#88 = Volume 29, Part 3 = November 2002
Space, Body, and Aliens in Japanese Women’s Science Fiction
Translated by Miri Nakamura
What were the circumstances that led to the discovery of femininity (joseisei) by women?1 The 1970s science fiction boom in Japan has been perceived to be a result of the importation and complete assimilation of Western science fiction. If so, can we also attribute the birth of women’s science fiction to the worldwide women’s liberation movement that accompanied the counter-culture movement in the late 1960s? The emergence of Japanese women’s sf would then coincide with the rise of Western feminist sf. But unlike its foreign counterpart, Japanese women’s sf is not governed by a strictly political agenda. In fact, it is difficult or impossible to find Japanese science fiction that propagandizes for feminism.
One reason for this is that the mass media in Japan project a distorted image of feminism as an obscene mode of thought imported from the outside. Most of these images are not anti-women; rather, they are anti-feminist. They can be divided into two markedly opposed images of feminism: feminism as an intellectual discipline that is the purview of ivory-tower scholars and feminism as a movement led by non-intellectual, emotional, and uncontrollable activists. This, of course, does not mean that women are completely ignorant of social issues such as women’s independence and security. There are many women who claim that they dislike feminism but unwittingly deploy avidly feminist rhetoric, and this is the case for most Japanese female sf writers.
During the period of the Women’s Liberation Movement, when Suzuki Izumi dominated the sf literary milieu, feminist separatism was translated into narratives of “feminist utopias.” These narratives, however, did not merely support feminist separatism; on the contrary, they revealed a certain ambivalence about it. Since that time, rather than creating a separate isolated space for itself, Japanese women’s writing has sought to build a network to expand its space. The literary space has served as a safety zone where female writers can ensure their positions within the network. Hikawa Reiko, Matsuo Yumi, and Arai Motoko belong to this group of women writers. Through Japanese “shôjo comics” (shôjo manga),2 “shôjo novels” (shôjo shôsetsu), and “ladies’ comics” (reidiizu komikkusu)—spaces dominated by adolescent girls, expectant mothers, and women and children in general—most of these authors manipulate the stereotypical images constructed by patriarchal ideologies. They find a place within these stereotypes of femininity where male presence is prohibited, and they continually seek out and collect these cultural spheres.
In Western and Japanese science fiction by male writers, ideals of femininity are perhaps most easily observed in violent narratives of combat. In male sf, the female sphere (gynesis) is manifested in fierce images of monsters. In these texts, attacking such monsters is an attempt to control female sexuality and to prescribe the limits of femininity. These Japanese male sf writers strive to control gynesis by marking the female as Other. In contrast, monsters depicted by female writers, in works such as Hagio Moto’s “shôjo comic” Stâ Reddo (1978-79, Star Red) or Yamao Yûko’s fantastic novels, possess romantic elements mixed with monstrousness. In addition, many of these narratives fabricate reasons to allow monsters to survive.
Many of these female writers also portray images of mothers as monsters. In Ono Fuyumi’s Tôkyô ibun (1994, Strange Tales of Tokyo) and Shôno Yoriko’s Haha no hattatsu (1995, The Development of My Mother), “the mother” becomes a monstrous creation deity. She is situated at the center of the household and must try to create her own world while being forced to be an integral part of “the house” (in Japanese, ie).3 These works investigate the claustrophobic spatiality of their constructed worlds. Many stories suggest this is a reflection of deep-seated grudges held by actual Japanese mothers. Whereas male depictions of “the mother” evince romantic sentiments and nostalgia for the home, female writers tend to focus on vivid mother-daughter conflicts. For example, in Ôhara Mariko’s “Haiburiddo Chairudo” (1984, “Hybrid Child”), the daughter tries to escape from her “house” (i.e., “mother”), thus instigating a bitter conflict. “The mother,” as both a creation deity who rules her household and a monster who causes its downfall, is a ubiquitous theme. The notion of “the house” as a claustrophobic space has become so firmly embedded in the Japanese world-view that the body images of sons and daughters have altered in order to conform with it.
These changes are especially evident for male bodies depicted by female writers, as adolescent male bodies are usually idealized images. This idealization can be seen in situations where male figures become the objects of romantic affairs. The alteration of male bodies can be understood as the desire of women to appropriate the idealized masculine images constructed by male-centered ideologies for themselves. Altered male images appear in romance novels as individuals dressed in male clothing but who embody feminine beauty, and in soap operas (ren’ai dorama) in the form of male-male relationships. It is likely that these kinds of altered male images appear in numerous works of female science fiction because fantastic narratives wherein humans undergo strange transformations are common in the world of sf. So-called “slash fiction” by foreign female writers also deploys similar narratives. These trends undoubtedly owe much to the fact that, in the market for women’s sf, texts such as “shôjo comics” and “shôjo novels” are all targeted at female consumers and establish a female-oriented consumer code.
The theories will be discussed in more detail below.
A. The Utopia of Women
1. The Female Nation: Suzuki Izumi’s “Onna to onna no yo no naka” (1977, “The World of Women and Women”).
In the history of English-language literature, sf of the 1970s is often associated with the rise of second-wave feminism. Both among new authors and active older writers, the number of women dramatically increased. A case in point is the November 1975 issue of the Japanese journal SF magajin (SF Magazine) which was titled “Joryû sakka tokushû!” (“Special Issue on Female Writers!”). Pamela Sargent’s renowned critical essay “Women and Science Fiction” (1975) opened the issue, followed by translations of exemplary works by female sf writers such as Ursula K. Le Guin, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Carol Emshwiller, and Zenna Henderson. Even more interesting, however, is that two new Japanese writers were introduced as counterparts to these well-known Western writers. One of them was Yamao Yûko, whose story “Kamen butôkai” (1975, “Masquerade”) was a finalist for the Hayakawa SF Prize. The other was Suzuki Izumi, author of “Majo minarai” (1975, “The Witch’s Apprentice”).
Two years later, Kisô tengai (Unusual Ideas from the Sky), then Japan’s second largest commercial sf journal, published works by Fujimoto Izumi, Koizumi Kimiko, and Nishida Isei in its March 1977 issue, entitled “Joryû sakka SF tokushû gô” (“special Issue of female sf writers”). Suzuki Izumi’s “Wasureta” (“Forgot”) also appeared in this issue. Diplomatic conflicts between Earth and an outer planet named Miiru set the scene for this story, and the tale revolves around romances between aliens. It also recounts, on the one hand, power games deployed by imperialist nations against each other and, on the other, various aspects of alien ecology. The text is deeply rooted in the counter- culture movement and its opposition to authoritarianism. It also has elements of “drug literature,” along with science-fictional and feminist elements. In retrospect, the text had much in common with the works of the British writer Naomi Mitchison and the American writer Marge Piercy, whose works dealt with sexism and ethnicity and who attracted much attention in the 1970s. Suzuki’s work shares some of their themes and has a certain innovative flair.
