IKEMEN: EFFEMINACY OR THE NEW MASCULINITY OF THE MODERN-DAY JAPANESE MALE?

Open Access
Author:
Tsang, Dorothea
Area of Honors:
Japanese
Degree:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Jonathan Eran Abel, Thesis Supervisor
  • Reiko Tachibana, Faculty Reader
  • Jonathan Eran Abel, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • ikemen
  • Japan
  • men
  • masculinity
  • effeminacy
Abstract:
Over recent years, the Japanese entertainment industry has seen a burgeoning of actors who are known for their slightly androgynous physical attributes such as their flawless skin, their tall, slender bodies, or their soft-shaped faces. The projection of this trend onto the public can be seen through the increasing presence of effeminate young Japanese men walking through the streets of Japan. Rather than being a phenomenon that is resulting in weaker, more pathetic men, the feminization being observed is actually the redefining of masculinity that has been brought about by the bursting of the mid-1980 economic bubble and the subsequent empowerment of women. The changing times and the ascension of females in the workplace promoted the new man of 21st century Japan – the ikemen. Although just a fantasy of women for now, the assumption of ideal traits embodied in the ikemen by the average Japanese man has begun, stimulating the irreversible shift in the Japanese identity and how male-female interactions are conducted in the future.