Dansō? What is dansō?
October 13 – 29
Opening October 12, 6:30 pm

Parsec is hosting the photography exhibition Dansō? What is dansō? curated by Dr. Marta Fanasca and in collaboration with GEMMA – Erasmus Mundus Master’s Degree in Women’s and Gender Studies and Japan Foundation.

Dansō literally means “male clothing,” and is used in Japan to refer to a woman who dresses as a man and practices Female-to-Male crossdressing. A dansō therefore is a person assigned with the female gender at birth who dresses as a man and presents herself with a male gender identity and who, at the same time, does not identify with the categories of ‘transgender’ or ‘non-binary.’

The photographic project is created by the curator and narrates the lives of a group of dansō escorts in Tokyo. Starting in 2006, a specific type of live entertainment developed in Tokyo where these crossdresser identities are the protagonists, the dansō escorting service. Dansō accommodates all of the client’s desires, but sex, kissing, caressing, and physical intimacy belong to the realm of the forbidden, and a client who attempts such an approach will be reported to the company and prevented from using the service again.
A love game in which it is all real as long as you are together, but when the booked time runs out, you go back to your own lives.


PROGRAMME October 12, 2023

3 pm – Teatro del Baraccano
Before the opening of the exhibition there will be a panel discussion DANSŌ? WHAT IS DANSŌ? – Performing Love, Selling Love, Buying Love in Contemporary Japan. Speakers will include: author and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Global Fellow at the LILEC Department of the University of Bologna Marta Fanasca; Deborah Giustini (Hamad Bin Khalifa University and KU Leuven); Marcello Francioni (SOAS University of London) and Giorgio Amitrano (University of Naples ‘L’Orientale’). Professor Rita Monticelli (University of Bologna) will introduce the meeting and Paola Scrolavezza (University of Bologna) will moderate.

6:30 pm – Parsec
Exhibition opening

A meeting with author and curator Marta Falasca will be held during the opening, introduced by Fabrizio Modina (M-Cube Foundation, art curator) and accompanied by a reading of Fanasca’s monograph Female Masculinity and the Business of Emotions in Tokyo.


Dansō? What is dansō?
Oct. 13 – 29

Mon-Thu Closed
Wed-Fri 4 – 7 p.m.
Sat 4 – 8 p.m.
Sun By reservation only

Free admission.

Dr Marta Fanasca is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Global Fellow, the exhibition and related events are part of the outputs of her project Performing Love, Selling Love, Buying Love in Contemporary Japan (HEU_2022_JAPANPSBL, GA101106521 – Japan PSBL – HORIZON-MSCA-2022-PF-01).
Funded by the European Union. However, the view expressed belong to the author(s) alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor the EACEA can be held responsible for them.

The event is realized with the contribution of the Municipality of Bologna.