When she first made an appearance in Kisô tengai’s special issue, Suzuki also participated in an interview, “SF-otoko to onna” (“SF—Men and Women”), with sf writer Mayumura Taku. When asked what drove her to become an sf writer, Suzuki explained that when she was pregnant, her debut work “The Witch’s Apprentice” was unexpectedly published in SF Magazine and from that time she began to write short stories for that magazine. In other words, Suzuki did not consider herself a pure sf writer from the beginning; her writing style just happened to fall into that category.
Suzuki’s texts defamiliarize the real world in order to free the “joseisei” bound hand and foot by the power structure of the real world. Her works disintegrate the power structure that produces marginalization with phrases like “only for women” or “because she is a woman.” It is only through this process that one can begin to think about what constitutes “femininity.” By working from an anti-authoritarian point of view and creating highly realistic and trenchant science fiction, her works make readers reflect upon these issues. This, precisely, is Suzuki Izumi’s own unique narrative method.
Suzuki Izumi’s “Onna to onna no yononaka” (1977, “The World of Women and Women”) calls to mind the series of utopian writings produced by 1970s Western feminist writers. The story takes place in a near future, in which fuel and food are about to be exhausted, and where all the main characters are women. Men are confined to a “ghetto” called the “Special Residence Zone” where they must spend their entire lives. One day, the protagonist, Yûko, looking from her window, spots a boy walking down the street. She cannot get him out of her mind and when he walks by her window again, she sends him a message. Sneaking out of the house, she heads over to the boy’s hiding place. The entire time, Yûko experiences a strange feeling toward the boy. Eventually, however, the boy is taken back to a detention house and Yûko is told that men must be detained because they are really dangerous and violent beasts. She then realizes that the world that she lives in is “The World of Women and Women” and that this is just the way life is. In the next moment, however, she feels frightened and senses that, because she is now “someone who knows” male sexuality, “an unforeseen event will take place some day.”
During the heyday of the Women’s Liberation Movement in the 1970s, numerous texts treated the issue of separatism. Suzuki quarantined males who are wont to destroy the world and depicted women who live peacefully among themselves. At the same time, however, there is a sense that something is missing from this picture. The disconnection between the worlds of men and women causes an internal conflict within the character Yûko, as the text raises the question of how men and women can live together. Ultimately, however, it surrenders to the current state of affairs, wherein coexistence with men only signifies oppression.
What contributes to the imagining of female worlds? For one thing, these worlds depict the limitations of heterosexual love, an idea that was emphasized in the women’s liberation movement. Every society built upon heterosexual relations oppresses women, and as a reaction against this violence, a world of homosexuality is envisioned. This is one of the ironic constructions of feminist utopias. For Suzuki, however, separatism produces both a sense of comfort and a simultaneous sense of lack. What reigns in “The World of Women and Women” is the sensation experienced by Yûko, the sensation of being pulled apart between two conflicting spaces—the land of women and the land of men.
Born in 1949, Suzuki dropped out of high school, ran away from home, and worked as a nude model and a porn star under the alias Senkô Naomi before becoming a writer. She married the great saxophone player Abe Kaoru, who later died of a drug overdose. She also modeled for her own photography collection called Shishôsetsu (1986, The I-Novel), produced by the famous photographer of nudes Araki Nobuyoshi. In Araki’s words, Suzuki was “the woman of the era,” highly sensitive to the current events of her time. In her works she depicted the shallowness of Japan’s consumer society in the 1980s. As if to exemplify the transience of everyday life, she committed suicide in 1986. She had used drugs as a way of escaping the suffering of real life, and her works, like much drug literature, always aimed to expose the world as a fabrication founded on just one power structure. Her texts always displayed a mixture of sharp stimulation by and numbness toward real life. The cheerful sadness that appears at these moments of departure or escape from the world can only be described as a kind of transparent irony.
It is not an overstatement to say that the age of women’s sf—wherein women discover and reconstruct femininity—began with Suzuki Izumi, who lived through her science fiction.
2. Women Warriors: Hikawa Reiko’s Onna senshi Efera & Jiriora (1989-, The Women Warriors Efera and Jiriora).
The attempt to hold onto heterosexual relations with men while having homosexual relationships with women—a theme we saw in Suzuki’s “The World of Women and Women”—is deeply embedded in the genre of women’s sf.
Women in these texts seek deep spiritual relationships with other women while living in a system constrained by the rules of a heterosexual society that expects them to marry and to take on the responsibilities of pregnancy, childbirth, and running a household. This is not unusual even in real life. While men in Japan disappear into their male space—a work space marked by politics and economics—women create a space designed solely for their own pleasures. They share the same fashions and food, along with other interests like tea ceremonies and flower arrangements. They engage in endless conversations, go to the theater, and discuss their opinions about plays and films. They strive to have their own creative space. If Suzuki Izumi chose to investigate the artificiality of a separatist all-female nation, one could say that Hikawa Reiko chose to depict a more realistic female space that exposes the blind spots that emerge from time to time within the patriarchal system.
Born in 1958, Hikawa Reiko was the first amateur to write for Rôrariasu (Rorarius), a fan club dedicated to fantasy and heroic fantasy, and she is a major figure in sf fandom. She became a professional writer in 1989 and has since produced numerous bestsellers that have sold a total of some two million copies. During the 1970s, Japan saw a boom in translations of works of fantasy and heroic fantasy, such as J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings (1954-55) and popular Weird Tales series of the 1930s like Robert E. Howard’s Conan and C.L. Moore’s Jirel of Joiry. Hikawa read these works religiously when she was in her teens. She was especially taken by Jane Gaskell’s The Atlan Saga (1966), and she began writing heroic fantasies in which the protagonists were women who lived in imaginary lands. These eventually turned into the Efera and Jiriora series.
