The "herbivorous" men of Japan : negotiating new masculinities
Tamaru, Christina Akiko
May 9, 2012
Takemoto, Akira Ronald
Masculinity in Japan has long been equated with the hard-working and strictly regimented image of the "salaryman", which represents corporate employees of Japan’s burgeoning post-World War II economy. In recent years, a new breed of "herbivorous" young men has become a symbol of personal and professional passivity. They have been interpreted as a challenge to hegemonic, traditional Japanese masculinity and as a scapegoat for social and economic problems. Using Japanese sources and research materials pertaining to both herbivorous and salaryman masculinity, I outline the factors that fueled the development of a seemingly effeminate masculinity and the complex meanings attributed to the role of these young men in contemporary Japanese society. The significance of my research lies in the generationally and ideologically formed space that the herbivorous men occupy, and the resulting commentary on what it means to be a "man", and by extension, what it means to be "Japanese".
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