Tokyo, gender and mobility: Tracking fictional characters on real monorails, trains, subways and trams | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 1, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2050-9790
  • E-ISSN: 2050-9804



Multiple strands of early twenty-first-century Tokyo’s gendered narratives find expression in a large body of internationally circulated short stories, novels and films from Japan that figuratively incorporate portions of the city’s actual transportation infrastructure. It is an infrastructure that frames and defines Tokyo – a ‘city of trains’ – as a socially dynamic geographical entity. Urban rail-system-rich texts such as Noboru Tsujihara’s ‘My Slightly Crooked Brooch’ – along with Natsuo Kirino’s Real World, Fuminori Nakamura’s The Thief, Shosuke Murakami’s Train Man, Banana Yoshimoto’s ‘Newlywed’, and Hsiao-Hsien Hou’s Café Lumière – show the illusoriness (especially for women) of the alluring promise of mobility in both life and on the rails. At the same time, they contain hints of newly emerging interventions and choices, along with the possibility of a counter-hegemonic discourse in which women resolutely assert their agency on a rail system built by and mostly for men.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a success
Invalid data
An error occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error