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X-gender (Japanese: Xジェンダー, romanizedx-jendā) is a third-gender that differs from M, for male, or F, for female.[1][2][3] The term X-gender came into use during the later 1990s, popularized by queer organizations in Kansai, especially in Osaka and Kyoto.[4][5] The term is used in place of non-binary and genderqueer in Japan.[6][7][8][9][10][11][12]

Prominent examples of people who define themselves as "X-gender" are mangaka Yūki Kamatani[13][14] and Yuu Watase.[15][16][17]

In 2019, Japan LGBT Research Institute Inc. conducted an online survey, collecting 348,000 valid responses from people aged 20 to 69, not all of whom were LGBT. 2.5% of the respondents called themselves X-gender.[18]

Word origin

The Japanese term X-gender is made up of an X indicating indeterminacy and the loan word gender, which is borrowed from English but may have somewhat different connotations from the English term. The international terms "transgender", "genderqueer" or "non-binary" or their Japanese-language equivalents were historically rarely used for such gender identities in Japan.[5]

The Kansai region on the Japanese main island is assumed to be the origin of the expression, where it appeared again and again in publications by queer (homosexual) groups in the course of the 1990s, although the exact origin is unknown. The meaning is first considered and defined in detail in an issue of Poco a poco magazine, published by G-Front Kansai in 2000, which contained several articles about people who would be classified as X-gender. However, the term itself only appeared in the glossary. Through one of the founding members of the group, who participated in several interviews and documentaries, x-jendā (pronounced ekkusu jendā in Japanese) further established. As a result, the term became more widespread through use in social media and increased awareness of the gender discourse in public opinion.[5]


X-gender is considered part of the transgender spectrum and is often considered a gender identity disorder (Japanese: 性同一性障害, romanizedseidōitsuseishōgai). Since "X-gender" encompasses a wide variety of gender identities, there is no clear definition of this category in terms of a specific gender; three subgroups are used by some queer groups but has no mainstream reach:[5][19]

The word component -sei () used in all of these designations means "gender" and refers to both biological and identity characteristics.

In addition there is a fourth subgroup

There are multiple explanations for gender identity that can be summarized as X gender, including but not limited to the above, and variations of neutrality such as "male-leaning neutrality," neutrality with gender identity other than gender binary, and examples of both genders but feeling superior to one gender or the other, so even if the term is the same on the surface, there is a range in perception by the parties involved.[20][21]

The meanings of "transgender" and "gender identity disorder" originally referred to the change between the two sexes man-woman: from one to the other entirely (transsexuality). Part of the ideas was also that there was only this dual gender, combined with a heteronormativity of the respective sexual orientation (opposite sex love). In contrast, Japanese X-gender offers an indefinite possibility of gender assignment outside of the two categories without questioning their binary or heteronormativity.[5]

