Friday, February 08, 2002

Thursday, February 07, 2002

Wednesday, February 06, 2002

my senior seminar topic description:

Between 1914 and 1942, Komine (1985) writes, over 300 female same-sex double ("love") suicides were reported in Japanese newspapers, totaling over 30 percent of all suicides in Japan during this time period. The lesbian women committing these suicides were caught between strong currents of Industrialization, Modernization, Imperialism, Fascism, and rapidly changing political, medical, and cultural conceptions of sexuality in interwar Japan. The ways in which these factors affected and were affected by the particular practices of female homosexuality in Japan remain almost entirely unexplored.

Robertson (1999) makes the most thorough attempt to explain the phenomenon of lesbian double suicide and its relationship to Japan, concluding that "lesbian double suicides and attempted suicides were predicated on Ð and both used and criticized as a trope for Ð a revolt against the normalizing functions of tradition (qua the Good Wife, Wise Mother) as sanctioned by the civil code." This explanation, however, falls short on many counts. First, it at best explains only politicized suicides. One must assume that not every suicide was intended as a public, political statement. Next, the "normalizing functions of tradition (qua the Good Wife, Wise Mother)" is both an overly vague, unexplained concept itself and is never identified within actual Japanese law. RobertsonÕs analysis also fails to explain why tradition was of such great burden to Japanese lesbians that it would cause them to take their own lives in numbers significantly higher than the rest of the Japanese population (and particularly heterosexual Japanese women), which must have shared the same tradition.

An alternate explanation may answer these and other remaining questions about the phenomenon of lesbian suicide in interwar Japan. A close examination of some of the actual suicide notes left behind by these women, as well as a broad review of major trends in interwar Japan, suggests a more specific and compelling conclusion: The distinguishing factor of lesbian suicide in interwar Japan was the intolerability of an implicit threat lesbianism posed to the socio-economic family structure from which a new industrialist society was emerging. Where socialism and feminism publicly threatened to disrupt industrialization, lesbianism meant practical (if not always intentional) action in this very direction. Thus Japanese lesbians, while not a formally organized political unit, bore a large share of the backlash against such movements.

Tuesday, February 05, 2002

my search referrals are increasingly related to things i'm interested in - things i might myself search for. i like this.
i have plenty of time.
one thing that bothers me is the claim that one doesn't have enough time to do something. i've never known it to be true. i'm a busy guy, but if i wanted to do something (like blog more), i could. i'd just not do something else (like play go). what it comes down to is that what i do is more important to me than what i don't do. but i'm not running out of time. in fact, it's much the opposite - time is one of the few things we just keep getting more and more of. i decided to write about this because i read another "where do you find the time to blog so much" essay today (no link handy). the answer should be obvious: people who blog a lot are doing less of something else. it's easy to imagine that other people have some secret to doing more in a given amount of time. they don't. i'm telling you this as an other person. i must look busy when other people are around. but i play go a lot.
style change.
i've decided i've been worrying too much about citing sources. if you click the link, you can read for yourself who said it. the important stuff is in the quotes. the name's not important.