Last month I was interviewed by a journalist working for Metropolis magazine (one of Japan’s larger English language magazines, freely circulated within Tokyo) concerning my research on Tokyo’s “gay town” of Shinjuku Ni-chome. The article quite rightly focusses on the experiences and ideas of Japanese activists and scholars, but I am happy one of my main arguments got into popular print (that economic factors play an important role in young people’s decision not to visit the district).
That being said, I spent a lot of time talking about racial discrimination against East Asians in the bars of Ni-chome, but this didn’t make it into print. The tone is overall extremely positive, but I would hesitate to adopt the rose-tinted glasses that this article appears to be wearing myself. I’ll leave the rest of you to make up your minds about the arguments found within. A colleague of mine also raised their concerns to me that the title and images chosen suggested to him a discussion of race and ethnicity, but there is very little of this mentioned in the article. There is also a lack of focus on queer women’s experiences of the space, which is unfortunate.
The article, “Changing Colors: The transition of Tokyo’s iconic gay district: Shinjuku Nichome” is available in the October issue of Metropolis magazine, as well as online here.