Hikawa’s saga takes place in Haraama, where two moons, Oliga and Zelk, shine on the land. In the distant past, there was a battle between the old gods and the Zelk gods, the bearers of good, and as a result of their magic, Haraama was born. Emperor Okaresk brought order to the land, uniting Haraama and forging an empire. The descendants of Okaresk and his imperial house have, however, ruled too long. Their power is weakening, and once again, chaos is about to descend upon the land. The main plot involves two characters, Jiriora (“a runaway girl” and the sole heiress of the powerful imperial family of Muaaru) and Efera (“a dropout sorceress” who was accepted into the sorcerers’ guild but was expelled because of her lack of power). They join forces, and together they become mercenaries and live out their own lives. At the beginning of the series, the two are only in their teens. They go through numerous wars, fall in love, and even have children. By the end of the series, they have turned into two extraordinary adults. The final volume focuses on the peculiar relationship between the two women as “mother mercenaries”; they lead around a group of biological and adopted offspring. The series stands out as a unique contribution to the subgenre of “woman warrior” stories found within sf and fantasy. There is also a spin-off of the saga, in which one of the children is kidnapped and the mothers must save him. In these stories, the friendship between the two women takes precedence over relationships with their husbands and their children. The two never share a sexual relationship, however; they are more like sisters who will risk even their own lives in order to save one another.
Hikawa endeavors to create a space occupied by women and children, a world where mothers brandish swords in order to protect their space. Even when men appear as their companions, they barely leave a mark, either dying or departing on journeys. In these tales, societies and world-views may fundamentally favor men, whose powers remain strong. Yet the existence of men casts only a faint shadow over the fictional world inhabited by Hikawa’s women and children, which is intense and boundless by contrast. Bright, wild, and quite appealing, the isolated women’s space that Hikawa captures exists in the midst of a male-centered world.
3. Pregnant Women: Matsuo Yumi’s Barûn taun no satsujin (1994, The Murders of Balloon Town).
Without a doubt, modern Japan is largely governed by androcentric and patriarchal systems. The female space that Suzuki Izumi envisioned, however, is not far from reality. In fact, works that create the kind of world that Hikawa revealed in her Efera and Jiriora series, in which the female space occupies a marginal blind spot in society, are not at all rare. In these works, female spaces are captured as territories that can only appear from time to time, and these images have become important cultural icons.
Matsuo Yumi was born in 1961 in Kanazawa. She was a member of the science fiction research group at Ochanomizu University. Her first and most representative work, Barûn taun no satsujin (1994, The Murders of Balloon Town), won her the Hayakawa SF Prize. In it, we find a space occupied by expectant mothers. In a near-future society where artificial uteruses are common, women who still yearn for natural childbirth establish a town specifically designed for that purpose: Balloon Town, located in the seventh special protected district of Tokyo. Like expatriates living in a foreign enclave, the pregnant women enjoy happy and fulfilling lives. Their peace is disrupted, however, by a series of murders that takes place within the town and, to make matters worse, a witness suggests that the murderer is one of the pregnant women. Through statements such as “Pregnant women can commit murders, too; they are human beings after all” (40), the text deconstructs stereotypes. The mystery, of course, can only be solved by a pregnant woman, for the cultural codes in the town constructed by the pregnant bodies are too different from those of the normal world. Thus, the world’s first pregnant detective is born. She describes the culture of pregnant women like an anthropologist and then solves the mystery. She even reveals her own reasons for choosing natural childbirth.
The text is informed by many kinds of narrative construction. It both parodies John Varley’s “The Barbie Murders?” (1980) and borrows from conventional detective fiction writers such as Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle. Using these methods, the text examines the futuristic town of pregnant women, making the reader realize how invisible “the culture of pregnant women”—the culture of the “invisible Other”—really is in modern society.
The novel aspect of The Murders of Balloon Town is that “the culture of childbirth” (shussan bunka) is envisioned as a form of utopianism. Balloon Town represents a female world dominated by pregnant women—bodies that truly embody the phrase “only for women” (josei nara dewa no). The “culture of childbirth” is conventionally a world shaped and protected by the regulations of male-dominated patriarchal society. It is a female world quarantined from the ordinary world. This culture exposes society’s desire to isolate bodies undergoing transformations (pregnant bodies) and it represents society’s aversion toward the female body. In the words of Japanese feminist scholar Ogura Chikako: “If men want to completely possess women, they can only do so by getting women pregnant. However, once women become pregnant, they lose their feminine beauty (the beauty constructed and idealized by the male sex)” (24-27). In Matsuo’s novel, although women live in a world where reproductive technology has freed them from being “the sex that gives birth,” some women still head for Balloon Town and insist on carrying out natural childbirth. They embrace the transformation of their bodies and reject the concept of “beauty” imposed on them by male-dominated society. The text thus succeeds in envisioning “a solidarity of women” that is highly radical. Because of recent developments in reproductive technologies, the irony here is palpable. Instead of “quarantining” pregnant women as in real life, the text twists reality and creates a utopia marked by lesbian separatism, wherein heterosexual love is no longer possible and the only bonds are those between women. Of course, just as in Hikawa’s case, these bonds are not those of homosexual relationships. They are merely signified by the non-physical spiritual friendships between the women.
4. Teenage Girls: Arai Motoko’s Chigrusu to Yûfuratesu (1999, Tigris and Euphrates).
The Murders of Balloon Town is set in a temporary space where women can stay for only a fixed period of time. The pregnant women all share similar circumstances and construct their own female space and their “pregnancy culture.” Once the childbirths are over, however, they must leave that world. In contrast to this, there is another space similar to that of pregnant women, a culture created through shared female experiences and shared fantasies. It is a cultural space that is constantly evoked in the way women live—that of the shôjo (teenage girl).
Like “pregnant women,” shôjo, too, is a concept that belongs to “the female culture” imagined by patriarchal society. Shôjo connotes someone who is neither an adult nor married. She represents the time in a woman’s life before she must succumb to the “woman’s role” assigned to her by the patriarchal system. Within the system, adolescent girls are placed in compounds separate from adult women, mainly in protected spaces like schools. Whereas adult women are constantly restricted by their roles as wives and mothers, adolescence is an independent and more pleasant time for girls. As long as women live in economic stability, they do not have to graduate from shôjo status, and even after they have become “women” or “mothers,” they can still hold on to their “shôjo interests” (shôjo shumi). Although separated from the real world, these spaces constructed by women’s shared interests in shôjo continue to exist.
Arai Motoko is the representative writer of this “shôjo culture.” This phenomenon was born out of the postwar era during which Japan experienced rapid economic growth. It was a golden era marked by the rise of “the 100-million-strong middle class” (ichioku sôchûryû)—a middle-class consciousness supposedly shared by all 100 million Japanese citizens. No other author discussed here has a stronger connection to the shôjo phenomenon than Arai.
Born in 1960 in Tokyo, Arai Motoko entered the first Kisô tengai (Unusual Ideas from the Sky) Competition for New Writers at age 16, when she was only a sophomore at the Metropolitan High School of Igusa. Her novella Atashi no naka no... (1978, Inside Myself...) received high praise from sf legend Hoshi Shin’ichi, one of the contest judges, and was given an honorable mention. Her work was chosen from among 1,268 entries, making her the first ever high-school-aged sf writer. When Arai was eighteen, Inside Myself ... was published in paperback. Later, while studying in the German Literature Department of Rikkyô University, she won both the twelfth and thirteenth Seiun Award for her short stories “Grîn rekuiemu” (1981, “Green Requiem”) and “Nepchûn” (1981, “Neptune”).4 By the time she graduated from college she had published eight books and was already well-established as a “shôjo writer.”
