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Love And Sex In Japan Essay

972 words - 4 pages

Author Sonya Ryang in in Chapter Two, Sovereign and Love, in her novel, Love and Sex in Modern Japan, discusses the notorious Sada sex murder in juxtaposition with the infamous Rape of Nanjing. Abe Sada, a Japanese woman, came to notoriety in Prewar Japan when she murdered her lover, Kichizo Ishida and then cut off his genitalia and carried them around her purse. Sada and Ishida had a very physical relationship that experimented with masochism. The text describes that in their sexual life Soda would chock Ishida, and even use her Obe sash to cut off his breathing during organisms. She was madly and possessively in love with him. For the time period, her sexuality and gendered identity were not the norm since they did not follow with the patriarchal order of the sovereign’s divine rule. During prewar Japan passionate sex and relationship had been regimented and organized in order to produce soldiers for the state, and to declare dominance and hegemony over other societies. Love was not for erotic affairs of passionate love, but like everything else in Japan during that time period, was means for the emperor and Japan. Essentially during the time of the murder, Ryang contends that, “Sada, by committing herself to the personal cause of love, resisted the increasingly all-encompassing military ethos of the time.” In other words, Sada’s actions did not fit the message being propagated by the Japanese state. In general, woman during this time period in Japan either bore children (often assigned to bear the average of five children in order to meet the army’s needs for soldiers) or headed toward military comfort stations. Essentially, sovereignty to the Emperor and the institutionalizing of sex took place and sex based on passionate love served no purpose for the state, therefore was not of the norm and considered perverse. Sada’s love and murder was essentially infidelity to love towards the sovereign of prewar Japan, where everyone’s action we all for the state via devotion to the Emperor. In comparison, the attack on Nanking was orientated around love with loyalty to the Sovereign. The Rape and dominance over the Chinese woman was seen as representation of loyalty towards the state, and therefore not immorality, but acceptable and in fact promoted. As Ryang explains, “By sexually violating Chinese, Korean, and other women, including Japanese, Japanese soldiers proved their prowess and loyalty to the sovereign.” In short, the murder committed by Sada’s was a crime of passion and—while the rape and massacre, of the entire city of Nanjing was seen as a glorious national victory, a sacrifice for the sacred order of the imperial sovereign.
From this understanding, Ryang argues that one cannot help but ask “which is more perverted, a woman who commits a crime because of over-passion or a nation that commits itself to bloody rape of its neighbor, also in the...

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