Male Circumcision in Japan (英語) ハードカバー – 2015/10/1
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Male Circumcision in Japan offers an analysis of the surgical procedure based on extensive ethnographic investigation, and is framed within historical and current global debates to highlight the significance of the Japanese case.
"This book delivers excellent insight into the wider debates around circumcision and a deep understanding of the circumstances of circumcision in Japan. It offers a nuanced account of the historical journey and possible social, political, and medical reasons for its emergence and continuance and provides clear, coherent, and cutting insights into the different perspectives on these debates provided by the situation in Japan." - Steve Robertson, Professor and Co-Director, Centre for Men's Health, Leeds Beckett University, UK; Editor-in-Chief, International Journal of Men's Health
"In this study of a widely debated practice not normally associated with East Asia, Castro-Vazquez tracks the history, justifications, and changing cultural meanings of adult male circumcision in Japan. It is the first monograph-length examination of an unexpected trend that has largely been ignored by scholars. Wide-ranging and thoughtful, this book is a timely contribution to Japan studies, gender studies, and sexuality studies." - Laura Miller, Eiichi Shibusawa-Seigo Arai Endowed Professor of Japanese Studies and Professor of Anthropology, University of Missouri St. Louis, USA
"Situated in contemporary global theories of sexuality and Japanese studies, Male Circumcision in Japan presents original research on an often neglected medical procedure utilized by a small number of adult men in Japan. Especially welcome is the attention by Castro-Vázquez in his book on the Japanese sexual and gendered self to the range of experience, both among medical practitioners as well as among women, including mothers, each of whom holds a distinct opinion about this elective, cosmetic surgery for Japanese men." - Matthew Gutmann, Professor of Anthropology, Director of the Brown International Advanced Research Institutes (BAIRI), and Faculty Fellow at the Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University, USA商品の説明をすべて表示する
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The book is divided into six chapters, the first two of which focus on establishing context and framework, with subsequent chapters drawing from interviews with a group of Japanese men, Japanese women, Japanese urologists and cosmetic surgeons, and a concluding chapter on parents of “at least one male offspring” (p. 150). In each of these chapters, we hear from a range of informants who speak to and about the penis, often with great difficulty, as noted by Castro-Vázquez: “my conversations with the interviewees were not an easy task because of language availability and a culture of silence and pretense that tends to prevent open discussions about the genitals” (p. 66). The language surrounding the penis and more particularly circumcision is, at times, difficult, complicated, slippery, and uncertain, whether it be the various terms available in Japanese, or reflecting discomfort with speaking about sexual matters.
Unsurprisingly, when we reach a chapter on the medical profession, we are greeted by “polar extremes” in which the debate “was vividly reflected in the interviews because urologists completely opposed the surgical procedure, while cosmetic surgeons supported it” (p. 122). Of course, as readers of this journal may appreciate, debates around circumcision are often at incredible odds—pro or con, and there is hardly room for a middle ground. The opening epigraphs of this chapter speak to this debate. In the opinion of Dr. Ishi, urologist, “circumcision is a form of mutilation of the male body and should be prevented”; contra Dr. Takenaka, cosmetic surgeon: “Having the foreskin removed means, somehow, for some men, happiness, confidence and willingness to live” (p. 121). These opinions, remarkably different, speak to a growing Japanese debate about “penile improvements” and the “perfect penis” (p. 137).
If something is missing, perhaps, from this magnificent book, it is a sustained psychological discussion of circumcision. What are the psychological implications of circumcision, especially in adulthood? While not insisting on a psychoanalytic study, for instance, I am interested in whether or not discussions of this have moved to attend to the psychological wellbeing of patients. However, we are told by a urologist that “psychological therapy is rare and still a stigmatized practice in Japan…. Not many people want to be seen going for mental health services, which on the other hand, are still expensive” (p. 143).
Male Circumcision in Japan is a fascinatingly rich study that continues to reward its reader because of the ways it provides and affords nuance to debates not just over circumcision, but also masculinity, sexuality, and the penis. In many ways, while this study is about Japan, it is also a study that can help to inform methodological and theoretical discussions of the penis, foreskin, and circumcision in a range of contexts precisely because Castro-Vázquez argues that circumcision is not just a medical procedure, but one that affects and informs gender, sexuality, beauty and aesthetics, culture, psychology and the “technology of the self.” A most welcome addition to scholarship on sexuality, men’s studies, and gender, that will hopefully inform debates about circumcision and the penis and remind us to look not just at the known medical correlates but also at the full range of cultural dimensions and intersections.
JONATHAN A. ALLAN
Canada Research Chair in Queer Theory
- 洋書 > Politics & Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Customs & Traditions
- 洋書 > Politics & Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Gender Studies > Men
- 洋書 > Politics & Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Specific Demographics > Ethnic Studies
- 洋書 > Politics & Social Sciences > Sociology > Marriage & Family
- 洋書 > Politics & Social Sciences > Sociology > Medicine
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