What made Arai’s science fiction shocking was her writing style. Inside Myself ..., for example, is written completely in the vernacular of teenage girls, a revolutionary concept. This garnered both praise and criticism at the time of the novel’s publication. Since then, this style of speech has spread to various groups of people and has influenced the language of “shôjo comics” and “young adult novels” (yangu adaruto shôsetsu). Yoshimoto Banana, for example, is one author who has inherited Arai’s style of writing. Today, with the development of the Internet, the development of writing styles equivalent to speech (genbun’itchi) has further accelerated, giving birth to unique linguistic forms. Arai seems almost to have anticipated this phenomenon. There are two main characteristics of Arai’s science fiction: her style derived from natural speech, and her own feminist theory disseminated through the merging of “shôjo culture” with an sf imagination. The culmination of this unique style can be found in her thirtieth work, Chigurisu to Yûfuratesu (1999, Tigris and Euphrates), the winner of the twentieth Grand Prize for Japanese SF.
The story of Tigris and Euphrates concerns the mysterious destruction of a prosperous planet that has been colonized by humans. Only one person remains in the aftermath—a woman named Luna, who, because of her lack of education and unusual circumstances, has retained her “shôjo nature” (shôjo sei) even in old age. She resuscitates women who have been cryogenically frozen and asks each of them: “What are the differences between being a woman and being an adolescent girl? Why can’t we all remain as adolescent girls? Why did you give birth to me in the first place?” The women who had lived as second-class citizens in a male society, playing their assigned roles as either “women,” shôjo, “mothers,” or “goddesses,” wake up on a dying planet and must face the meaning of being a woman. In an apocalyptic situation where men no longer exist, issues of “the female space,” women’s values, and women’s world-views come into question. From this perspective, the novel re-examines issues that concern all human beings—environmental problems, women’s issues, and ageism. The essential concern, however, is where exactly shôjo are situated within Japan’s cultural sphere.
Cultural critic Miura Masashi has suggested that in modern society, where gender differences are disappearing, the problem that arises when one tries to understand “women” (josei) has nothing to do with the cultural codes for “mothers” or “women,” but everything to do with the codes of shôjo. Shôjo was an imaginary construct of the dominant discourse of late capitalist society. The phenomenon gave rise to its own “shôjo aesthetics” (shôjo bigaku) that bars the intrusion of men. What underlies Arai Motoko’s science fiction is a fantasy of shôjo: figures who, in spite of being part of the mechanism constructed by dominant discourses, have managed to run their own course. They threaten to implode the world surrounding them, and their presence may even be called monstrous.
B. The Transformation of Women into Monsters
For female science fiction that investigates the elements of femininity, “the monster” as a metaphor for women becomes an important issue. Why is it that this transformation of women into monsters is such a common occurrence within the genre? One possible explanation is that women who resist the patriarchal system are often viewed as monsters. If so, what do these images of monsters signify for women themselves?
The metaphor of monsters is certainly a literary tool through which women can defy society and express their frustrations. At the same time, it is perhaps a symbol of their cry for reform and may stand for their grief that they often have no other choice but to turn into monsters.
These monster metaphors can be divided into two types. The first is the representation of monsters as something feminine, or gynesis (gaineeshisu). The other is the embodiment of the notion of “the mother.”
1. Psychic Powers: Hagio Moto’s Stâ Reddo (1978-79, Star Red).
Star Red is a classic work of “shôjo comic” that attracted many sf fans because of its topic—an individual with psychic powers. The author, Hagio Moto, was born in 1949 in Fukuoka prefecture. Her first work was “Ruru to Mimi” (“Lulu and Mimi”), published in 1969. Ever since, she has dominated the world of shôjo comics with her poetic language and beautiful artwork. An exceptional writer, Hagio has elevated the philosophical and artistic level of the genre. She has written numerous works of science fiction, and Star Red stands out as one of her best. The monster that appears here is a teenage girl with uncontainable psychic powers. Her name is Red Star (or “Red Sei” in Japanese, with her surname “Sei” written using the character for star). On the outside, she is beautiful and brave, but because of her powers, she is dubbed a monster, bullied, and even hunted. She must hide her real Martian identity. By day, she is an obedient daughter who attends a “ladies’ school”; by night, she is the aggressive leader of a motorcycle gang.
Red Sei is aware of her alien nature, but instead of living in the shadows, she asserts her raison d’être. Unfortunately, because of the superpowers that make her character so intense, Sei finds herself in tight corners, and in the second half of the text, she is reduced to a shadow existence. Her psychic powers are a conduit for oppressed female sexuality and the expression of anger. The more her anger becomes public, however, the more she is hunted. In the story, Sei, who is persecuted for her monstrous powers, vanishes from the real world before the tale ends. Of course, her disappearance is mysterious. Although she vanishes into a fantastic space for a while, she will later find herself in the womb of a beautiful boy who has undergone a sex change in order to become Sei’s mother. Thus, Sei will be born again in the body of an infant and will return to the real world.
What is compelling here is Sei’s psychic power. Post-1950s American sf treated psychic powers such as telepathy, teleportation, and telekinesis as part of “human evolution” or deployed them as literary tools for capturing human conflicts. In those texts, psychic powers were viewed as a gift from heaven or something almost magical. Star Red, in contrast, deconstructs such psychic powers. Take Sei’s gaze, for example. According to Earth’s certified ESP members, Sei is blind. But though her eyes are not looking at anything, her visual perception can see things from different angles. Sei then does not develop her sensory perceptions by looking at everyday scenes; she is an alien who receives her extraordinary powers from observing alien landscapes.
In contemporary gender theory, the gaze is often tied to the male subject. In a similar manner, we can surmise that Sei’s alien perception is linked to a female perspective.
