East Asian Men pp 165-181 | Cite as

Herbivore Masculinities in Post-Millennial Japan

  • Justin Charlebois


Social changes, such as a stagnant economy and the uncertainty of securing stable employment, have altered the social landscape of contemporary Japan. Charlebois conducts an analysis of the emergence of herbivore masculinity within this period. Unlike their more aggressive “carnivore” counterparts, herbivore masculinity refers to men who are more passive in their personal and professional lives. In contrast to an era when acquiring a car and involvement in a romantic relationship were well-established signifiers of masculinity, herbivores invest in their appearance through the purchase of beauty products and apparel and are not necessarily involved in a romantic relationship. At first glance, herbivores appear to reject many elements of archetypical masculinity, and in the process contribute to the formation of a more gender-equal society. Charlebois critically examines herbivore masculinity within the genderscape of contemporary Japan and demonstrates how more seemingly “democratic” forms of masculinity can actually sustain the status quo.


Romantic Relationship Disposable Income Female Character Sociocultural Context Hegemonic Masculinity 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Justin Charlebois
    • 1
  1. 1.University of TsukubaTsukubaJapan

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