The 'beauty' of male circumcision in Japan : gender, sexuality and the male body in a medical practice
Date of Issue2012
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
This article introduces the construct of ‘the beauty of male circumcision’ to analyse male circumcision in Japan. Japanese men are largely circumcised at beauty and aesthetic clinics, neonatal circumcision has never been mandatory and no official records are provided, therefore the manuscript offers an iconographic and textual analysis of the information that Japanese men can access to decide whether they want to be circumcised. The analysis is grounded on four axes: medical knowledge, embodiment, gender and sexuality. Although male circumcision has been largely a preventative method against disease, in Japanese settings the surgery is sold as a means to regain control of the body and enhance self-confidence. The male body is seen as a commodity and male circumcision becomes a placebo that works on the psyche of men grappling with gender and sexual matters.