I begin this book with two stories. One is mine as I embarked upon a postdoctoral research project on Japanese motherhood in 1987; the other is of a Japanese professional as he embarked upon his career in 1932. I return to them throughout the book as a means of commenting on my project: to examine divergent, multiple, and sometimes inconsistent constructions of gender and sexuality in contemporary Japan and to test various theoretical strategies for understanding the specific conditions for, and operations of, gendered and sexual behaviors in Japan today.