The presence of Japanese prostitutes in French colonial Tonkin started around the middle of the 1880s. That colonial culture enclosed these girls within the category of the mousmé. This article analyzes the discourses and activities of several actors inside the colony who participated in the refinement of this essentialist category in order to understand the symbolic commodification of Japanese women's bodies. Once they were released onto the prostitution market, Japanese women were classified and marked by the representations of male colonial society, which constructed all facets of these women, from their moral qualities to their visibility.
- © 2012 by the Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved. Please direct all requests for permission to photocopy or reproduce article content through the University of California Press's Rights and Permissions website, http://www.ucpressjournals.com/reprintinfo.asp.