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Download Working Out in Japan: Shaping the Female Body in Tokyo Fitness Clubs djvu

by Laura Spielvogel

Author: Laura Spielvogel
Subcategory: Women's Health
Language: English
Publisher: Duke University Press Books (January 31, 2003)
Pages: 264 pages
Category: Fitness and Health
Rating: 4.3
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Working Out in Japan is a theoretically sophisticated analysis informed by wide reading and . Laura Spielvogel views notions of the body and gender in contemporary Japanese popular culture from an interesting new angle.

Working Out in Japan is a theoretically sophisticated analysis informed by wide reading and well-grounded in the author’s extensive experience as a fitness instructor. Allen Guttmann, coauthor of Japanese Sports: A History.

Working Out in Japan book. An aerobics instructor in two of Tokyo’s most popular fitness club chains from 1995 to 1997, Laura Spielvogel captures the diverse voices of club members, workers, and managers; women and men; young and old. Fitness clubs have proliferated in Japanese cities over the past decade. Yet, despite the pervasive influence of a beauty industry that values thinness above all else, they have met with only mixed success.

Laura Spielvogel's outstanding book, Working Out in Japan, introduces yet another character to this mix in the figure of the aerobics instructor, a young woman who has much in common with the OL (office lady), especially in her frustrations with inequities in the workplace

Laura Spielvogel's outstanding book, Working Out in Japan, introduces yet another character to this mix in the figure of the aerobics instructor, a young woman who has much in common with the OL (office lady), especially in her frustrations with inequities in the workplace. The work the aerobics instructor performs and the quest for beauty and power she embodies make her story an especially compelling one, prompting me to introduce her in a narrative style here as a way to begin my discussion of Working Out in Japan.

Adapted from Spielvogel’s doctoral dissertation, Working Out in Japan is based on thirteen months of fieldwork conducted in two Tokyo health clubs in 1995. Her certification and previous experience as a fitness instructor in the .

Moreover, the visual images included in the text are not merely illustrations but are integral to the argument. In this respect, this is nothing less than a model book. However, the subjects of the colonization project at the core of this book raise further questions. What were the "traditional" sexual values and practices in the widely different regions of rural Japan? How did urban values differ? And how did those values differ by class?

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Beer, ice cream, and socializing; thighs, abs, and pecs—Japanese fitness clubs combine entertainment and exercise, reflecting the Japanese concept of fitness as encompassing a zest for life as well as physical health. Through an engaging account of these clubs, Working Out in Japan reveals how beauty, bodies, health, and leisure are understood and experienced in Japan today. An aerobics instructor in two of Tokyo’s most popular fitness club chains from 1995 to 1997, Laura Spielvogel captures the diverse voices of club members, workers, and managers; women and men; young and old. Fitness clubs have proliferated in Japanese cities over the past decade. Yet, despite the pervasive influence of a beauty industry that values thinness above all else, they have met with only mixed success . Exploring this paradox, Spielvogel focuses on the tensions and contradictions within the world of Japanese fitness clubs and on the significance of differences between Japanese and North American philosophies of mind and body. Working Out in Japan explores the ways spaces and bodies are organized and regulated within the clubs, the frustrations of female instructors who face various gender inequities, and the difficult demands that the ideal of slimness places on Japanese women. Spielvogel’s vivid investigation illuminates not only the fitness clubs themselves, but also broader cultural developments including the growth of the service industry and the changing character of work and leisure in Japan.