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CompleteMartialArts.com - Permitted and Prohibited Desires: Mothers, Comics, and Censorship in Japan

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Manufacturer: University of California Press
Average Customer Rating: Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5

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Binding: Paperback
Dewey Decimal Number: 306.70952
EAN: 9780520219908
ISBN: 0520219902
Label: University of California Press
Manufacturer: University of California Press
Number Of Items: 1
Number Of Pages: 251
Publication Date: 2000-01-14
Publisher: University of California Press
Studio: University of California Press

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Editorial Reviews:

This provocative study of gender and sexuality in contemporary Japan investigates elements of Japanese popular culture including erotic comic books, stories of mother-son incest, lunchboxesor obentosthat mothers ritualistically prepare for schoolchildren, and children's cartoons. Anne Allison brings recent feminist psychoanalytic and Marxist theory to bear on representations of sexuality, motherhood, and gender in these and other aspects of Japanese culture. Based on five years of fieldwork in a middle-class Tokyo neighborhood, this theoretically informed, accessible ethnographic study provides a provocative analysis of how sexuality, dominance, and desire are reproduced and enacted in late-capitalistic Japan.

Spotlight customer reviews:

Customer Rating: Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5
Summary: Buy it for the information, not for the writing style.
Comment: Permitted and Prohibited Desires reads like a doctoral dissertation, which is unforgivable, considering it is not the author's first book. There are endless scholarly names dropped, as if to prove she's done her homework, as well as big chunks of poorly-digested Freud, Lacan, and Althusser. A good editor could have cut out half of what's here, which would have given the author space to put in more of her own research.

Her research is interesting. It's easy to find information about the aspects of Japanese culture that interest Westerners, but she describes things that do not transplant so easily. She also does a competent job of relating them to Japanese society as a whole.

Short summary: How interested are you in Japanese culture? If you want to go past the obvious, buy the book (but be prepared to wade through some unforgivable academese). If not, spend your money on manga.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Mothers, Japan and fantasy.
Comment: Permitted And Prohibited Desires by Anne Allison is a very serious study about gender and sexuality in modern Japan, focusing very much on the relationships between women and family, women and the work place, mothers and sons, sexuality and censorship and how woman fit into Japanese culture in general.
The author does a great job at making a foundation for the book, based on years of fieldwork in middle-class Tokyo with a solid understanding of anthropology, Marxist theory and psychology.
I believe she does a great job finding the differences between facts and fiction, in tracing many of the Western influences that have mixed into and changed the non-Western culture that is today's Japan.
A must for any library on Japan, its history or culture.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5
Summary: An informative look at lesser known Japanese culture
Comment: I was very pleased with this book , but also somewhat disappointed. The way Allison delves into each subject is astounding, and her own personal experiences illustrate the culture so that an American can understand it. What disappointed me, however, was how Allison becomes bogged down in explaining everything in psychological jargon. I know as an anthropologist, she must address certain things, but I ended up just skimming the sections.

The first chapters of the book cover Japanese comics, or manga. It does not cover popular manga, but rather how certain running themes reflect on Japanese culture. She particuarly looks into "ero manga," which is erotic, adult comics. She makes some shocking insights, but nothing that isn't mirrored in the U.S. She also briefly looks into children's television shows and hostess clubs.

The second part deals with mothers in Japan. This section of the book was so thoroughly interesting it made me wish the entire book covered the topic. The amount of work that the women must do is incredible. She also looks into Japanese schools, especially nursery schools. Allison's own personal experiences and her interviews with Japanese women really flavor this section.

The third section wraps up with censorship in Japan. Allison delves more into politics here, and the section didn't grab me as much as the others. It is still interesting, and the information is well delivered.

If you can put aside her psychological ramblings and concentrate on the actual writings, this book is wonderfully informative. Recommended.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Not for just Manga fans!
Comment: Let me put my above statement into better context: What I mean is that if a person is only imterested in manga, they probably will not enjoy this book. This not an introduction to erotic manga book, but instead is a book that deals with certain aspects of manga made for males. It foes into such things as panty shots and the male gaze and the domination of women by men in adult manga for males and women. Very good stuff, but for those who want info on manga itself, don't read here, few manga are covered here and the author onl uses a handful of stories. Manga known to english readers are not mentioned at all. Another thing unless you are well versed in the psychoanalytical theories of Freud and Lacan much of this book will seem very verbose and uncomprehensible. Skip the first chapter if you must it is unnecessary to enjoy the book. Also covered in this book are Japanese mothers and how they prepare their children for nursery school. You will not believe all that these women go through. Also the subject of Mother-son incest is brought out. a subject that was popular in Japan during the late 70' and early 80's in popular culture.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5
Summary: Informative, yet odd subject matter.
Comment: In all honesty, the book was not exactly what I expected to be. By the title and description, you would think it was about pornographic comics in Japan. In actuality, the book turned out better than I anticipated. Anne Allison uses the comics factor as to illustrate one of the fathomless views of how women in Japan are viewed. She deals with certain topics such as mother-son incest and the concern for its growth within Japanese mass-culture; the role of women as mothers, wives, and basically, the "other gender".

Ms. Allison has outdone herself in including Marxist ideas into her theories concerning subjects pertaining to sexuality and gender roles. After reading "Permitted and Prohibited Desires", the anthropoligical differences between our culture and the non-Western cultures are clearly evident. The results, however, are not too pleasing.

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