Reflecting on the history of film and television drama from the perspective of sexuality and gender, although mainstream visual culture has long presumed heterosexual norms, the stories of hidden people with no voices have sometimes surfaced. It is evident that in the shadows of the mainstream, love and affection between people of the same sex have stood up against the “normal” view of femininity and masculinity, and we have heard tales of relationships that have no name. In recent years, there have been historical studies regarding how the mainstream lifestyle presented in visual culture established itself while insidiously exploiting certain minorities. Museums and art galleries have also attempted to uncover histories that have been suppressed. Reflecting critically on their curation in the past that has centered on norms that privilege the majority, museums and galleries are aiming to change this and to value in their exhibitions and archives the memories, representation, and history of minorities. This exhibition is part of this shift and uses various different materials to present the history of film and television drama from after the war until the beginning of 2020 with a particular emphasis on the representation of diversity of gender and sexuality.
This exhibition does not comprehensively cover all the films and television dramas that deal with sexual minorities. Furthermore, although this exhibition uses the collective term “LGBTQ+,” the sexual minority represented in Japanese visual culture is almost exclusively the gay man. There are still a few works depicting transgender women or lesbians, and there are certainly almost no commercial films whose main protagonists are people with other sexual orientations or gender identities such as those who are non-binary or asexual. We hope that this exhibition will contribute to correction of such unbalanced representation in the current decade and beyond and that it will provide an opportunity for visitors to reflect on past works and reconfigure the history of film and television drama from a different perspective.
Most importantly, as the theme of gender and sexuality is surely of personal interest to everyone, we hope that the exhibition enables us to envisage a future that is slightly more comfortable, not only for members of sexual minorities, but for us all.