Queer Japanese masculinities: Ideologies at work in Japanese MSM erotic manga.

Patrick Murphy

University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia

This study seeks to frame how ideologies around masculinity in Japan function in the characterization and creation of queer men who have sex with men (MSM) erotic manga. The choice of reference to these character’s sexuality is for three reasons; 1) to avoid the essentialization of a gay identity towards a set specific sex act, 2) to open up the interpretation of these male characters as gay, bisexual or heterosexual men who also have sex with men and finally 3) to allow for the readership to not be assumed as exclusively gay men.

This paper analyses representations and characterizations of male characters in these MSM manga. Through a discourse analysis and indexical field framework of these depictions, the study will analyse visual imagery, embodied masculinity and linguistic signs and choice of these characters to understand what ideologies may be at work in the creation of these desiring characters while also seeking to provide a more rounded analysis of ideologies around gay and queer masculinities/sexualities in Japanese media, and particularly how these images and representations may find similarities within common tropes and identities within ‘traditional’ pornographic and sex narratives and gender ideologies.


Patrick Murphy is a PhD candidate in Sociocultural Linguistics at the Asia Institute and School of Languages and Linguistics at the University of Melbourne. His research concerns the linguistic, gendered and sexual ideologies at work in Japanese male same-sex erotic manga.
He graduated from the University of Arizona in the USA with an MA in Teaching English as a Second Language and Applied Linguistics in 2013 and worked as a Lecturer at Kanda University of International Studies from 2013 to 2018 in Tokyo, Japan.


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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