1. Jessica,

    This is a very interesting topic and I applaud your efforts to teach us more about it. While it does appear that Japan has more LGBTQ characters in their mainstream media, I am, like you, hesitant to say that this is a good thing. From what I have seen, stereotyping and queer coding is unfortunately just as common in Japanese media as in Western media so I’m glad you mentioned it, although I personally do not think that I would give it enough credit to call it “representation.”

    I am curious though, did you come across anything about the consumption of this type of media in Japan? Are there any similarities between the portrayal and fetishization we see of LGBTQ individuals and couples (for example, lesbian couples who exist solely to draw in the young straight male demo) in Western media and Japanese portrayals of LGBTQ individuals and couples?

  2. I forgot to add something and I can’t figure out how to edit the comment so I’ll just post this here! I’ve never heard of any of your sources before, but Okoge looks like it would be really interesting. “Kitchen” looks like it would be a really good read, and seeing the positive response that you had to it really makes me want to look into it.
    Thanks for the post!

  3. caweinshenker says:


    Great job. It’s interesting that Japanese attitudes toward LGBTQ issues have mirrored American attitudes. I wonder how much of that is fallout from the postwar occupation. I’m not very familiar with the history of gay men as a symbol for nonthreatening female desire, though, so I can’t really say whether that has an American parallel.

    I wonder if you’ve read Murakami Haruki’s Kafka on the Shore? That book also contains a notably positive rendering of a transgender character. Might be worth looking into.


  4. Jessica,

    I really like where you’re going with the topic. The concept of queer coding is fascinating and one that deserves a substantial amount attention. I am especially intrigued by the “gay boom” in 90s Japanese cinema, something I’m not at all familiar with. While I was taking Japanese Cinema, I do not recall any mentioning of such a phenomenon as we were approaching that era. It would be interesting to hear about about how it grew out of previous rhetoric about LGBTQ people and how it has potentially informed subsequent rhetoric.

    Best of luck!

  5. Jessica,

    I actually find it surprising the amount of queer people in Japanese media in comparison to western culture. Though it may not always be the best representation or for the benefit of those in the LGBTQ community, it is still a larger amount of media than in the US. I also agree with the idea that there is a displacement of female desire in Japan. I would argue that this could still be seen today with the Yaoi industry whose consumer base is mainly female.
    I really liked your post! Very interesting.

  6. snmelvin says:


    It sucks that discussion for your topic had to be cut short, so I wanted to post my thoughts here since I had a class starting directly afterwards. First of all, I noticed that your presentation mostly focused on non-anime or manga related topics, which introduced a lot of sources I’d never seen before which was awesome, and you briefly mentioned yaoi and yuri towards the end as representation of a brief example gays and lesbians within the anime and manga industry. While it’s definitely true those are the most obvious representations, I think it’s also important to acknowledge that probably 99% of those are created by and for the consumption of straight women and men, respectively. If it’s not queer-coding and it’s not a necessarily pejorative representation of gays and lesbians by straight individuals, what is it exactly? I think it’d be interesting, also, to contrast those images with what is presented on television, and with how gays and lesbians represent themselves within their own works. Specifically, in yuri manga written by women and in gay manga or “gei comi” by men. Seeing as how anime and manga itself is a subculture in the same way lgbt has developed a subculture, I think there’s a lot of overlap between the two that would yield some more varied representations that might help in writing your final paper (though of course the same lgbt-phobic attitudes exist at large within the anime/manga fan community).