Society for East Asian Anthropology
Oral Presentation Session
Previous research on the LGBTQ community in Japan has often focused on the mannerisms and language of oneekei (literally ‘in the style of an older sister’) individuals, especially on television. Few have examined the discourse of FTM transgender individuals possibly due to their lack of representation within Japanese mass media. This paper examines the ways that two Japanese FTM transgender men use discursive contrast and scaling through subtle footing shifts to construct a dis/embodied sense of gender when creating videos for their YouTube channel through practices that are often seen as abhorrent within LGBTQ society in other countries. In these videos the two men of trans experience put on women’s clothing, wigs and makeup, call each other by the names they used before transitioning (deadnaming) and record daily activities done as women. My analysis focuses on this misgendering and deadnaming of themselves and each other as resources in producing these videos. The practices of misgendering and deadnaming are often cited within the literature and the discourse of LGBTQ activists as causes of death for many trans people. While these trans men can be seen as reinforcing heteronormative, hegemonic values, by examining their actions in the larger context of their video channel and its history, they can also be understood as participating in critical movements to counter larger discourses that frame the lives of trans people as sad and depressing.