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Geisha, Harlot, Strangler, Star : A Woman, Sex, and Morality in Modern Japan - William Johnston

Geisha, Harlot, Strangler, Star

A Woman, Sex, and Morality in Modern Japan

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In May 1936, Abe Sada committed the most notorious crime in twentieth-century Japan -- the murder and emasculation of her lover. What made her do it? And why was she found guilty of murder yet sentenced to only six years in prison? Why have this woman and her crime remained so famous for so long, and what does her fame have to say about attitudes toward sex and sexuality in modern Japan?

Despite Abe Sada's notoriety and the depictions of her in film and fiction (notably in the classic "In the Realm of the Senses"), until now, there have been no books written in English that examine her life and the forces that pushed her to commit the crime. Along with a detailed account of Sada's personal history, the events leading up to the murder, and its aftermath, this book contains transcripts of the police interrogations after her arrest -- one of the few existing first-person records of a woman who worked in the Japanese sex industry during the 1920s and 1930s -- as well as a memoir by the judge and police records.

"Geisha, Harlot, Strangler, Star" steps beyond the simplistic view of Abe Sada as a sexual deviate or hysterical woman to reveal a survivor of rape, a career as a geisha and a prostitute, and a prison sentence for murder. Sada endured discrimination and hounding by paparazzi until her disappearance in 1970. Her story illustrates a historical collision of social and sexual values -- those of the samurai class and imported from Victorian Europe against those of urban and rural Japanese peasants.

"valuable introduction and prolog alert readers to the culturally and historically relative nature of gender roles, love, and sex...Recommended" -- Library Journal "A smart, compelling examination...This well-researched, scholarly work is a service to women's studies as well as Asian cultural history." -- Whitney Scott, Booklist "An important book about a fascinating topic... magnificently salacious... Johnston's account is succinct and compelling." -- Ronald P. Loftus, Journal of Asian Studies "Johnston's ground-breaking study will satisfy a wide spectrum of readers." -- Valerie Durham, Monumenta Nipponica, 61:2 "...a gripping contribution to stories woven about Abe Sada over the twentieth century and her attempt to tell her own story through testimony." -- Christine Marran, University of Minnesota, Journal of Japanese Studies "If only all history books were this much fun to read."

PrefaceIntroductionPrologue: A Murder Grips the Nation1. An Unremarkable Family History2. Early Childhood3. Maidens or Harlots Only4. Geisha and Prostitutes5. Acquaintance Rape6. Acting Up7. Becoming Professional8. Changing Saddles9. Legal Prostitution and Escape10. From Prostitute on the Lam to Mistress11. A Search for Stability12. Discovering Love13. Loveis Intoxication14. Murder15. No Longer Private16. Interrogation and Investigation17. Judgment18. Imprisonment and Release19. Celebrity, Hardship, and EscapeEpilogue: A Trail of Re-creationsNotes from the Police Interrogation of Abe SadaEndnotesBibliographyIndex

ISBN: 9780231130523
ISBN-10: 023113052X
Series: Asia Perspectives: History, Society, and Culture
Audience: Professional
For Ages: 22+ years old
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 272
Published: 10th November 2004
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 20.3 x 15.2  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.42