A past re-imagined for the geisha: Saviour of the 1950's Japanese sex industry

Norma, C 2008, 'A past re-imagined for the geisha: Saviour of the 1950's Japanese sex industry', Traffic, vol. 10, pp. 37-56.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title A past re-imagined for the geisha: Saviour of the 1950's Japanese sex industry
Author(s) Norma, C
Year 2008
Journal name Traffic
Volume number 10
Start page 37
End page 56
Total pages 20
Publisher University of Melbourne Postgraduate Association
Abstract This paper looks at public discussion surrounding the enactment of Japan's Prostitution Prevention Law in 1956. It picks up the opinion of commentators that the Japanese sex industry continued to flourish even after 1956 because the geisha system was left out of the law. (1) The paper asks why the geisha system was left out of Japan's Prostitution Prevention Law, and why this exclusion was a boon for the country's sex industry. It then broaches a theoretical explanation for the role the geisha system played in the success of Japan's postwar sex industry. This explanation draws on feminist Catharine MacKinnon's idea of the 'Playboy standard'. (2) The 'Playboy standard' is a phrase that stands for MacKinnon's opinion that the 'respectability' of Playboy magazine protects all pornography from attempts to curb its production and distribution. This paper argues that the geisha system established a similarly 'respectable' standard for prostitution in Japan, and that this shielded the wider sex industry from legal intervention in the post war. It concludes that the geisha system has normalised and lent respectability to the activities of the sex industry in Japanese society, to the detriment of its women and girls.
Subject Sociology not elsewhere classified
Copyright notice © Copyright 2011 by GSA
ISSN 1447-2538
Versions
Version Filter Type
Access Statistics: 666 Abstract Views  -  Detailed Statistics
Created: Mon, 14 Nov 2011, 10:02:00 EST by Catalyst Administrator
© 2014 RMIT Research Repository • Powered by Fez SoftwareContact us