Date of Award

Spring 5-23-2021

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Department

East Asian Studies

First Advisor

Shawn Bender

Language

English

Abstract

While Japanese queer subcultures is a common topic of discussion within academia, the Japanese drag queen is not. In fact, drag queens in general are often unrecognized in academic literature, let alone the Japanese drag queen. Drag queens consist of mostly gay men who present themselves as women while performing for gay and straight audiences alike. This piece begins the conversation regarding Japanese queens and their connections to queer advocacy work. By interviewing several drag queens from the Nagoya area, this paper illustrates their lived experiences as queer people and how they contribute to LGBTQ advocacy in Japan. In addition, I analyze the life of Furuhashi Teiji, a drag queen from 1980s Kyoto Japan. Drag queens ultimately use their unique position within queer spaces to provide visibility to the larger queer community. Furthermore, their ability to influence straight audiences, drive to create new queer spaces, and position within LGBTQ communities allows queens to have a larger impact on queer advocacy in Japan.

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