Tokyo Jukujo: Middle-Aged Sex Workers in Contemporary Japan
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CitationNishijima, Chiaki. 2018. Tokyo Jukujo: Middle-Aged Sex Workers in Contemporary Japan. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractSex work reflects the lack of social safety nets for Japan's poorest female residents. My dissertation examines how the sex industry evolved in response to the economic recession over the last decade. From 2013 to 2016, I interviewed sex workers, managers, and staff at an erotic outcall business featuring Japanese women in their forties through sixties. Once viewed as pariahs in the industry, middle-aged sex workers entered the mainstream in the 2000s when businesses marketing “jukujo,” meaning mature or ripe women, began to proliferate. Enterprising managerial minds have been perceptive to emergent socio-economic vulnerabilities. Whereas the demand-driven sex industry of a robust economy was fueled by the money and desires of customers, the deflationary, supply-driven market of today responded to women’s economic needs by inventing gimmicks to cultivate new customer demand. Jukujo workers inhabited a sex industry governed by the political economic and ideological imperatives of neoliberalism, rather than the logic of victims and perpetrators that abolitionists of the anti-trafficking movement have focused on. Challenging the normative assumption of sex work as inherently lucrative, my research demonstrates a malleable sex industry intimately connected to systems like social welfare and the job market.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:41121203
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