In the Company of Men examines representations of male-male sexuality in literature from the Meiji period (1868-1912), the era when Japan embarked on an unprecedented modernization campaign. Because male-male sexuality occupied a prominent place in the literary culture of the preceding Edo period (1600-1868), the issue was of importance to Meiji writers and intellectuals, especially given the stigma attached to male-male sexuality in Europe and America, the "civilized" societies that Japan strove to emulate as it modernized. The heterosexualization of literature thus emerged as a key component of the production of Japanese literary and cultural modernity. At the same time, male-male sexuality also surfaced as an important cultural symbol for segments of society opposed to the push to modernize. In the Company of Men considers how these conflicting attitudes toward male-male sexuality manifested themselves in Meiji literary history.
Publisher: Stanford University Press