Japanese girls and women have often used the process of reading and writing imaginative male homoerotic narratives as a means of creating their own specifically female-oriented worlds. These narratives have been constructed and represented as fantasies in various cultural media, including manga comic books, animation, and literary works.1 Matsuura Rieko (b. 1958) is a prominent woman writer who produces narratives of gender discourse and female desire within a male homosexual context. Since the 1978 publication of So-gi no hi (The Day of the Funeral), the majority of Matsuura’s works, including Sebasuchan (Sebastian, 1981), Nachuraru u-man (Natural Woman, 1987), and Oyayubi P no shugyo-jidai (Big Toe P’s Years of Apprenticeship, 1993), raise questions about lesbian identity, especially as this relates to lesbian sado-masochism.2 She repeatedly presents young lesbian protagonists who express and fulfill their desires against a background narrative set in a male homoerotic context. Matsuura’s most recent work, Urava-jon (The Reverse Version, 2000), offers

a particularly powerful female imaginative discourse on women’s fantasies of male homosexuality.3 In the context of “girl reading girl,” the narrative specifically foregrounds the way in which the sense of “girl/woman addressing/ reading girl/woman” may be elaborated within a male homoerotic context. Importantly, Matsuura makes clear how the pleasure and desire involved in girls/women telling stories to other girls/women, and their reading or listening to such stories specifically addressed to them, can articulate with an imagined male homoeroticism. In this chapter, I draw on narratological and psychoanalytic approaches to investigate the narrative processes leading to the construction of female fantasies of male homosexuality, and thereby demonstrate how in The Reverse Version female fantasies of this nature are recast in terms of a “stage-set” for female spectators. Building on this foundation, I then discuss the framework of “girl-addressing-girl,” specifically examining issues surrounding the textual representation of sho-jo (girls), sho-nen (boys), and what I call hi-sho-jo (non-girls), girls who have a desire to affiliate with that which is not of the sho-jo. The primary focus of the latter section of my discussion

foregrounds the ways in which girls’/women’s shared imagination of male homosexuality is elaborated in terms of the idealization of (homosexual) sho-nen and an associated longing to escape complicity with the somewhat negative connotations of female sex and gender as they exist within a patriarchal context.