
What are lovehotels?

In Japan the love hotel means the couples go to there to have sex (These couples canbe in many different relationships?) Yes there are many, many ways, not only boyfriend girlfriend, can be love affairs or other ways

Is it common for people to use these?

Do people of all ages use Love Hotels?
She just heard by the news one of the things was, a 12 year old girl was killed by a 14 years boy at love hotel so by knowing such a thing she thinks a wide range of ages are using these, not only adults, younger children aswell.

Do you know the history of love hotels?
She heard another word like love hotel, tsurikomiado, which is more like an older style ryokan, the Japanese type of hotel, that sort of Japanese style place, the hotel was used in a similar way as love hotel (BH - When was this?) She doesn't remember

What characteristicsmake a Japanese woman beautiful?

She just thinks this is more traditional way, but if the woman really modest, not be agressive always, a little bit, if the man is there just to stand behind him, or something that sort of behaviour, not stand out by people other people,such a characteristics make the woman beautiful (BH - But is this not so important now?) She thinks its nowadays changed and she personally thinks such characteristics is important sometimes but sometimes she thinks not necessary.

What characteristics make a Japanese man handsome?
She thinks its difficult to just to define Japanese men. If you define Japanese woman and Japanese man it's really hard to say. She said in the 2nd question,it's difficult to say this question, but just in different way to see,the most she doesn't like the man's behaviour is if the man says I am a man and the attitude is more like looking down at the woman. So that sort of attitude she cannot bear it. And then the talking about the woman used to be they were modest, but at the that time the women wanted to be modest, that sort of characteristic they wanted to have, but if the nowadays its changed and then if the man kind of forced to the woman, you should be modest and I am the boss, I am the man. So that's such an attitude she doesn't like.

Do you know what these characteristics were at any previous times in Japanese history,particularly the Edo period?
No only particularlyin Edo period but the used to be the women's looked down by men, but she cannot think just about particularly the Edo period. In the past because the womans are more used like, just as toy, not toy, the tool to have babies and if the woman couldn't have the boys, the woman's kicked out, so they expect the woman to have the boy, so they treat the woman like that. She's imagining maybe in Europe, the old history can be similar things happen

How old are you?


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