Bill Mihalopoulos is Assistant Professor in the Global Leaders Program, Dong-A University, Busan. He is author of Sex in Japan's Globalization, 1870-1930 (London: Pickering and Chatto, 2011). Based on archival research undertaken in Japan and Britain, Sex in Japan's Globalization offers a new perspective on the relations between gender hierarchies and the political economy in a newly modernized Japan.
The focus of this presentation is on how the systematic restructuring of bureaucratic knowledge was instrumental in transforming Meiji sensibilities regarding the sex life of the poor. Sex and bureaucracy are considered opposite forces, but bureaucrats redefined peasant women finding work abroad, who had been understood as filial daughters, making them into 'unsightly women abroad.' The spread of Japanese women engaging in sex work overseas intensified the discord the Japanese government faced over how to promote and facilitate and, at the same time, control and limit, the movement of Japanese subjects abroad. My talk will show how, over time, the Japanese consuls' role of obtaining information relating to trade and settlement transformed into one concerned with the administration and control of Japanese living overseas.