Beyond Modern: Shimizu Shikin and "Two Modern Girls"
This essay introduces the translation of Shimizu Shikin's "Tosei futari musume" (Two Modern Girls, 1897), which follows, and argues that by separating the body from gender, Shikin (1868-1933) effectively threatened the dimorphic ideology of sex that underpinned the literary establishment of Meiji Japan. In an essay written in 1896, Shikin posits an hermaphrodite combining allegedly gendered character traits in a "perfect" body, thus asserting that behavioral traits are not limited to one sex. Shikin calls attention not only to "the second sex" but a third sex decades before twentieth-century writers did in Japan and elsewhere, and she was erased because of it.
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