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Francioni, Marcello (2023) 'Not myself tonight: subjunctive selves and the in-sincerity of service in Japanese queer nightlife.' Asian Anthropology, 22 (2). pp. 99-115.

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Abstract

What is the relationship between truth, sense of self and being a professional in Japanese queer nightlife? For service industry professionals’ spontaneity is not a fruitful quality to cultivate to establish oneself. Instead, commitment to customers’ satisfaction and adaptability to their wants, needs and grudges are considered by customers and providers to be paramount qualities of a service professional. Drawing on my ethnography at Japanese-style gay bars in Shinjuku Ni-chōme (Tokyo) and other Japanese urban centers, and from studies on the Japanese self, religious practice and authenticity, I propose in-sincerity as an analytical tool to describe how service professionals orient their practice. At Japanese-style gay bars, in-sincerity represents a strict approach to work involving withdrawing parts of one’s self and concocting subjunctive selves (customized versions of one’s self that occupied an illusive 'as if’ dimension) for customers’ entertainment. The co-creation and reproduction of bar legends at Zenith bar exemplifies the surfacing of these subjunctive selves by inextricably entangling factual information and the imaginary worlds of both service professionals and customers.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Japan; Queer Nightlife;Sincerity; Insincerity
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Anthropology & Sociology
ISSN: 1683478X
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.1080/1683478x.2023.2178098
SWORD Depositor: JISC Publications Router
Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2023 15:24
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/39145

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