Publication – Aspirations for ‘Japanese gay masculinity’

Japan’s premier gay pornstar, Koh Masaki (1983-2013)

Happy to report that my article Aspirations for ‘Japanese gay masculinity’: comparing Chinese and Japanese men’s consumption of porn star Koh Masaki has (finally) now come out in the journal Porn Studies. This article forms part of the broader special issue on East Asian Pornographies and Online Porn Cultures that I have guest edited together with Katrien Jacobs (Chinese University of Hong Kong) and Alexandra Hambleton (Tsuda College).

Here is the abstract:

This article investigates Chinese and Japanese fandom for the Japanese gay porn star Koh Masaki (1983–2013), exploring how consumption of Koh’s films impacted fans’ understandings of their sexual desires and identities. I argue that both groups position Koh as a symbol of a ‘Japanese gay masculinity’ that is understood as normatively desirable. Interviews revealed that due to this normative desirability, Koh acted as an aspirational model in the everyday production of their identities as gay men. Furthermore, Japanese gay men utilized Koh’s explicitly Japanese masculinity to position themselves as legitimately masculine within the context of a Japanese mainstream media landscape that constructs same-sex-desiring men as ‘failed men’ due to their supposed effeminacy. For Chinese gay men, Koh was deployed to symbolically construct an ideal of ‘good Japanese guys’ that helped them navigate systems of anti-Chinese xenophobia that circulate throughout Japan’s gay cultural spaces.

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