Cover of In the Company of Men by Jim Reichert
In the Company of Men
Representations of Male-Male Sexuality in Meiji Literature
Jim Reichert


296 pages.

Hardcover ISBN: 9780804752145


Excerpts and More

In the Company of Men examines representations of male-male sexuality in literature from the Meiji period (1868-1912), the era when Japan embarked on an unprecedented modernization campaign. Because male-male sexuality occupied a prominent place in the literary culture of the preceding Edo period (1600-1868), the issue was of importance to Meiji writers and intellectuals, especially given the stigma attached to male-male sexuality in Europe and America, the "civilized" societies that Japan strove to emulate as it modernized. The heterosexualization of literature thus emerged as a key component of the production of Japanese literary and cultural modernity. At the same time, male-male sexuality also surfaced as an important cultural symbol for segments of society opposed to the push to modernize. In the Company of Men considers how these conflicting attitudes toward male-male sexuality manifested themselves in Meiji literary history.

About the author

Jim Reichert is Assistant Professor of Japanese Literature at Stanford University.

"Reichert's fascinating and timely book, In the Company of Men, is the first study of Meiji literature to consider what happened when 'compulsory heterosexuality' was imposed in the wake of modernization... It is an important and revisionist project, intended to change the master narrative of Meiji literary history."

Monumenta Nipponica

"This is a high-quality, well-researched study of literary trends in Japan as they pertain to male-male sexuality during the Meiji era."

Journal of Homosexuality

"Reichert demonstrates overall a depth of knowledge of the genre, and as a result this book is filled with numerous thought-provoking and informative narratives."

Intersections: Gender, History and Culture in the Asian Context

"Japanese literary studies is not usually a place we hope to find radical visions for social reform but In the Company of Men, through meticulously recording how "the repressive regime of compulsory heterosexuality" was painstakingly written into the Japanese literary canon, opens up space for imagining how things could have been, and could still be, otherwise."

Journal of Japanese Studies