Love and Sex in Japan by Sonya Ryang Essays

Love and Sex in Japan by Sonya Ryang Essays

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Author Sonya Ryang in in Chapter Two, Sovereign and Love, in her novel, Love and Sex in Modern Japan, discusses the notorious Sada sex murder in juxtaposition with the infamous Rape of Nanjing. Abe Sada, a Japanese woman, came to notoriety in Prewar Japan when she murdered her lover, Kichizo Ishida and then cut off his genitalia and carried them around her purse. Sada and Ishida had a very physical relationship that experimented with masochism. The text describes that in their sexual life Soda would chock Ishida, and even use her Obe sash to cut off his breathing during organisms. She was madly and possessively in love with him. For the time period, her sexuality and gendered identity were not the norm since they did not follow with the patriarchal order of the sovereign’s divine rule. During prewar Japan passionate sex and relationship had been regimented and organized in order to produce soldiers for the state, and to declare dominance and hegemony over other societies. Love was not for erotic affairs of passionate love, but like everything else in Japan during that time period, was means for the emperor and Japan. Essentially during the time of the murder, Ryang contends that, “Sada, by committing herself to the personal cause of love, resisted the increasingly all-encompassing military ethos of the time.” In other words, Sada’s actions did not fit the message being propagated by the Japanese state. In general, woman during this time period in Japan either bore children (often assigned to bear the average of five children in order to meet the army’s needs for soldiers) or headed toward military comfort stations. Essentially, sovereignty to the Emperor and the institutionalizing of sex took place and sex based on passionate love...


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...condly, I would like to question, how would society have reacted if Ishida killed Abe out of said “passionate love” and carried around her genitalia. I think that society on whole would have reacted much differently and shows that gender often plays a role in how we view things. Lastly, I felt that Sonya Ryang stereotyped all Japanese women in Prewar Japan, with exclusion to Sada, as not having passionate romances. Surely there were other women who had passionate erotic love with their partners, and didn’t kill them when they feared they would leave them. Generally speaking many women who were devoted entirely towards the state, but surely not all Japanese women fit into these roles and stereotypes. The fact that Sada was different from the norm, does not excuse the actions that she committed. And therefore, should not in any means be used as an example for society.

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