Q&A: “I have a question regarding the Japanese use of the terms asexual and nonsexual…”
I have a question regarding the Japanese use of the terms asexual and nonsexual. Is asexual generally used by all aces on the aromantic spectrum or do arospec aces who sometimes feel romantic attraction (such as grey aromantics) typically prefer to use nonsexual? I’d like to get more involved with the ace community when I (hopefully) move to Japan, but I feel like the Japanese terminology doesn’t even let me describe myself…
(re: this post)
bearing in mind that everything i’m about to say is based entirely on my own limited experience and observation…
i can count the number of times i’ve met or heard of a Japanese person actively identifying in some way as gray or demi on one hand. generally speaking, awareness of nuanced ace & aro spectrum identities / orientations is hardly a thing among Japanese aces. the only time i hear any explicit mention of asexuality or aromanticism as a spectrum of identities / orientations is when someone is explicitly referencing English-speaking ace communities and usually that is specifically in the context of saying “unlike in Japan, in English-speaking countries words are based on distinctions made between romantic attraction and sexual attraction!”
Japanese terminology is entirely based around the Japanese terms 無性愛 / “museiai” and 非性愛 / “hiseiai” (Aセクシャル / “asexual” [aromantic asexual] and ノンセクシャル / “nonsexual” [romantic asexual] respectively) and as such, those two (combination of) terms are by far and large the terms that i hear used by Japanese aces. when someone is questioning which they are (which is often the case, as you can imagine) or when someone feels like they cannot readily identify with either term, they usually express that using however many words necessary. at the same time, they may also choose to align themself with one of the aforementioned terms for simplicity’s sake. when it comes to that, i think identifying as / aligning oneself with Aセクシャル is most common since Aセクシャル awareness, while still dismal in Japan, is still higher than ノンセクシャル. plus Aセクシャル is sometimes used as an umbrella term in Japanese just as it is in English.
anyway, anon, yeah… i’m in the same boat as you. Japanese terminology really doesn’t allow me to describe myself accurately and it’s incredibly frustrating, especially when it comes to the miscommunication that happens if i say i’m Aセクシャル since i identify as asexual in English. i can use words derived from English to describe myself, but when i do i generally have to explain what i mean either way, so it’s easier and quicker to just explain in Japanese without English-derived words. the lack of / discrepancy in Japanese terminology / awareness compared to that found in English-speaking communities is especially frustrating as it’s something that i’m faced with on multiple fronts, not just in regards to my (a)sexuality… sigh!