The Gender of Nationalism: Competing Masculinities in Meiji Japan

TitleThe Gender of Nationalism: Competing Masculinities in Meiji Japan
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsKarlin, Jason G.
JournalJournal of Japanese Studies
Date Published01/2002

This essay examines gender symbolism in competing representations of nationalism in Meiji, Japan. Through an analysis of contesting images of masculinity, it reveals how questions of national identity were articulated in the idiom of gender. In response to the perceived threat of the feminization of culture represented by the intensification of consumption, fashion, and artifice, a vigorous masculinity asserted itself that rejected Western materialism and instead extolled notions of primitivism, national spirit, and imperialism. These two opposing representations of masculinity, a "masculinized" and "feminized" masculinity, each constituted differing responses to the problem of modernity.

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