The text marks psychic powers as female, and the virtuosity of Hagio’s thought lies in the fact that the text is able to situate these powers as rational. The narrative begins by exploring the female body but goes on to investigate the constructions of worlds that govern the universe. The universe in the text is divided into two groups: the solar system Zesnuser comprises logical people who govern the real world, and the collective Ami comprises those, such as psychics, who do not fit the mold of Zesnuser: it stands for a conglomeration of illogical thoughts such as dreams, the unconscious, and insanity. We can designate the former as masculine and the latter as feminine. The Zesnusers label Sei as part of the Ami and kill her. Sei only loses her body, though, and still survives as a consciousness, floating into the network of the collective that the Ami has spread out behind the galactic system. The Ami, however, rejects Sei as well, and she has no choice but to be reborn as a child in the real world. If we read the two races as representative of the kind of world-view governed by the Western binary opposition of male/female, Red Sei is an alien rejected by both these categories. Although this Western binary opposition underlies the text and although Sei’s supernatural powers develop within its sphere, Sei’s powers can be understood as a reflection of the mentality of Japanese women, who feel ill at ease in a world that equates gynesis with the concept of “women” as constructed by the Western world.
2. Freaks: Yamao Yûko’s Yume no sumu machi (1976, The City Where Dreams Live).
Around the same time that Hagio Moto was rendering the conflict between gynesis and the femininity of Japanese women, fantastic literature writer Yamao Yûko was also exploring the same topic in her Mannerism-influenced fantasy work Yume no sumu machi (1976, The City Where Dreams Live).
Yamao Yûko was born in 1955 in Okayama prefecture. In 1973, the year that she began her studies at Dôshisha University, she entered the Hayakawa SF Contest with her earliest work, Kamen butôkai (The Masquerade). The work reached the final round, and she quickly came to be regarded as a unique fantasy writer. Since 1982, however, her output has dwindled, partly because of the discontinuation of the journal Kisô tengai, where Yamao published most of her works. After getting married and having children, Yamao left the literary milieu for a while, but she resumed writing in 1999.
The storyline of Red Sei, a girl with psychic powers who travels across dimensions, is reworked in The City Where Dreams Live. This time, the text focuses on the freakishness of the female body and narrates the fall of a city that celebrates this freakishness.
The City Where Dreams Live is a ten-chapter novella published in a collection of the same name. It takes place in a town laid out in a funnel-shaped depression, at the center (or bottom) of which sits a theater. The town is ruled by a mysterious being referred to as “that person.” Until the evening before the work opens, a troupe of dancers going by the name of The Rose-Colored Legs was performing in the theater, but now the dancers are all dead, and the theater must be shut down. The Rose-Colored Legs dancers are freaks. The lower halves of their bodies, encased in silk tights, are attractive and well-proportioned. The upper halves, however, are shriveled from malnutrition and lack of exercise. We are told that these dancers are “manufactured” from prostitutes, using a secret method. They all die en masse when they dance their last dance. Their rose-colored legs can be read as fantastic images representing women of the red light districts, consumer objects designed to serve their spectators. The text goes beyond these “rose-colored legs.” Distorted images of women are scattered around the town—from angels and mermaids to gunshot victims. Images of women who are oppressed and hurt are ubiquitous. The violence of deformity inscribed onto the female bodies eventually distorts the temporal space of the entire city. On the night of the reopening of the theater, the city resting on top of the funnel falls into the abyss that opens up beneath it and disappears.
Barbara Creed has used Alice Jardine’s gynesis theory to claim that horror films that subvert themes of violence against women represent an overflow of gynesis. The city in which freakish women become spectacles only collapses when violence toward women reaches a climax. The city is then obliterated from reality and is sucked into the void.
3. Cyborgs/Hybrids: Ôhara Mariko’s “Haiburiddo chairudo” (1984, “Hybrid Child”).
Ôhara Mariko, an author devoted to examining Japanese femininity through “simulationism,” was born in 1959. She made her literary debut in the 1980 Hayakawa SF Contest. She is known for her psychoanalytic works that ceaselessly pursue family issues that can only be understood against the background of Japan’s high-tech capitalism in the 1980s. “Hybrid Child,” published in 1984 in SF Magazine, is a story about an immortal cyborg weapon, “Sample B,” which can sample and simulate any object it chooses. The story begins when it escapes from the military and goes into hiding in an occupied house. The text elegantly captures the intensity of love and conflict between a mother and daughter living in the claustrophobic space of the house. A later collection of short stories published under the same title is deeply rooted in Japan’s postmodern culture, especially in the rise of simulationism—the sampling, simulating, and remixing—that came after the high-tech era. Because the text exposes political problems surrounding the conflicts between Western and Japanese culture, it attracted the attention of many critics. In 1994, Ôhara won the fifteenth Grand prize for Japanese SF with her short sf collection Sensô o enjita kamigamitachi (Gods who Performed Wars), a feminist fabulation that deals with war, money, sado-masochism, and women.
The hybrid child that Ôhara portrays is a military weapon that can take in, digest, and pretend to be anything it wishes. Because of its strong connection to technology and resemblance to Haraway’s cyborg, critics have often interpreted the figure as a reflection of Japan’s postmodern mentality. At the same time, this cyborg nature is also closely linked to the issue of femininity. Sample B, after all, not only intrudes into a house where a mother and a daughter are fighting fiercely, but it also eats the corpse of the daughter, who is killed and buried in the basement, and takes on her form.
With the simulation of the daughter by Sample B, the fighting between the mother and the daughter recommences, and the murder is eventually brought to light. The truth behind the murder cannot be revealed until the daughter turns into a monster, finally exposing the mother’s monstrous nature. How did the mother become a monster who could kill her own daughter? This mother/daughter battle calls to mind the conflict between two actual modes of living among women: one is the postmodern daughter, who survives by adapting to different situations and by transforming herself; the other is the phallic mother, who replaces the absent patriarchal authority figure by becoming one with the home and by becoming the ruler of the feminized family space. The race for survival between these two female modes—one who follows the flow of things and one who merges herself with the home—is further developed in Ôhara’s Kyûketsu-ki Efemera (1993, Ephemera the Vampire).
The monstrous female identity called “hybrid child” embodies the way of life led by postmodern women, who try to transform themselves by placing themselves in different situations. The “hybrid child,” through her confrontations, exposes the “traditional female image” of the Japanese mother, whose survival tactic is to embrace and perform the same role over and over.
4. The Mother Tongue: Shôno Yoriko’s Haha no hattatsu (1996, The Development of My Mother)
Shôno Yoriko’s The Development of My Mother is a work that attempts to analyze the Japanese mother image that we saw in Ôhara’s work from a linguistic point of view. An “avant-pop” writer who has won numerous awards, she was born in 1958 in Mie Prefecture. In 1981, she won the Gunzô New Literature Award with “Gokuraku” (“Paradise”), in 1991 the Noma New Writer Award with Nanimo shiteinai (I Haven’t Done Anything), in 1994 the Mishima Award with Nihyaku kaiki (The Two Hundredth Anniversary), and in the same year the highly prestigious Akutagawa Prize with Taimu surippu konbinaato (Timewarp Complex). The Development of My Mother was written between 1994 and 1996.
