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Japan Society
333 East 47th Street
New York 10017
between 1st & 2nd Avenues

(212) 832 1155

Tues–Thurs 12–7pm
Fri 12–9pm
Sat & Sun 11am–5pm

2017 Exhibitions & Special Events

Exhibition: Opens March 10

A Third Gender:
Beautiful Youths in Japanese Prints

In many societies, gender has been defined according to a binary framework based on biological sex. In Edo-period Japan (1603-1868), however, several additional factors were taken into account, including age and appearance. Fundamental to this structure were attractive male youths termed wakashu: neither men nor women, wakashu constituted a distinct “third gender,” occupying their own place within the social hierarchy. Organized by the Royal Ontario Museum, A Third Gender is the first exhibition in North America to focus on the portrayal of wakashu in Japanese art, shedding light on the complex rules that governed gender constructs during the Edo period. Featuring over 65 woodblock prints, as well as paintings, luxury objects, and personal ornaments, this groundbreaking exhibition offers a critical artistic and historical context for considering gender performance and sexual expression—topics that are particularly resonant within contemporary society.