See also



  1. ^ Dale, S. P. F. (2012). An introduction to X-Jendā: Examining a new gender identity in Japan. Intersections: Gender and sexuality in Asia and the Pacific, 31.
  2. ^ "Pushing for 'X-gender' recognition | NHK WORLD-JAPAN News". NHK WORLD. Archived from the original on June 6, 2023. Retrieved July 8, 2021.
  3. ^ "Non-Binary in Japan". ABNRML JAPAN. Archived from the original on May 19, 2022. Retrieved July 8, 2021.
  4. ^ "【XラウンジからNEWS!】参議院議員の尾辻かな子さんへのレインボー・アクションの陳情で、Xラウンジから要望書を提出しました。" [[NEWS from X Lounge!] We submitted a request form from the X Lounge in response to a petition of Kanae Otsuji, a member of the House of Councilors, about the rainbow action.]. Rainbow Action (in Japanese). Archived from the original on February 21, 2020. Retrieved December 21, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d e "An Introduction to X-Jendā: Examining a New Gender Identity in Japan". Archived from the original on March 26, 2023. Retrieved December 21, 2020.
  6. ^ "Xジェンダーのための会員制サークル label X(ラベル・エックス)". label X(ラベル・エックス). Retrieved July 8, 2021.
  7. ^ Alexy, Allison; Cook, Emma E.; Alexy, Allison; Cook, Emma E.; Dale, S. P. F.; Dales, Laura (2018). Intimate Japan: Ethnographies of Closeness and Conflict. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press. ISBN 978-0-8248-7704-0.
  8. ^ «ノンバイナリー(Xジェンダー)とは Archived 2021-04-22 at the Wayback Machine». (in Japanese).
  9. ^ "The ABCs of LGBT+ in Japan". GaijinPot Blog. July 17, 2019. Retrieved July 8, 2021.
  10. ^ "Selected Links on Non-Binary Gender in Japan: Xジェンダー". GENDERQUEER AND NON-BINARY IDENTITIES. Retrieved July 8, 2021.
  11. ^ Kusakabe, Motomi (May 5, 2016). "男でも女でもない「Xジェンダー」に理解を". Mainichi Shimbun. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  12. ^ "Selected Links on Non-Binary Gender in Japan: Xジェンダー". March 28, 2013. Retrieved December 21, 2020.
  13. ^ @yuhkikamatani (May 7, 2012). "隠すことでもわざわざ言うことでもカテゴライズするようなことでもないと分かっているけど、無難に生きようと、へらへら誤魔化している自分に対して無性に腹立たしく思う時があります。誤魔化したくない。私はXジェンダーでアセクシャルなセクシュアルマイノリティです。そんな程度の人間です。" (Tweet). Archived from the original on May 19, 2018 – via Twitter.
  14. ^ "鎌谷悠希 (@yuhkikamatani) | Twitter". March 8, 2016. Archived from the original on March 8, 2016. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  15. ^ @wataseyuu_ (May 20, 2019). ブログでもここでも呟いたけど、再度。 漫画にも影響してると思うから。 私はXジェンダーと医師に診断されてて、中身は、男にも女にも寄れるし男でも女でもない。 見た目はちゃんと(20代後半から社会に合わせて)どうせやるならやるでメイクもオシャレもする、それだけ。 女性の身体は否定しないが→ [I've mumbled about it on my blog and here, but again. Because I think it affects the manga. I've been diagnosed as X-gender by my doctor, and inside, I can be either male or female, neither male nor female. I look fine (I've been socially conscious since my late 20s), I do my makeup and dress up any way I can, that's all. I don't deny the female body, but... →] (Tweet) (in Japanese). Archived from the original on June 29, 2021. Retrieved January 18, 2021 – via Twitter.
  16. ^ Liu, Michelle (January 1, 2020). "Best LGBTQ+ Characters of 2019". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on January 1, 2020. Retrieved January 18, 2021. The same year [2019], Fushigi Yugi creator Yuu Watase came out as X-gender ...
  17. ^ Adler, Liz (February 26, 2020). "Fushigi Yuugi: 10 Things That Didn't Age Well". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on February 27, 2020. Retrieved January 18, 2021. Mangaka Yuu Watase came out as X-gender in 2019 ...
  18. ^ "Most people in Japan know LGBT but understanding limited". Kyodo News. December 11, 2019. Archived from the original on June 6, 2020. Retrieved December 21, 2020.
  19. ^ a b ACTION, Rainbow. "【XラウンジからNEWS!】参議院議員の尾辻かな子さんへのレインボー・アクションの陳情で、Xラウンジから要望書を提出しました。". (in Japanese). Archived from the original on August 21, 2014. Retrieved April 1, 2022.
  20. ^ 5分 (May 21, 2021). "Xジェンダーとは?男でも女でもない性の在り方をタイプ別に図解!体験談あり". (in Japanese). Retrieved April 1, 2022.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  21. ^ "Xジェンダーとは? 【男女の枠に属さないってどういうこと?】 | LGBT就活・転職活動サイト「JobRainbow」". August 7, 2020. Retrieved April 1, 2022.
  22. ^ a b c 2019, Allison Alexy, Emma E. Cook, Intimate Japan: Ethnographies of Closeness and Conflict, page 166: In Japan, acronyms are often used in talking about transgender identities—namely, FTM (female to male); MTF (male to female); and, in the case of x-gender, FTX (female to X), MTX (male to X), and XTX (used in the case of intersex individuals […] )
  23. ^ a b c 性別が、ない!~両性具有の物語~6巻 - p9 ,新井祥 · 2009年
  24. ^ a b c LGBTだけじゃ、ない!「性別」のハナシ - 第 1 巻,新井祥
  25. ^ "Glossary | The Gender and Sexuality Campus Center | Michigan State University". Retrieved April 19, 2022.