[A]sexuality,  [Random] Thoughts,  Japan[ese],  Queer[ness]

frustrations re:Aセクシャル (asexual in Japanese)

so i’ve been halfassedly thinking about making an ace pride sign for the Tokyo Rainbow Pride parade, but i’m torn because discussing asexuality in Japanese seems really difficult… of course the language barrier plays a part in that, but it’s not even just that.

asexuality isn’t widely known in Japan but it isn’t unheard of. however, the things that i have found online about asexuality in Japanese make me think that “asexual” (Aセクシャル or 無性愛) in Japanese has taken on a different meaning compared to “asexual” in English. a meaning that i don’t want associated with myself and i feel like would be hard to combat given my Japanese ability and the fact that certain concepts don’t even exist or aren’t common in Japanese language/culture itself.


for example, i came across this the other day:

恋愛感情がある人は、Aセクシャルではありません。
2010.03.01 Monday 無題 03:33 – – – – by uvwxyz
他者に対して恋愛感情を抱くことがある人は、Aセクシャル(無性愛者)ではありません。軽々しくAセクシャルを自称するのはやめて下さい。Aセクシャルについて誤認識が広まる原因となり、迷惑千万です。

他者に対して恋愛感情を抱くことはあっても性的接触を望まない人は、ノンセクシャル(非性愛者)です。

translation:

A person who experiences love is not asexual.
2010.03.01 Monday Untitled 03:33 – – – – by uvwxyz
A person who experiences love towards another person is not asexual (museiaisha). Please stop thoughtlessly referring to yourself as asexual. You are the reason misconceptions about asexuality are spreading and it’s extremely annoying.

A person who does not desire sexual contact despite experiencing love towards another person is a nonsexual (hiseiaisha).

this is from a blog titled “Please understand the definition of asexual properly!” (「Aセクシャルの定義をきちんと理解して下さい!」) which has a lot of…. stuff that i haven’t sat down and read through because at a glance it rubs me the wrong way. but this isn’t the only place that i’ve seen such a definition of asexual (Aセクシャル/無性愛) often contrasted with the same definition of nonsexuality (ノンセクシャル/非性愛) just like this and it bugs me…. a lot.

i’ve gotten the impression from reading various things online that in Japan if someone experiences romantic attraction at all it is more common to identify as homo/hetero/bi/pansexual instead of asexual and that asexual is instead used to mean exclusively aromantic asexual. :/

sigh.

i guess i just don’t want to show up to Pride with my seemingly anglophonic definition of asexuality and potentially ruffle the feathers of people who understand asexuality differently, whether they identify as asexual or not. i really would rather not get into a debate about what asexuality is or isn’t in Japanese where i’d be at a huge disadvantage due to language ability.

and then there’s the fact that my definition of asexuality is reliant on the concept of sexual attraction, which seems to be even murkier of a concept in Japan(ese) than it is in English. how would i explain that in a way that people won’t be confused with sexual desire, which to me is a different thing? 「異性も同姓をひきつける性的な魅力がない」is the best way i’ve come up with to explain a lack of sexual attraction towards any gender, but i feel like people would still ultimately just take that to be lack of sexual desire or libido. sigh!

i was browsing the wiki page on asexuality in Japanese and was pleasantly surprised to see something added to it that wasn’t there the last time i’d read it.

ウォリック大学の社会学者マーク・キャリガンによると、無性愛者はさらに、アロマンチック・アセクシャルとロマンチック・アセクシャルに細分化される。

According to Mark Carrigan, a sociologist at the University of Warwick, asexuals are divided further into aromantic asexuals and romantic asexuals.

it goes on to say:

アロマンチックとは、恋愛感情(ロマンス)に対して魅力を感じない性質を指す。アロマンチック・アセクシャルの多くは触れること、触れられること、といった物理的な親密を望まない。ロマンチックとは、恋愛感情(ロマンス)に対して魅力を感じる性質を指す。そのためロマンチック・アセクシャルは、性的交渉の無い恋愛関係を望んでいる。ヘテロ・ロマンチック・アセクシャル、ホモ・ロマンチック・アセクシャル、バイ・ロマンチック・アセクシャル、パン・ロマンティックという用語も存在する。

Aromantic signifies the disposition of not experiencing/feeling attraction based on love/emotion (romance). A large number of aromantic asexuals have no desire for physical intimacy. For that reason romantic asexual signifies the desire for a romantic relationship without a sexual connection. The terms “Heteroromantic asexual”, “homoromantic asexual”, “biromantic asexual” and “panromantic asexual” also exist.

i feel like this recent addition to the Japanese wiki article is a huge ray of hope for me. maybe one day understanding of asexuality in Japan will actually get to where it is today in the English speaking world. just maybe. i sincerely hope so.

perhaps i should just have the wiki article ready on my phone and show people it f they ask me about being a panromantic/biromantic asexual. even if i don’t make a sign to hold up, i WILL wear my asexual pride shirt in the parade, so….

YouTuber and Blogger, Vesper is an American expat currently living in Japan.

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