Volume 26 (2014)
Volume 25 (2013)
Volume 24 (2012)
Volume 23 (2011)
Most Downloaded Articles
- Artists and wartime politics: Natori Yōnosuke − a Japanese Riefenstahl?* by Germer, Andrea
- Self and salvation: visions of hikikomori in Japanese manga by Heinze, Ulrich and Thomas, Penelope
- You’ve got sp@m: a textual analysis of unsolicited Japanese dating invitation mails by Backhaus, Peter
- Divided society model and social cleavages in Japanese politics: No alignment by social class, but dealignment of rural-urban division by Chiavacci, David
- Japan imagined: popular culture, soft power, and Japan's changing image in Northeast and Southeast Asia* by Otmazgin, Kadosh Nissim
Eating disorders and self-harm in Japanese culture and cultural expressions
1Visiting researcher at the Organization for Asian Studies, Waseda University.
Citation Information: Contemporary Japan. Volume 23, Issue 1, Pages 49–69, ISSN (Online) 1867-2737, ISSN (Print) 1869-2729, DOI: 10.1515/cj.2011.004, March 2011
- Published Online:
Since the 1980s, eating disorders and self-harm among Japanese women have been on the rise. This socio-cultural study suggests that these behaviours are based in Japanese culture and have today become a female lifestyle. Motivated by cultural and historical constructions of femininity and the fear of social disintegration, this female lifestyle expresses a paradox: an attempt by women to over-perform and at the same time escape the obligation to navigate normative femininity. In parallel, eating disorders and self-harm are explicitly thematized in Japanese cultural expressions, from literature and manga to films and popular music. Using accounts from women engaged in this lifestyle, in addition to various fictional representations, this study conceptualizes a set of socio-psychological markers that exposes how eating disorders and self-harm are potentially represented in cultural expressions where such behaviours are not explicitly thematized. Miyazaki Hayao's animation Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi from 2001 serves as an example of how eating disorders, as a female lifestyle, have become a normative form of entertainment.