Beyond Modern

Shimizu Shikin and “Two Modern Girls”

Author: Leslie Winston

Abstract:

This essay introduces the translation of Shimizu Shikin's “Tōsei futari musume” (Two Modern Girls, 1897), which follows, and argues that by separating the body from gender, Shikin (1868-1933) effectively threatened the dimorphic ideology of sex that underpinned the literary establishment of Meiji Japan. In an essay written in 1896, Shikin posits an hermaphrodite combining allegedly gendered character traits in a “perfect” body, thus asserting that behavioral traits are not limited to one sex. Shikin calls attention not only to “the second sex” but a third sex decades before twentieth-century writers did in Japan and elsewhere, and she was erased because of it.
Regions: East Asia
Countries: Japan

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September 2007
© 2002 ILO/Crozet M.