Construction and fluctuating views of the male body:
Taiikugaku kenkyu (Japan Journal of Physical Education Health and Sport Sciences)
In postwar Japan, the United States (US) could be viewed as Japan's "significant other." The US had a considerable cultural impact on Japan and was responsible for alterations in postwar Japanese identity. Of particular importance was the influence of the US on the popular view of body form. The postwar restructuring of Japan's national identity included the adoption of new views of the body as a result of US influence. This study investigated the culture of male beauty/body (bodybuilding) that
... emerged in Japan during the postwar period of occupation, and revealed how "male beauty" consciousness was generated in relation to nationalism by focusing on (1) the social context in which "male beauty/body culture" emerged and (2) the changes in conceptions of masculinity and body consciousness. This analysis yielded the following results: (1) Bodybuilding emerged in the social context of the occupation/reconstruction period and from a masculine crisis of male feminization in Japan. It was developed by the Japan Bodybuilding Association (JBA) as part of a movement to create "new Japanese men". (2) However, bodybuilding was criticized as being feminine, linked to homosexuality, and leading to a useless "Hercules-type" body. (3) In response to this criticism, the JBA shifted its aim from the acquisition of a burly, Herculean build to one of a healthy and functional ("Hermes-type") body that represented harmony between the body and the spirit. The aim of this shift was to gain legitimacy for bodybuilding as a masculine act. In addition to these aims in trying to help create "new Japanese men", the JBA also intended to legitimize male bodybuilding culture within a national context, seeking to popularize and expand its activity by criticizing the American "Hercules-type" body while promoting the "Hermes-type" body preferred in Japan. In this way, discourse concerning the legitimacy of male beauty/body (bodybuilding) culture developed in conjunction with nationalism, and created an important forum for consideration of the ideal Japanese male body form.