Although “vaginal commodities”—feminized and sexualized bodies in the economic system—are found everywhere on the globe today, this article focuses on the ways in which such sexualized images of the Filipino “Japayuki” entertainers working in Japan have been produced and consumed. Suzuki will trace the history of this fantasy production back to the 1970s when the Japanese first began to construct the workers in a particular way. Subsequently, these images became widely circulated among the transnational public in which most eager consumers of these representations are the transnational middle class such as advocates, academics, lawmakers, and the media people, including the Philippine elite. Recently, such overt sexualization of the workers has also subjected Filipino male workers in the night businesses. Whatever workers' sex and sexual orientation, they are seen not as humans but as objects of sex. They are feminized by the hands of the indifferent narrators of the images, and the workers' entirety as humans is reduced to those who are only good at making a living in bed. To analyze, Suzuki takes “Philippine cinema,” the theme of this journal, to mean a site that both veils and invokes global audiences' particular visual fantasies about laboring Filipina/o entertainers. The data used here are queer and drawn not only from filmic but also from printed and audio materials. The time period covered is from the 1970s to March 2005, when the Japanese government suddenly tightened the issuance of the entertainer visas.
Nobue Suzuki; “Japayuki,” or, Spectacles for the Transnational Middle Class. positions 1 May 2011; 19 (2): 439–462. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10679847-1331787
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