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THE “FINE PRINT”: SPACE CREATED BY GIRLS TO BE ENJOYED BY GIRLS

In addition to branding the event as women only through the use of logos that index strong female figures, the use of commercially salient script choices and bold, sexual, kitsch images which contest contemporary notions of female sexuality, the flyers also contain sections of text that demarcate the space as accessible to women only. Typically, these are in a relatively small, black font on the front of the flyer. Font is an essential component of graphic design. It shapes the visual language of the flyer and influences the overall impression (Bartal 2013). The plain style of the descriptors marks them as informational components of the flyer overall, or as “the fine print” that offers a full disclosure of the event. The language, script choices, and punctuation used in the fine print constitute the club’s official stance towards potential clients.

The flyer from July 1994 (Figure 4.1) contains a one-sentence description followed by a note in parentheses, as in example (1). The text appears to the right of the logo, and below details of the “library corner”’ selling Japanese language editions of Out magazine, and the “kiosk corner” stocking Pop Against Homophobia t-shirts. A large “M,” in a font size the height of two lines, visually marks the one sentence paragraph as separate from the logo. The text emphasizes the event as women-only in planning and production as well as clientele, and is followed by a short declaration of the entrance regulations in parentheses.

(1) July 1994 flyer

MONALISA wa, kikaku, DJ, pafoma, dansa, batenda ni itaru made subete, onna no ko ni yotte tsukuriageru kukan o, onna no ko dake de tanoshimu ’90 nendai-teki na atarashii sutairu no PARTY desu. (Nyujo wa, josei nomi ni kagirasete itadakimasu.)

‘MONALISA is a new 90s style PARTY; a space created by girls entirely from planning, DJ, performers, dancers to bartenders, to be enjoyed by girls only. (Entrance is restricted to women-only.)’

The description on the 1994 flyer promotes Monalisa as an innovative space (kukan) in a contemporary 1990s style (’90 nendai-teki) created by and for girls (onna no ko) only. The listing of staff further emphasizes that the entire (subete) team is comprised of girls-only (onna no ko). Consistent with the nonconventional script used in the theme, onna no ko (girl) is written as ® 3 (girlz). Interestingly, this sentence ends with the distal form of the copula desu. Japanese verbs may take either the direct or distal style. The distal style indexes both a public persona and distance from the addressee (Cook 1996; Maynard 2004; Dunn 2010). It is used in formal speech and certain forms of essay writing, but not in public discourse such as newspaper articles. The final sentence in parentheses in (1) further underscores the women-only nature of the event through the use of the noun josei (woman). It shifts to a more formal register through the use of the humble honorific verb + causative + itadaku form. This form is found in service encounters. The distal -masu form of the verb is also used here. The literal translation would be “humbly receive permission to limit entry to women only.”12

Example 1 shows the mixture of nonconventional orthography and conventional politeness strategies that are found in the flyers. Conventionally, writers are warned not to mix the distal and direct styles in written Japanese; however, style mixing is common in Japanese writing (Maynard 2004). In (1), the distal style is maintained, but the juxtaposition of alternative orthography and formal speech constitutes stance-taking by the writer. The alternative orthography used here positions both the staff and potential club-goers as nonconventional girlz, at the same time as it addresses readers in the distal style used in service encounters. The descriptive text, therefore, creates a hip, club-like vibe while maintaining a professional stance.

Another creative strategy used in the fine print of the flyers can be noted in the use of English, which is common to the commercial language of advertising (Barnes & Yamamoto 2008; Kuppens 2009). For example, a list of the types of women the club welcomes appears as a string of English in flyers throughout the 1990s:

(2) Band of English framing the image from October 1995

‘monalisa PINK is for GAY WOMEN, LIPSTICK LESBIAN, BI SEXUAL, GAY GAL, DYKE, BUTCH, FEM, BITCH ... etc. ALL GIRL WELCOME! GOING YOUR WAY!’

Gay women, lipstick lesbians, bisexual women, gay gal, dykes, butch women, fem women, and bitches are each invoked as potential club-goers through the use of this script. The final phrase “going your way” is the tag line for the events, and enforces the organizers’ stance that all women who enter the club space should enjoy their own individual style.

