Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900

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9780826460745: Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900

Much has been written about the relationships between European men and local women in Asia, Africa, and Latin America during the heyday of western imperialism. But scholars have given only minor attention to "interracial" relationships in a non-western country that avoided colonization, was regarded by Europeans as "white", and was able to generally maintain control over resident foreign male communities. Leupp analyzes the intimate relationships between western men and Japanese women, for the most part in Japan, throughout the entire early modern period, and into the first several decades of western residence in the Treaty Ports. He discusses marriage between Japanese Catholic converts and Iberian adventurers; EuropeanÆs participation in sexual slavery; the provision of courtesansÆ services to the Dutch on Deshima; and the "temporary marriages" in the Treaty Ports after 1859, noting continuities in Japanese officialsÆ attitudes and policies towards foreigner men and the Japanese women who came to associate with them.

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About the Author:

Gary P. Leupp is Associate Professor of History at Tufts University. His previous books include Servants, Shophands and Laborers in the Cities of Tokugawa Japan (1991, Princeton) and Male Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan (1995, California).

Review:

“...insightful interrogation of the West’s protean constructions of racial otherness and the strikingly ambiguous positioning of Asians within them.... In Interracial Intimacy in Japan, Leupp charts the dynamics and fluidity of conceptions of race and gender and their impact on defining interracial relations between Japanese women and Western man....in focusing much of his analysis on constructions of race and gender in Japan and the West, Leupp’s work makes a valuable contribution to the growing discourse of race, racism, and race relations in Japan....he offers a well-documented analysis of Japanese attitudes toward interracial relationships that challenges perdurable images of Japanese as racist xenophobes while confirming the centrality of race and place in the West.” –The Journal of Japanese Studies, 31.1, 2005

“Liberally illustrated and impressively written, the book casts new light on an unusual situation in fascinating detail. It analyses the clash of differing views on color, race, and sex and the diverse ways in which the situation was resolved in practice.” –The International History Review, 3/05

'The book is indeed interesting and readable and devoid of jargon.''The sections concerning Japanese views on race are thought-provoking...Readers may enjoy it as a general introduction to the topic, and those who wish to explore further in English may find the bibiography helpful.'~ Japanese Studies, Vol. 24, No. 2, September 2004 (Ellen Nakamura)

'The book is indeed interesting and readable and devoid of jargon.''The sections concerning Japanese views on race are thought-provoking...Readers may enjoy it as a general introduction to the topic, and those who wish to explore further in English may find the bibiography helpful.'~ Japanese Studies, Vol. 24, No. 2, September 2004 (Sanford Lakoff)

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