FtM crossdresser escorts in contemporary Japan: an embodied and sensorial ethnography

Marta Fanasca

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Ethnography is a methodology that requires both intellectual and physical efforts and is carried out through the body. The body is also the site where affect is experienced, which in Massumi’s view is “an ability to affect and a susceptibility to be affected” of a body in constant transition. This article explores my ethnographic fieldwork on FtM crossdresser (dansō) escorts in Japan, taking into account the role played by the body, affects, and emotions, also analyzing their relationship with materiality and the surrounding environment. My body became the means of interaction with crossdressers and customers, and its masculinization affected and was affected by objects and the surrounding spaces. It was also the site where I experienced affective intensities descriptive of the experience of crossdressers and date clients. I first focus on the body and its physical and emotional reactions to investigate the practice of crossdressing, identifying the role played by objects in enhancing masculinity. I highlight crossdressers’ and customers’ management of spaces and human interactions as or towards displaced bodies. To conclude, I investigate the body as a way to interact with spaces and individuals from the standpoint of “affective correspondence”.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
JournalAsian Anthropology
Early online date4 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Japan
  • crossdressing
  • embodiment
  • affect
  • performativity


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