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The stories in this collection are connected by an exploration of women's sexual liberation, and provide a female readership with a sophisticated equivalent to the sexually graphic print media heavily marketed to Japanese men. The women in Inside generally do not conform to traditional gender roles that stress early marriage and motherhood. But the multiplying of sexual trajectories available to them is not unambiguously celebrated.
Japan is both overwhelmingly modern and traditional at the same time. This does not just apply to the amalgamation of skyscrapers and ancient Shinto shrines in cities like Kyoto, but also on a more sociological level. The matter of sexuality in Japan is one of the first things that come to mind.
Sex was so open, so free, so ubiquitous, so uninhibitedly taken for granted. No hiding, no guilt, no confining it against nature within institutional straitjackets like marriage. Half a century later, kids are still shocking and elders still shocked, but for shockingly different reasons.
Click the image to see a larger version. The book studies the images of women, their social status, gender roles, family relations, love lives, and sexuality. They captivated the hearts of many Japanese women.
Sexuality in Japan developed separately from that of mainland Asiaas Japan did not adopt the Confucian view of marriagein which chastity is highly valued. Monogamy in marriage is less important in Japan, and married men often seek pleasure from courtesans. Prostitution in Japan has a long history, and became especially popular during the Japanese economic miracleas evening entertainments were tax-deductible.
A figure in a translucent kimono coyly holds a fan. Another arranges an iris in a vase. Are they men or women?
A i Aoyama is a sex and relationship counsellor who works out of her narrow three-storey home on a Tokyo back street. Her first name means "love" in Japanese, and is a keepsake from her earlier days as a professional dominatrix. Back then, about 15 years ago, she was Queen Ai, or Queen Love, and she did "all the usual things" like tying people up and dripping hot wax on their nipples.
All rights reserved. Welcome to Love Hotel Hill, where Japan's sex industry is flourishing. True to their moniker, pay-by-the-hour love hotels cater to millions of Japanese couples every year, and increasingly, tourists.