GLOW Hosts Pink Japan

Pink Japan
Paula I. Daniliuc

Students and guests marvel at the erotic amusement of the ordinary Japanese citizen in Emerson Hall on Monday night. During the next hour, Midori guided students on a tour of Tokyo's ordinary love hotels.

Students gathered to talk Japanese love hotels, fetishes, and pornography during a presentation on Tuesday by human sexuality writer and speaker Midori, entitled “Pink Japan: Contemporary Sex Culture.”

The event was co-hosted by the student groups Gay, Lesbian, Or Whatever (GLOW) and Queer Liberation. This marked the first event hosted by Queer Liberation, a new student organization created by former Queer Students and Allies chairs Jonas Wang ’12 and Samuel J. Bakkila ’12.

Wang said he and Bakkila decided to form the new group in order to push the boundaries of acceptable sexual discussion.

Although the group is not officially recognized by the College, Bakkila said they hope to host more events in the future that focus on neglected queer issues.

During the event, Midori, a native of Japan, guided attendees through a photographic tour of Japanese love hotels, erotic shops, and other legal, sex-related locales.

From depicting machines that dispensed vibrators and beer to pornography shops the size of a supermarket, Midori described her talk as the “Travel Channel after hours.”

“I specialize in an urban safari and shed light upon the erotic recreation of the ordinary Japanese [citizen],” Midori said. “This is an aspect of life in any culture that’s not going to show up in nice travel guides.”

Midori focused on the sexual culture of average Japanese couples to debunk what she said were Western misconceptions of Japanese relationships. According to Midori, these incorrect assumptions do “nothing to foster a global and cultural understanding."

As part of the event, Midori provided an assortment of handouts and pamphlets, including flyers from gay and lesbian bars, erotic comic books, and scholarly analyses on Japanese sex clubs.

At the conclusion of her tour of Japanese sexual culture, Midori said she hoped attendees had gained a new understanding of what sexual behavior is considered “normal.”

“This is an aspect of human sexuality that is part of sociology and anthropology,” Midori said. “I just take an entertaining perspective on it.”

After hearing about the event through several LGBTQ and sexuality list-servs, Kat M. Baus ’15 said she decided to attend to learn about the more academic side of sexual culture.

“It was definitely different from what I expected,” Baus said. “Here the information was presented matter-of-factly, like it was just part of life.”

—Staff writer Melanie A. Guzman can be reached at melanieguzman@college.harvard.edu.

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