“Colonizing Sex: Sexology and Social Control in Modern Japan” Book Cover
“Colonizing Sex: Sexology and Social Control in Modern Japan” Book Cover

Love as political technology to colonize sexuality; better life with less artificial technology

By Oliver Damian

Colonization of sex

Frühstück looks at sex as a territory to be colonized. She looks at the colonization of sex in Japan that involves complex power relations marked by the technologies of bodily discipline and mass regulation. This leads to a normative sexuality declared vital to health, improvement, and the future Empire.

Love as political technology

Ryang’s book is an ethnological study of how nation makes its population into ‘loving’ citizens in the context of Japan. She looks at love as a complex set of social functions. She said that there is no separation between love and lust as we have in the West.

Ryang looked at love as a political technology where love is installed as a state apparatus that shapes the population into self-policing, self-disciplining agencies of love. She discusses the efficacy of the Japanese state as a biopower. She relates this to Michel Foucault’s framework of looking at governmentality and systems of disciplinarity.

She traced the coming into the modernity of Japan with the reinstatement of the Emperor as a supreme sovereign with repercussions in the goal of procreating to meet the goal having 100 million babies for the emperor, the comfort women sex slaves during WWII, to the postwar idealisation of the virginity of young female students as embodying the purity of the modern Japanese nation.

“Love in Modern Japan: Its Estrangement from Self, Sex, and Society” Book Cover
“Love in Modern Japan: Its Estrangement from Self, Sex, and Society” Book Cover

Better quality of life with less technology>

According to Nagano, Urashima and Yokoo (2012):

Japan aims to promote science and technology by implementing practical policies based on a comprehensive strategy with three key elements:

  1. a nation that contributes to the world by creating and using scientific knowledge;
  2. an internationally competitive nation capable of sustainable development; and
  3. a safe, secure nation where people enjoy a high quality of life.

These three approaches are important in the social infrastructure development for an ageing society and for advancing the construction of a low-carbon society.

They aim to achieve a 25% reduction in the emission of greenhouse gasses by 2020. Their preferred future is developed around a green energy sector fueled by renewable and nuclear energy, efficient transport systems and residential technologies like fuel cell co-generation and home energy management systems.

One of the key impacts of their Delphi survey of interdisciplinary experts in the field is to question the extent to which future Japanese society may have to evolve in a way that is no longer highly technology-driven.


  1. Frühstück, S. 2003, Colonizing Sex: Sexology and Social Control in Modern Japan, University of California Press, Berkeley & Los Angeles.
  2. Nagano H., Urashima, K., Yokoo Y. 2012, ‘S&T policy and foresight investigation – impacts in Japan’, Foresight Vol. 14 Issue: 1, pp.15-25, viewed 7 September 2017, <https://doi.org/10.1108/14636681211210332>.
  3. Ryang, S. 2006, Love in Modern Japan: Its Estrangement from Self, Sex, and Society, Routledge, London.