Book Announcement: Cool Japanese Men. Studying New Masculinities at Cambridge

Cool Japanese Men: Studying New Masculinities at Cambridge.

edited by Brigitte Steger and Angelika Koch.

Following the successful publication four years ago of Manga Girl Seeks Herbivore Boy: Studying Japanese Gender at Cambridge, we are delighted to announce a second book by our recent Japanese Studies graduates. Cool Japanese Men: Studying New Masculinities at Cambridge, edited by Brigitte Steger and Angelika Koch, is a collection of well researched and thoroughly up-to-date essays which explore what it means to be a ‘cool’ man in Japan today. Normative ideas of masculinity are currently being negotiated and revised in many societies and these studies make for fascinating reading, both for those with little knowledge of Japan and Gender Studies and those with long-standing interest in these areas. We have every confidence that this book will replicate the success of its predecessor, which is held in many UK school libraries and included on the reading list of university courses on Japanese society around the world. Our hope is that Cool Japanese Men will help inspire many more young people to begin their own exploration of Japanese culture.

The four essays explore how recent expressions of manhood diverge from the gendered division of social roles of the traditional post-war family system and the hegemonic model of masculinity typified by the hard-working, dark-suited but otherwise colourless ‘salaryman’. They also raise the question of how far these so-called ‘new’ masculinities are still influenced by more traditional ideas of how men and women should act. Hannah Vassallo discusses recent government campaigns promoting the image of ikumen (child-raising fathers) and the ‘cool’ men who manage to juggle successful careers with proactive fatherhood. Christopher Tso and Shirota Nanase examine a range of self-help literature that encourages businessmen to adopt the proto-typically female gendered skills of personal grooming and listening. ‘Rebellious cool’ is showcased in an ethnography by Sakari Mesimäki of a student hip hop dance circle at a Japanese university and, by way of contrast, the final chapter by Rosie Dent-Spargo examines a group of decidedly ‘uncool’ otaku men — the nerdy fans of the pop idol group AKB48.

Click for the story here:

The book is available from Lit publisher and well sorted book stores.<>

About Paula

Paula lives in the vortex of academic life. She studies medieval Japanese history.
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