Europe Japan Research Centre Seminar: December 7th 2022 17:00 GMT: Christopher Tso: Grooming White-Collar Masculinities in Contemporary Japan

Alexander Jacoby's picture

Dear members of H-Japan,

You are cordially invited to a forthcoming online event in the Europe Japan Research Centre seminar series hosted at Oxford Brookes University in the United Kingdom.

On Wednesday December 7th at 17:00 GMT / Thursday December 8th 2:00 JST, we will hear from Christopher Tso, who has recently worked as Newton Trust and Japan and the World Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Cambridge, and will shortly take up a post at Keio University.

The event will take place by Zoom. Meeting ID is 823 3684 0147; passcode is 9050592192. Registration is not required. As always, we acknowledge the support of the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation for our ongoing activities.

 

Abstract

Amidst increasing scrutiny of men’s bodies in Japan, this talk explores the social processes surrounding Japanese white-collar men’s bodily grooming practices. Drawing on interviews with white-collar men in the Tokyo region, I discuss how participants understand their various everyday grooming practices - from the mundane facial shaving and haircare, to physical exercise and expunging body odours - in terms of ideals of professional competency. Grooming norms are maintained through various interactions such as explicit orders, informal banter or overheard conversations, and in multiple directions including top-down from superiors, horizontal among colleagues and bottom-up from women workers. My fundamental contention is that this white-collar grooming culture becomes a way through which gendered work ideals and asymmetrical power relations are reproduced.