Negotiating notions of transvestitism between Germany and Japan in the early 20th century


In this podcast for the Goldsmiths MA in LGBTQ History, Dr. Rainer Herrn explores the global dimensions of sexology’s history, this talk focuses on Magnus Hirschfeld’s interpretation of the onnagata, male actors who played female parts in Japanese Kabuki theatre. Which role did the onnagata play within the emerging sexual category of the transvestite? How did intercultural contact and exchange motivate and influence the development of sexual-scientific concepts? The lecture answers these questions and concludes by reconstructing Hirschfeld’s personal encounters with onnagata in Japan in 1931.

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