The story unfolds in three parts. The protagonist, Dakiname Yatsuno, a forty-nine year old woman living with her mother, has been suffering from a strange occurrence since the end of her adolescent days—in her eyes, her mother appears as a tiny being (“Haha no shukushô” [“The Shrinking of My Mother”]). Yatsuno eventually murders her mother. Later, however, she discovers that her mother never died completely. By eating human flesh and by undergoing decomposition and reconstruction, she has turned into a strange being called “the alphabet mother” (gojûon no haha) (“Haha no hattatsu” [“The Development of My Mother”]). Eventually, “the alphabet mother” leaps in front of Yatsuno and performs a series of somersaults in mid-air, trying to show Yatsuno “everything about her” (haha no subete). Once she sees this, Yatsuno senses her own death and confronts the reasons behind their conflicts (“Haha no daikaiten ondô” [“My Mother’s Big Somersault Recital”]).
Since the story is told in the first person, we can read the entire narrative as a record of Yatsuno’s insanity. Perhaps she has been living in her made-up world from the time that she begins to see miniature images of her mother, but what pushed Yatsuno over the edge of insanity? The “mother” is definitely at the heart of it, and there is also the deep grudge between mother and daughter. This grudge is not just ordinary hatred; it has turned into an obsession combined with love and affection. However, the dead mother and her insane daughter Yatsuno—no matter how much they insult each other and collide with one another—do help each other to a certain extent and together try to situate the word known in the world as “mother” within the Japanese syllabic system. The “alphabet mother” embodies a virtual mother figure that reflects a certain grudge-filled reality. Furthermore, she is the source of Yatsuno’s insanity, and her somersaults can be interpreted as a kind of insane dance. She draws out Yatsuno’s obsession with her mother, which is what triggered Yatsuno’s deep-seated grudge toward her in the first place: “Mother, for the rest of my life, I will live for you and die for you, so please don’t say things like ‘I want grandchildren’” (178).
From mother to daughter and from daughter to mother—the mother/daughter relationship is a continuum that has been constantly exploited by heterosexual, male-centered society. Yatsuno’s words reveal not only her rejection of her mother but also her reluctance to become a mother herself. This mother/daughter relationship completely rejects biological reproduction. It is an ironic story where a daughter is forced to become her mother, but because of this assimilation, she ends up rejecting her motherly duties in life. “The mother,” for many women, is a contradictory existence that makes them remember psychological conflicts buried in their unconscious. The text reveals this construct of “the mother” through the mode of insanity.
5. The Bride and the Mother-in-Law: Shinoda Setsuko’s Gosainthan (1997, Gosainthan).
The Japanese “mother” that Ôhara and Ono portray is one who becomes assimilated into the home and turns into a monster. The strength of the “mother” grows after assimilation, and she tries to pull down her daughter along with her. The daughter, however, tries to escape and live her own life, and thus a bloody battle commences. These battles often take place in the middle-class nuclear families of average office-workers (sarariimen) and in that sense, they are extremely modern phenomena.
Another long-established female conflict where the violent nature of “the mother” becomes apparent is the fight between the bride and the mother-in-law. In agricultural and merchant families, two groups deeply embedded in patriarchal codes, the bride must enter her husband’s household. In these families, it is common for the bride and the mother-in-law to quarrel over who will have supremacy within the house. Shinoda Setsuko’s Gosainthan is a story about a bride who becomes a monster in just such an oppressive environment.
The protagonist Yugi Terukazu is a single farmer in his late 30s. Under pressure from his mother Shizue, who wants him to find a wife at once and have children, Yugi arranges a marriage with a non-Japanese woman. Karvana Tami, his Nepalese wife, may look “Japanese” on the outside, but she cannot speak a word of the language. She is a heroine whose speech has been taken away. Shizue takes a liking to her, and listening to his mother’s advice, Yugi forces Karvana to undergo a humiliating medical exam, pays off the intermediaries with a large sum, and takes her in as his bride.
Karvana Tami is given the Japanese name “Toshiko” and she begins her life as a farmer’s wife, but she has difficulties learning the language and getting accustomed to Japanese food. She runs away from home constantly, as if under a spell like a sleepwalker. In the beginning, the tale is framed as a “captivity narrative,” wherein a young, foreign woman is trapped in the Japanese household. For the Japanese family, Karvana is an all-important wife and daughter, but to the woman herself, she is a slave forced to become a Japanese wife.
This storyline is similar to American post-colonial literature. One example that comes to mind is Paul Park’s sf epic Celestis (1995). Park, too, depicts a tragic love between a man from earth and the native bride he weds on a colonized planet; she has been operated on and brainwashed using high-tech methods to turn her into a “wife.” Gosainthan is a story about a sacred maiden (miko) from a foreign land who is forced to become the wife of a typical Japanese farmer, an injustice that will later give rise to supernatural phenomena. Gosainthan’s alien (the foreign woman) resists her fate, thereby bringing about disastrous consequences for the Japanese man’s family.
Gosainthan also openly exposes Japan’s stance toward Nepal. One detects a double Orientalism that takes place within the space of Asia, which often finds itself under the heel of international capitalism.
This Orientalism is illustrated by the relationship between Terukazu and Toshiko. Toshiko, a silent woman who can float in the air, becomes a mysterious, sacred woman in Terukazu’s mind. At one point Terukazu gets upset at Toshiko for giving away his family’s money to followers who worship Toshiko as a sacred being. When a cult eventually forms around Toshiko, Terukazu’s household falls apart and Terukazu is left with nothing. Amidst all this chaos, moreover, Toshiko disappears. Even under these circumstances, Terukazu saves up his money, leaves home, and pursues Toshiko, who has been deported, into the heart of Nepal. Why is he so obsessed with Toshiko? The narrative is about a Japanese man who has lost all that constitutes his status—his house, his wealth, and his land. Watching his possessions slip away, Terukazu finally comes to see the hideous, true nature of the family, which can only uphold its tradition as a “distinguished house” by exploiting those outside it. He must face the matriarchal history of the women who marry into his household, such as his grandmother and his mother. He must confront the fact that these women have lived like slaves from other Asian countries. Does this mean that his love for Karvana is laced with guilt? Not quite. What we can see in Terukazu is not guilt, but rather an admiration for a mystifying object called Karvana. This Orientalist fantasy about an unknown land appears from time to time throughout the text.
