Nightwork: Sexuality, Pleasure, and Corporate Masculinity in a Tokyo Hostess Club / Edition 1

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Overview

In Nightwork, Anne Allison opens a window onto Japanese corporate culture and gender identities. Allison performed the ritualized tasks of a hostess in one of Tokyo's many "hostess clubs": pouring drinks, lighting cigarettes, and making flattering or titillating conversation with the businessmen who came there on company expense accounts. Her book critically examines how such establishments create bonds among white-collar men and forge a masculine identity that suits the needs of their corporations.

Allison describes in detail a typical company outing to such a club--what the men do, how they interact with the hostesses, the role the hostess is expected to play, and the extent to which all of this involves "play" rather than "work." Unlike previous books on Japanese nightlife, Allison's ethnography of one specific hostess club (here referred to as Bijo) views the general phenomenon from the eyes of a woman, hostess, and feminist anthropologist.

Observing that clubs like Bijo further a kind of masculinity dependent on the gestures and labors of women, Allison seeks to uncover connections between such behavior and other social, economic, sexual, and gendered relations. She argues that Japanese corporate nightlife enables and institutionalizes a particular form of ritualized male dominance: in paying for this entertainment, Japanese corporations not only give their male workers a self-image as phallic man, but also develop relationships to work that are unconditional and unbreakable. This is a book that will appeal to anyone interested in gender roles or in contemporary Japanese society.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226014876
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1994
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 228
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Anne Allison is the Robert O. Keohane Professor of Cultural Anthropology and Professor of Women's Studies at Duke University.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Prelude 1
Introduction 7
Pt. 1 Ethnography of a Hostess Club 31
Ch. 1 A Type of Place 33
Ch. 2 A Type of Routine 42
Ch. 3 A Type of Woman 57
Pt. 2 Mapping the Nightlife within Cultural Categories 77
Introduction 79
Ch. 4 Social Place and Identity 84
Ch. 5 The Meaning and Place of Work: The Sarariiman 91
Ch. 6 Family and Home 102
Ch. 7 Structure of Japanese Play 114
Ch. 8 Male Play with Money, Women, and Sex 124
Pt. 3 Male Rituals and Masculinity 143
Introduction 145
Ch. 9 Male Bonding 151
Ch. 10 The Mizu Shobai Woman: Constructing Dirtiness and Sex 168
Ch. 11 Impotence as a Sign and Symbol of the Sarariiman 188
References 205
Index 211
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