Date of Graduation

Spring 2024


Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice


Criminology and Criminal Justice

Committee Chair

Samantha Tjaden


Employing an exploratory sequential research design, including focus groups and an online survey, this thesis explores the factors influencing how Japanese people navigate the gray zones of sexual consent. This study not only addresses gaps in the literature on sexual consent but also provides a preliminary understanding of Japanese individuals’ perceptions, beliefs, behaviors, and experiences in ambiguous sexual interactions, which is particularly meaningful given Japan’s recent legal revisions and changing sociocultural landscape. Findings indicated the impact of traditional sexual scripts on consent perceptions, with gender and relationship norms contributing to the dismissal of sexual assaults within specific relationships. It was also found that the presence of nonconsent communication was crucial in determining sexual coerciveness. Moreover, the results suggested that token resistance beliefs might serve as a risk factor against sexual offending but a protective factor for sexual victimization. While it is too soon to draw any conclusions to inform sexual violence prevention and intervention policies given the study’s limitations, this thesis provides insights for future research, emphasizing the importance of understanding consent in diverse cultural contexts for fostering healthy sexual relationships in a manner that is respectful and effective within that culture.


sexual violence, sexual consent, gray zones, sexual scripts, token resistance, Japan

Subject Categories

Asian Studies | Criminal Law | Criminology | Criminology and Criminal Justice | Domestic and Intimate Partner Violence | Gender and Sexuality | Other Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Sexuality and the Law


© Samara Mizutani Cesar

Open Access