Hitotsubashi University Japanese Studies in English Lecture Series 2017
Theme: Hidden Japan “Staged Seduction: Selling Dreams in a Tokyo Host Club" Speaker: Akiko Takeyama (Kansas University)


Date: November 6, 2017 (Monday)
Time: 15:15-16:45
Venue: Faculty Building 3, level 3

In the host clubs of Tokyo's Kabuki-chō red-light district, ambitious young
men seek their fortunes by selling love, romance, companionship, and
sometimes sex to female consumers for exorbitant sums of money. Staged
Seduction reveals a world where all intimacies and feigned feelings are
fair game for the hosts who employ feathered bangs, polished nails, fine
European suits, and the sensitivity of the finest salesmen to create a
fantasy for wealthy women seeking an escape from the everyday. Akiko
Takeyama's investigation of this beguiling underground "love business"
provides an intimate window into Japanese host clubs and the lives of
hosts, clients, club owners, and managers. The club is a place where
fantasies are pursued and the art of seduction isn't merely about romance;
a complex set of transactions emerges. Like a casino of love, the host club
is a site of desperation, aspiration, and hope, in which both hosts and
clients are eager to roll the dice. Takeyama reveals the aspirational mode
not only of the host club, but also of a Japanese society built on the
commercialization of aspiration, seducing its citizens out of the present
and into a future where hopes and dreams are imaginable—and billions of
dollars can be made.

Akiko Takeyama is an associate professor of Anthropology and Women, Gender,
and Sexuality Studies at the University of Kansas. Her research interests
lie in changing gender, sexuality, and class dynamics in contemporary
Japan. Her first book, Staged Seduction: Selling Dreams in a Tokyo Host
Club, (2016 Stanford University Press) theorizes the commercialization of
feelings, emotions, and intimate relationships among socially marginalized
population —the youth and women— in Japan’s service-centered economy. Her
second book project, tentatively entitled “Possessive Individualism in the
Age of Postfeminism and Neoliberalism through the Lens of Japan's Adult
Video Industry,” will explore human affect ―hope, fear, and a sense of
vulnerability― in the analysis of 21st century capitalism, complicating
such legal categories as human rights and individual consent especially
when sexual and economic exploitation are carried out in the name of
individual choice.

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