The rainy season was over and super humid disgusting summer has come. I really hate Japanese summer which seems getting hotter and hotter every year. Last Saturday on the 26th when 1,889 people were rushed to hospital due to heatstroke and 11 died. Isn't it awful?
Sorry, I didn't mean to complain about the weather. Today's post topic is transvestite culture in Japan.
What intrigued me was a news report I saw on TV last week. A 27-year-old man got arrested for sneaking into a shop in an attempt to steal money and setting fire before leaving the place. But strangely, the person shown in video breaking in the building was a "girl." Yes, as you guessed, she was a man dressed as a woman. According to the report, he was an employee at a "cross-dressing maid cafe" in Akihabara, the Mecca of otaku.
A cross-dressing maid cafe?! I never knew such a thing even existed. I checked on the internet and found out there are at least several cafes or bars with transvestite waiters in the Tokyo area.
|"Male maids" at Newtype, a cross-dressing cafe in Akihabara|
where the arrested man might have worked
That is a big difference from gay bars in Shinjuku 2-chome area, where cross-dressers are either homosexual or at least bisexual with high probability. In Akihabara cross dressing may be a kind of cosplaying, and that's why even young girls and heterosexual couples can casually go to a transvestite cafe.
Address: 3rd floor of Isamiya Diahachi Bldg., 3-7-12 Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Hours: Tue.-Thu., Sun. & holidays, open 6-11 p.m.; Fri., Sat. & day before national holidays, 6 p.m.-6 a.m.;
|Photo album "Meme danshi eight" featuring eight cross-dresers|
|another photo album "Yuri danshi"|
|"Otoko no ko Make Book"|
make-up book for crossdresers
Traditionally, Japanese have appreciated androgynous beauty. In Kabuki, a classical dance-drama established in the 17th century, performers are all men. Many kabuki fans often say that male actors can be more womanly than real women because men are always pursuing ideal female beauty. The photo below is of Tamasaburo Bando, a famous female-role actor (onnagata, 女形）and living national treasure.
|Legendary onnagata actor Tamasaburo Bando|
|Actor Taichi Saotome|
Cross-dressers can find their places to live in the world of TV as well. The most famous transvestite TV personality these days is definitely this big man-lady Matsuko Deluxe, who can be seen anywhere, on TV, in publicity on trains, etc. Everybody loves his (her?) sharp tongue.
From here I'll write in Japanese.
忍び込む （しのびこむ）： to sneak into
防犯カメラ（ぼうはんー）： a security camera
映像 （えいぞう）：video picture
女装(じょそう）する： to wear women's clothes
店員（てんいん）： an employee of a shop, restaurant, cafe, etc.
必（かなら）ずしも～ではない： not necessarily
異性（いせい）： people of the opposite sex
中性的 （ちゅうせいてき）： androgynous
もてはやす： to praise
伝統芸能（でんとうげいのう）： traditional performance art
演（えん）じる： to play
役（やく）： a role
役者（やくしゃ）： an actor/actress
大衆演劇（たいしゅうえんげき）： popular drama (a genre of Japanese theatrical art)