When Terukazu pursues Karvana and visits her country, however, he realizes how poor her homeland really is. Karvana is not a mysterious and grandiose sacred maiden, nor is she a powerful goddess; she is an ill-fated woman who, if she had remained in her land, would only have died of disease as a prostitute or, even if she had married into a rich family, would have lived a sad life because she lacked a dowry. What Terukazu encounters is a paradox: women like Karvana can only be saved by a system like slavery. If Japanese men wed these women and save them from their sad fates, the women become slaves; but if they are not saved, these women have to live even sadder lives. The text thus captures the humiliating circumstances in which women must live—their inescapable, wretched fates. Terukazu comes to accept these facts, and this time, he is the one who tries to blend in with Nepalese culture.
The brides who are entrapped in the household are made into monsters by their mothers-in-law. These women separate the “Japanese men” from their households and seek the alteration of their masculinities. In this sense, this work can be seen as one that reexamines the true nature of romance—both that of the more traditional historical romances (denki monogatari) and that of love stories (ren’ai monogatari)—vis-à-vis its relationship to masculinity (danseisei).
The author Shinoda was born in 1955 in Tokyo. She won the Shôsetsu Subaru (The Pleiades) New Writer Award in 1990 with Kinu no henyô (The Transformation of Silk), a panic horror story written in detailed, artistic style about an egg that becomes a monster. Since then, she has experimented with “slipstream literature” (kyôkai shôsetsu) and in 1997 Futaba-sha finally published her Gosainthan. It is a splendid and complex work that combines elements from several different genres, and it won her the tenth annual YAMAMOTO Shûgorô Prize. In July of the same year, Onnatachi no jihâdo (The Women’s Jihad) earned the 117th Naoki Prize, perhaps the most prestigious prize for new writers of popular fiction.
C. The Alteration of Masculinity
As I mentioned in the preceding section, the images of women transforming into monsters are strongly linked to the alteration of masculinity. What kind of alterations can we observe in the imagination of women’s science fiction?
1. Half Man/Half Beast: Kurimoto Kaoru’s Guin saga (1979-, The Guin Saga).
When we think of writers who constantly depict altered male bodies in Japanese women’s sf, Kurimoto Kaoru’s name comes to mind. Born in 1953, she graduated from the department of literature at Inada University. In 1977, she won the Gunzô New Writer’s Prize with a work of literary criticism called “Bungaku no rinkaku” (“The Outline of Literature”), written under the name of Nakajima Azusa. In 1978, she won the Edogawa Ranpô Prize with the epic mystery Bokutachi no jidai (Our Era), and since then, she has been active on many fronts, writing fiction, poetry, plays and criticism in the fields of sf, fantasy, horror, and mystery.
Her most celebrated work, Guin saga (1979-, The Guin Saga), is a heroic fantasy that is planned to reach one hundred volumes. The narrative begins when Linda and Remus, twin princess and prince of a kingdom that has been invaded by the country of Gola, meet a stranger during their escape, a leopard-headed man called Guin. Together with Guin, who has lost all his memories, the twins try to restore their kingdom.
The protagonist Guin is a swordsman with a leopard’s head who is half man, half beast. Why a leopard’s head? The heroes of heroic fantasies have conventionally represented the epitome of masculinity. By creating a hero who lives on the border between man and beast, the author reexamines the transcendent and deviant nature of ordinary heroic fantasy protagonists by revealing the essential instability of sexual differences and human nature.
Kurimoto, who casts these kinds of strange heroes in her heroic fantasies, is also known as the founder of a genre of female romantic fiction called “shônen romance” (shônen ai). 5
“Shônen romance” is a genre directed at a female audience that depicts male-male homosexual relationships. It may be traced back to female writers such as Mori Mari, and since the 1970s, it has been used to refer to shôjo comics of the “Shôwa 24 gang”—writers such as the aforementioned Hagio Moto and Takemiya Keiko, who were all born in the twenty-fourth year of the Shôwa era, 1949. Kurimoto Kaoru dubbed these works “shônen romances.” She wrote one “shônen romance” herself titled Mayonaka no tenshi (1979, The Angel of Midnight) and became one of the founders of the journal Jûn (June). Behind this cultural phenomenon is the fact that many female fans of television, movies, comics, and Japanese anime have taken male characters from these media and have recast their relationships with men as homosexual, something not in the original stories. These fans began writing their own comics and novels, and thus a trend of fan literature published in fanzines (dôjin shi) was born. American slash fiction also belongs to a similar underground culture, but in Japan, this phenomenon is specifically referred to as yaoi. Slash fiction’s name derives from the “/” placed between two characters’ initials. Yaoi comes from the initials of the words Yamanashi, Ochinashi, Iminashi (No Climax, No Conclusion, No Meaning), and in Japan, it has become extremely popular, mainly through the “comic market” (komiketto), a series of huge conventions at which fanzines are bought and sold. Yaoi represents what Joanna Russ has called “Pornography by women for women, with love.”
Kurimoto belongs to the generation just before the era when yaoi became a popular form of literature among female fans. As a critic, too, she has been a strong advocate of the yaoi culture. Although this culture is fundamentally based on male homosexual relationships, yaoi texts have gone beyond regular depictions of gender and have come to occupy a unique position in the female-dominated underground world in which both writers and readers are women.
Kurimoto has turned the body of the regular heroic fantasy protagonist—the flawless macho male hero—into a body that is half man and half beast. She has also attempted this type of alteration of masculinity in her “shônen romance fiction.” These works explore deep, romantic bonds between men that could only be imagined in a fantastic world, and they are not simply homosexual. These texts question how one may attain equality in relationships and to what extent this kind of intense conceptualization of deviating gender is possible. Here, the usual masculinity and sexuality are completely altered and reconstructed according to women’s romantic desires. Works that portray deviations from the real world, such as the alteration of masculinity, often appear to borrow the style of science fiction and fantasy.
2. Twins: Satô Aki’s Barutazaaru no henreki (1991, The Travels of Balthazar).
Among authors who make use of the theme of twins in order to present forms of the altered male body, Satô Aki stands out as the most representative writer. Born in 1960, she won the third Japanese Fantasy Novel Grand Prize with her debut novel Barutazaaru no henreki (1991, The Travels of Balthazar).
The novel is set in Nazi-occupied Vienna. Melchior and Balthazar are twins who occupy the same body. Living a decadent lifestyle in the occupied city, they face a twisted fate after losing all their possessions. The text, through eloquence and irony, depicts the misshapen desires of these two young men who ripen in the decadent, luscious atmosphere of the Western city.