Far from being stereotypical “fine print” in the October 1995 flyer (Figure 4.4), this band of Roman script reproduced in (2) visually frames the top and right side of the illustration of two witches kissing. The theme for the night written in English appears on the bottom, and on the left is a description of the club entrance regulations in Japanese (monalisa PINK wa, josei dake de tanoshimu ’90 nendai-teki na atarashii sutairu no pati desu [‘monalisa PINK is a new style nineties party enjoyed by women-only’]).13 A description of the Halloween theme in Japanese follows the descriptor.

In three flyers in the corpus from 1998, the alternative spelling womyn is used. While this may be a quirk in the transliteration of terms, this nonconventional English spelling is also used in phrases such as JOIN!! ALL WOMYN which appears in bright pink on a white background on the January-March 1995 flyer (Figure 4.3). The spelling womyn may invoke images of lesbian feminist calls to renounce the androcentric bias of English by replacing he/man grammar/vocabulary (Martyna 1980; Ehrlich 2007) with women-identified viewpoints. Indeed, the Japanese feminist and lesbian feminist communities were readily engaging with lesbian feminist texts written in English from the 1970s. Linguists too have translated selected seminal feminist linguistic texts into Japanese.14 In the flyers, however, the lesbian feminist term womyn is often juxtaposed with terms such as lipstick lesbians, gay gals, and bitches which seem historically removed from 1970s lesbian feminist rhetoric. Indeed, the Oxford English Dictionary lists the first usage of womyn from 1970s magazine Lesbian Connection. The earliest usage of “lipstick lesbian" which is defined as “a lesbian of glamorous or manifestly feminine appearance and behavior" is listed as Maupin’s Babycakes (1984) (OED Online 2014).

A quick survey of print material, however, indicates that the feminist spelling of womyn is used extensively in the lesbian, bisexual, and queer women’s communities in the 1990s. Kinswomyn was the name of a popular shot bar which opened in Shinjuku ni-chome in 1994.15 The first commercial lesbian and bisexual women’s magazine Furine (Phryne; 1995) is also branded as for “WOMYN LOVING" women on the cover (in Roman script). Its sister publication Anisu (Anise; 1996-1997, 2001-2003) is branded as being “for womyn" (also on the cover in Roman script).

The collocation of womyn with lipstick lesbian also reflects the linguistic trends of the 1990s women’s community. У r I 'y d • E к

^ r y (rippusutikku rezubian), the transliteration of the English lipstick lesbian into katakana, is included in the community terms listed in the first edition of Furine (Phryne 1995). The definition given (in Japanese) is “a lesbian who is perfectly made up. Isn’t too unusual these days, is it?" (Phryne 1995: 174). Although lipstick lesbian is not listed in the first edition of Anisu (1996), it does appear again in the Autumn 1996 edition with a slightly shorter explanation: “a lesbian with make-up on" The term womyn does not appear in listings of this sort, suggesting that it is sufficiently recognizable not to require a definition.

The positioning of womyn alongside terms such as lipstick lesbian and fem, therefore, must be read within this historical and cultural context. When considering the importation and adaptation of subcultural terminology from languages other than Japanese into Japanese women’s communities, “the local lesbian construct of community” (Welker 2010: 373) emerges as the fundamental point of reference. Similarly, as Kuppens (2009) argues, English used as a foreign language in advertising functions as a “linguistic cue” (118) to intended intertextual references to transnational media and other media genres. The flyers, therefore, fuse terms originating in English-speaking lesbian/bisexual queer women’s communities and subcultures to meanings that have emerged through local textual and place-making practices. By employing a diversity of terms that are used within the Japanese-language women’s community and rendering them in Roman script, the flyers project a complex stance which is both trend-setting and commercial, while striving to emphasize a sense of diversity nestled within the umbrella term women only.

In 1997, Monalisa holds its “big final” and the new event Gold Finger is launched in December 1997. Both logos are incorporated into the flyer for the “Grand Opening Party.” The flyer contains no Japanese script whatsoever. The tag line “EVERYTHING SHE TOUCHES TURNS TO EXCITEMENT” (in capitalized Roman script) further heightens the event’s intertextual connectivity (Kuppens 2009) with the James Bond 007 cinema phenomenon from which the event takes its name. Around this time, the Bond Girls also take center stage as a hand-picked group of performers and dancers who entertain clubbers with staged shows. They are described as ‘cute and sexy’ (kyuto de sekushi) (March 1999), ready to welcome and please. The Bond Girl “tip service” where clubbers can purchase Gold Finger money to place into the girls’ costumes also becomes a promoted part of the event.

