Asexuality in Japan

The Asexual Agenda has an interesting interview with a Japanese asexual activist:

I recently had the opportunity to chat with harris-hijiri.  harris-hijiri is a native of Japan, and has been involved in asexual activism for about 14 years.  She has been a member of AVEN since 2007, and you can also find her on tumblr.  Although she was involved in managing several Japanese-language asexual communities from 2005 to 2008, she stepped down from an administrative role for a variety of reasons (some of which we discuss below).  She has also participated in a number of Japanese LGBT communities, and is currently active in Toyohashi City.

You can read the full interview here. There’s some very interesting stuff in it:

Q: Does the Japanese community borrow asexuality-related words and concepts from English?  Or does it mostly use words and concepts created within the community?

Well, I suppose English doesn’t have the division between asexuality and nonsexuality, but aside from that are there any big differences?

H: I don’t think there are any big differences.

Of course, there are people who tried to create the concept “unsexual” (アンセクシャル),[5] but that is definitely not common.

Q: But the definition is slightly different, right?  Asexuality and nonsexuality is defined as “not having sexual desire,” but in English it’s defined as, “An asexual person is a person who does not experience sexual attraction.”

H: [The Japanese definition] is mixing “sex-revulsion” (性嫌悪), “I don’t want to do sexual things,” and “not having sexual impulses.”

Q: In English it’s slightly different, isn’t it?  In English we’re always saying, “attraction is not behavior,” but the definition you just gave is half about behavior, isn’t it?

H: Ah, I’m sorry.  “Sexual desire” is a good approximate [translation] for “seiyoku” (性欲; sexual desire).  I was confusing it with [the feelings of] people in the nonsexual community.  Sorry.

Q: In other words, is sexual desire the feeling of wanting to have sex?

H: It probably is.  (We don’t really talk about sexual desire much, so.)

Q: Is the definition of nonsexuality different from the definition of asexuality other than romantic love (恋愛)?

H: Probably, falling in love and wanting a partner [would fall under] nonsexuality.


Categories: Rethinking The World


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