A Japanese writer who simulates the traditions of Western culture, SATÔ Aki situates this male body with its divided consciousnesses inside the completely constructed world of her own “Europe.” The world of the protagonists involves complex and mysterious political plots, but the twins’ daily lives are marked by mediocrity and ennui. In a world in which destruction threatens this affluent society, these two amuse themselves to death, sensing their impending fall. Steeped in dandyism, Satô captures this situation in a cynical manner and meticulously portrays the twins’ psychology as it is distorted by this suffocating atmosphere. Balthazar is not a man without flaws. His mind is split in two—one half laughs at the world and the other is a serious soul who tries to understand the other half. Balthazar’s pedantic manner is like that of a shôjo who refuses to be a shôjo or that of a “woman” who refuses to be a “woman.” He possesses a cunning intellect that may be called “anti-shôjo” (han shôjo) and “anti-feminine” (han josei). Balthazar and Melchior, rather than being “men,” actually are more like women with masks or beautiful women dressed in male clothing. The deep bond between the two male personalities represents a sort of truce between the ideal images of men that embody what women seek in relationships, and the images of men who act with their own free will. In other words, Balthazar contains an altered masculinity rewritten by female desire. This alteration is precisely a mode of criticism of masculinity that is based on women’s own criteria.
3. Artificial Life: Takano Fumio’s Vasurafu (1998, Vaslav).
The body and human psychology constructed by yaoi texts reflect women’s romantic desires. The most contemporary example of these “altered” images of men is that of masculinity placed in cyberspace—the theme of Vasurafu (1998, Vaslav). The author Takano Fumio was born in 1966 in Ibaraki prefecture. Her “steampunk” novel Mujika makiina (1995, Musika Machina), about a mad artist who lives in nineteenth-century Europe, was a finalist for the sixth annual Japanese Fantasy Novel Grand Prize, and she made her literary debut with the same work. She is known for her “steampunk” works that mix together a high-tech sensibility with a more classical European world. Musika Machina certainly belongs to this group of works, along with Kanto anjeriko (1996, Canto Angelico), which deals with an eighteenth-century castrato, and Vaslav.
Vaslav takes place in the early twentieth century in the imagined historical world of the Russian empire, which, in the story, has already become a computer-based, high-tech society. “The Imperial Russian Computer Network Administrative Bureau” creates a ballet dancer “Vaslav” (based on the actual performer Vaslav Nijinsky) in a virtual world. The Vaslav software comes to life and begins to dance within the network. The story revolves around the commotion the software causes among the hackers, programmers, fans, and network dancers. Most compelling, however, is the image of Nijinsky that gracefully dances around in the network. The virtual Vaslav is a marvelous hacking program that can invade any computer at any time, and he captures the heart of a hacker with the username Odette. Odette pursues Vaslav and eventually tries to have a romantic relationship with him by using a device to turn the crown prince Ivan’s own brain into an interface. The attempt to incorporate Vaslav into the human brain itself is another example of the alteration of masculinity. After his brain processes Vaslav, however, the crown prince Ivan collapses.
The romantic endeavors of a hacker girl result in the alteration of masculinity and the consequent destruction of it. We can read this narrative as a reflection of the romance that women both desire and demand from men.
Conclusion. From Suzuki Izumi to Takano Fumio, in Japanese women’s sf one constantly discovers attempts to alter the world. This alteration can be read as a subversion of the real world, one that belongs to the genre of female science fiction, which is dedicated to discovering and capturing femininity.
Science fiction by Japanese women reflects their sensitivity and open-mindedness toward the transformations of their own bodies, bodies that tend to be “cyborg-like.” Japanese female science fiction refuses to accept its world as a deviant culture (ibunka). It embraces deviance, finds in-between spaces, and seeks its place in the world. It forms a network of texts for its survival. It accepts the transformations imposed on women’s bodies and applies them to masculine bodies as well, constantly trying to alter the male body. On the one hand, Japanese women’s sf reveals a strong will to transform the female body, but on the other hand, it laments the fact that it is only through these transformations that female bodies can survive. This paradoxical sensibility is precisely what gives Japanese female science fiction its literary significance.
1. The Japanese word joseisei could also be interpreted as “female nature,” but after consulting with the author, I have decided to translate it as “femininity” and its male equivalent danseisei as “masculinity.”
2. The Japanese word shôjo has, over the years, become a theoretically loaded term among scholars of Japanese literature and popular culture. Thus, most of the time, I have simply left it as shôjo, but in plot summaries and in other general descriptions, I have translated it as “teenage girls” or “adolescent girls” in order to avoid redundancy.
3. The Japanese word used here, ie, can indicate a physical house or dwelling, a group of people who constitute a family, or the social system that has such ideas at its core. Kotani often uses the word in all three senses at once. Lacking such a flexible term in English, I have sometimes translated it as household, other times as house, home, or family.
4. Japan’s Seinshô translates literally as “Nebula Award,” but the prize is equivalent to the West’s Hugo Award. Japan’s equivalent of the West’s Nebula Award is the Nihon SF Taishô, the “Grand Prize for Japanese Science Fiction.” As Kotani notes in the following paragraph, Arai won this award as well in 1999.
5. Shônen is the male equivalent of shôjo and means “teenage boy.” As with shôjo, it has been left in the original.
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─────. Chigurisu to Yûfuratesu (Tigris and Euphrates). Tokyo: Shûeisha, 1999. Based on stories originally published in Shôsetsu subaru (The Pleiades) between August 1996 and July 1998.
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─────. Onna senshi Efera & Jiriora gaiden: aoi kami no Shirîn 2 (Women Warriors Efera and Jiriora Sequels: The Blue God Shîrin 2). Tokyo: Tairiku novels, 1992
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─────. Onna senshi Efera & Jiriora: Okaresuku taitei no yume (Women Warriors Efera and Jiriora: The Dream of Emperor Okaresk). Tokyo: Tairiku novels, 1990.
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─────. Mayonaka no tenshi (The Angel of Midnight). Vol. 1 and 2. Tokyo: Bungei shunjû, 1979.
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Shôno Yoriko. Haha no hattatsu (The Development of My Mother). Tokyo: Kawade shobô, 1996. Based on stories originally published in Bungei (Literary Art) and Kaien (Sea Swallow) between April 1994 an spring 1996.
Suzuki Izumi.“Onna to onna no yononaka” (“The World Between Women and Women”). SF magajin (SF Magazine) (July 1977): 114-30.
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───── and Mayumura Taku. “SF-otoko to onna” (“SF─Men and Women”) Interview. Kisô tengai (Unusual Ideas from the Sky) (March 1977): 121-35.
Takano Fumio. Vasurafu (Vaslav). Tokyo: Chûô kôronsha, 1998.
Yamao Yûko. Yume no sumu machi (The City Where Dreams Live, 1976). Tokyo: Hayakawa bunko JA, 1978.
─────. “Yume no sumu machi” (“The City Where Dreams Live”). SF magajin (SF Magazine) (July 1976).
Varley, John. “The Barbie Murders.” The Barbie Murders / Picnic on Nearside. New York: Berkeley, 1980.