This section contains five chapters looking at diverse sexual subcultures and communities throughout the region. The section opens with a chapter by Patrick Galbraith on otaku sexuality in Japan. Otaku is a Japanese term originally meaning ‘you’ or ‘your house’ which in the 1980s came to be widely applied to ‘nerdy’ young men who eschewed social contact, preferring to remain at home with their collections of manga, animation and video games. In recent times otaku has become a more general term for all avid fans of popular culture, particularly those who express their fervour through collecting or even dressing up (‘costume playing’, ‘cos-play’, or ‘kosu-pure’) as their favourite fictional characters. Although it may seem odd to ascribe a particular kind of sexual culture to otaku, there is considerable media discussion in Japanese that does just this. Otaku are regarded as having damaged or deviant sexualities due to the ‘harmful’ effects of overexposure to the hypersexualised or violent aspects of Japanese popular culture, and they are also chastised for showing a preference for fictional characters instead of actual people. Galbraith points to a counter-discourse which redeems otaku sexuality. Rather than seeing otaku as ‘failed men’ due to their abandonment of conventional masculine roles, particularly heterosexual reproduction, they are seen as pioneering new forms of intimacy which they can share with others through otaku social networks.

Denise Tang considers how Hong Kong’s particular built environment has been a determining factor in the kinds of lesbian subcultures that have grown up in the city over recent decades. Tang points out that one reason that lesbian subculture in Hong Kong has not received the same kind of local and international attention as that afforded gay men in the city is due to women’s more precarious financial situation. Unlike gay men, lesbian women are less able to pay the high price for admission or drinks charged by the street-front gay clubs and bars popular with men. Instead, high rents and high cover charges have driven women’s venues to smaller premises in the higher floors in commercial buildings. This lack of physical visibility is no longer a major problem, however, given the opportunities for online communication and networking afforded by the Internet. Tang points out that, since the widespread roll-out of Internet services in the early 2000s, online social networking sites have become one of the main forums for information exchange among lesbian and bisexual women in the city.

Claire Maree places lesbian subcultures in Japan in their historical context. She is particularly interested not only in the development of spaces where lesbians can meet, socialise and access entertainment, but also spaces where lesbians can debate and exercise citizenship. As noted in other chapters in this volume, the Internet has been important in opening new channels of com­munication, largely supplanting an earlier age of magazines and mini-komi (‘mini-communications’, or small-circulation newsletters). The multiple earthquake-tsunami-nuclear disaster of March 2011 in Japan, argues Maree, highlighted the need for inclusive policy making which should recognise that not all citizens and residents of Japan live in heterosexual nuclear family units.

Katsuhiko Suganuma’s chapter on sexual minority studies in Japan offers important new perspectives on the diversity and difference that exist among queer or non-heteronormative communities in today’s Japan. Suganuma points to a tendency in both the Japanese and

English-language literature on sexual minority studies in Japan to homogenise what are in fact very diverse communities. Factors such as ethnicity, religious affiliation and able-bodiedness have not so far been stressed in research into sexual diversity in Japan. Suganuma offers a new approach that looks at difference within difference, arguing that more work needs to be done to understand the particularities of queer inclusivity and exclusion in a Japanese context.

Natalie Newton provides historical background on the changing configurations of same-sex desire and attraction in Vietnamese history. She then maps the changing configurations of non­heterosexuality in contemporary Vietnam. In addition to mapping local sexual subcultures, she also considers how these local groups and individuals are integrated into global circuits. In Vietnam, as in most other East Asian countries, there is no explicit prohibition of same-sex sexual behaviour. Rather, like its socialist neighbours, the Vietnamese government suppresses non-normative sexualities through campaigns against ‘social evils’. Nevertheless, there are thriving non-heterosexual subcultures in contemporary Vietnam.