Whereas the politely humble “Entrance is restricted to women-only” was used in the 1994 flyer (Figure 4.1), the English phrases SORRY BOYS (July 1998) (see (3) and Figure 4.8) and Sorry Guys (January 1999) (see (4) and Figure 4.9) enter the flyer discourse in the late 1990s. In the example from the July 1998 flyer, the description of the women-only stance in Japanese is considerably shorter than that in example (1). Furthermore, the entrance regulation is expressed in a colloquial phrase transposed from English. The use of colloquial English “Sorry Boys” creates a more casual stance, which is markedly different from the descriptive sentence from the 1994 flyer that ends with the distal form of the copula desu. The use of “boys” complements the use of garuzu-onri (‘girls-only’) in the descriptor.

(3) July 1998 flyer

GOLD FINGER wa garuzu onrl de tanoshimu naitokurabu ibento desu. Sorry Boys.

‘GOLD FINGER is a night-club event enjoyed by girls-only. Sorry Boys.’

GOLDFINGER July 1998

FIGURE 4.8 GOLDFINGER July 1998

(4) January 1999 flyer

GOLD FINGER ’99... . Suriringu na dansu chun ni, bondo garuzu ni yoru guramarasu na shotaimu. Otona no josei no tame no wan-naito fantajl. Sorry Guys.

‘Thrilling dance tunes and glamorous showtime by the Bond Girls. A one-night fantasy for adult women. Sorry Guys.’

What could be interpreted as a recasting of the category of women is noted via the use of the phrase otona no josei (adult women) in the January 1999 flyer (Figure 4.9). As the phrase MUST BE OVER 21 is used to state the age restrictions of the club circa 1997, this does not appear to be related to legal requirements.16 Rather, the use of otona (adult) to modify “women" which connotes sophistication through association with adulthood, suggests a new degree of maturation. In Monalisa/Gold Finger flyers, the terms adult woman (otona no josei) and/or woman written in capitalized English often appear with constructions such as garuzu naito (‘girl’s night’). Whereas the alternative spelling Tg G> з (onna no ko = girlz) features in the earlier Monalisa flyers, in

GOLDFINGER January 1999 the late 1990s the Sino-Japanese character for woman is replaced with alternative katakana spellings

figure 4.9 GOLDFINGER January 1999 the late 1990s the Sino-Japanese character for woman is replaced with alternative katakana spellings. For example, t > f <0 ? (onna no ko = girlz) and t > f (onna = woman) occur frequently. Katakana spellings of non-loanword terms create a disjuncture that visually marks a departure from conventional meaning. Rendering woman and girl in alternative orthography, therefore, creates semantic distance between traditional or conventional notions of femininity and womanhood.

Shifts in the semantics of Tokyo nightlife can also be traced through the self-reference terms used in the flyers: ‘party’ in English (circa 1994) or katakana (circa 1995); ‘club’ or ‘night club event’ in katakana (circa 1996; 1998-1999); and one night fantasy or fantasy night in katakana (circa 1999).17 The term party has connotations of a private social gathering comprised of invited guests only. This interpretation is consistent with the formal style used in the descriptor from the 1994 flyer. In contrast, night club event suggests a special event held at a commercial premise. The dictionary definition of nai- tokurabu (‘nightclub’) refers to members-only establishments, which provide alcoholic beverages and entertainment. Positioning Monalisa/Goldfinger as an ‘event’ (ibento, when transliterated into Japanese) is also consistent with terminology uses to refer to themed nights and parties in the LGBT scene. This stance positions the space as a self-contained reoccurring spectacle that is complete with each separate articulation.

Entertainment districts in Tokyo are awash with a wide variety of clubs ranging from those that sell commercial music and entertainment, such as jazz clubs, to host and hostess clubs which sell intimacy and are part of the affect economy (Allison 1994; Takeyama 2010). There are a plethora of terms used to refer to a wide range of venues which sell a variety of services. In the 1990s, de-accented pronunciation of the word club emerged from within youth culture to distinguish venues styled as house-music or hip-hop clubs from regular sports clubs and other forms of nightclubs. Note, however, that Goldfinger refers to itself as a “one-night fantasy,” not as a “club” as late as 1999.

 
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