This week: feminism in fashion design, Banana Fish’s resonance for assault survivors, and a retrospective on trailblazing politician Patsy Takemoto Mink.
Dee highlights the horror-thriller’s underlying themes about fighting oppressive systems, particularly as it applies to roles “allowed” for women.
Dy highlights some of the make-or-break tropes of the genre, including heroine agency, abuse dynamics, and love interests respecting boundaries.
Shoji Kawamori’s latest effort is plagued by muddled production values and tired tropes like the spacey genius who relies on the women in his life to take care of him and giant, camera-filling boobs.
Which series actually nail the experience of school as a part of growing up?
CHARISMA.COM RETURNS FROM HIATUS, RELEASES LATEST MUSIC VIDEO (Otaquest, Lachlan Johnston)
The former electronic-rap duo is currently returning with MC Itsuka as a solo artist for the new single.
The official website for Charisma.com now describes the project below (while it may not be the best English, the official English bio has been inserted)
Charisma.com (charisma dot com)
MC project by one day.
Daily basis lyric that everyone dissatisfaction and entertaining, Unusual bitter to truncate the absurdity of the world To haircut is described as “sharp tongue wrapped”.
Cultivated dance force in high wrap and students era of skills in weapons, expand the live performance like no other.
In addition, visual creative to devise in itself as the ever-changing, to surprise the fans show a variety of face.
Unique costumes and hair style, and shot the one and only presence in, such as free self-expression make-up, have been attracting attention as a fashion icon.
Going against a global trend, Japan lags on boardroom diversity: study (The Japan Times, Lee Miller and Livia Yap)
The study assessed 500 of the largest publicly traded companies around that world.
Eleven percent of those companies worldwide didn’t have a single woman on the board at the end of their most recent fiscal year, according to data compiled from company statements and filings. Of those with none, 15 were based in Japan and 13 in China.
“Asia is still behind on best practices regarding board diversity,” said Marleen Dieleman, an associate professor of strategy and policy at the National University of Singapore. “Most boards in Asia do recognize the value of diversity. Yet, board chairs do not necessarily feel the urgency to change.”
Japanese companies without any female directors included telecom operator SoftBank Group Corp., Nintendo Co., Uniqlo-parent Fast Retailing Co. and 7-Eleven owner Seven & I Holdings.
‘Shortcake Cake’ Is A Sweet Shoujo Manga Surprise (Black Nerd Problems, Carrie McClain)
A short review of the first volume of the boarding school romcom.
Ten Serizawa is our aloof, soft spoken high school girl protagonist in the same vein of Mei Tachibana from Say I love Youand at times in your face like Futaba Yoshioka from Blue Spring Ride. She’s completely oblivious to the opposite sex but observant about other matters and honest to a fault. She’s excited for this new chapter in her life: a chance to live with her hometown friend Agegha along with meeting new people, possibly making new friends.
Watching her interact with all the characters in the boarding house makes for good fun. Like when she meets Riku, the biggest flirt that side of the planet (and immediately knows he’s the worst) who treats the boarders to the visuals of girls coming to confess to him during dinner time outside the building. Seeing Ten be in awe of the philosophical pretty boy Chiaki who all the girls at school idolize, but he wouldn’t be able to tell because his nose is always in a book.
Sparkler Monthly Magazine: Year 6 (Kickstarter)
The LGBTQ+-friendly magazine runs several shoujo-inspired series with queer romance and characters of color.
Based off of Japanese comic magazines like Shonen Jump, our stories are published in a serialized format. Every month, we release an issue featuring new installments of five different series. When a series is complete, we then republish it as a digital ebook and/or physical paperback, often with updated or bonus content.
We also run special features like podcasts with every issue to give our readers more bang for their buck. Between our social media, site comments, reader surveys, and contests, we regularly invite our audience members to become part of the Sparkler community – sometimes literally, through our periodic open submissions where we look for new stories for the magazine!
4 ABSURD THINGS 90S SAILOR MOON FANS FOUGHT OVER (Tuxedo Unmasked)
A brief historical listicle that’s a snapshot of 90s internet fandom.
For awhile there, we had two official translations of Sailor Moon (via the anime and manga) running concurrently, leading to some confusion over how to refer to Usagi in the English canon. And naturally, when there’s some confusion between which is the correct option among two choices, people like to attack the opposing party into oblivion.
For what it’s worth, I think the name Serena generally won out in the end because not had fans been using that name longer, but most products/toys on the market were licensed through the anime and wound up using Serena as well.
K-pop group drops plans to collaborate with AKB48 producer (The Asahi Shimbun, Yoshihiro Makino)
Backlash to the initial announcement accused the producer of mistreating members of AKB48.
The management office of the seven-member South Korean group announced on its official fan club website Sept. 16 that it will not release a new Japanese single “Bird,” whose lyrics Akimoto wrote, that is scheduled for release in Japan on Nov. 7, and replace it with another song.
Akimoto is the brains behind the hugely popular all-female idol group AKB48.
When BTS first announced its intention to collaborate with Akimoto as lyric writer of the new song, many BTS fans criticized the decision on social networking sites and other platforms.
“He uses girls as products (not as humans)” one fan wrote. Another accused him of being a “right-winger who uses the Rising Sun flag as a stage prop.”
Patsy Takemoto Mink’s Trailblazing Testimony Against a Supreme Court Nominee (The Atlantic, Ellen Lee)
A memorial retrospective on the politician who campaigned on anti-war and pro-women stances.
Throughout her trailblazing career—which included two tours and 12 terms in Congress from 1965 to 1977 and 1991 to 2002—Mink was a steadfast advocate for women. Among her most well-known endeavors, she co-authored and championed Title IX, a law aimed at ending gender discrimination in higher education that was signed into law by Nixon in 1972. Upon Mink’s death in 2002, it was renamed the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act.
Mink also pushed for legislation to support better child care and early-childhood education, as well as for millions of dollars in funding so that schools could train teachers, update textbooks and curricula, and offer programs to make education more equitable for girls.
As the first woman of color elected to Congress, Mink also supported the Civil Rights movement. In her first act in Congress, she joined the protest against Mississippi’s suppression of black voters. Later, she also spoke out against the treatment of Wen Ho Lee, the Taiwanese American scientist arrested because of his race for espionage in 1999 and later exonerated.
The Best Heroes Help Us Learn to Lose (VRV, Terence Wiggins)
On mental illness and writing characters that experience failures and grow from them.
I didn’t see a therapist for my anxiety and depression until 7 years after I was diagnosed. The dismissal of mental illness encourages sufferers to bury our problems deep down and put on a brave face, like the heroes of so many stories. But nothing will get better if we don’t stare our issues in the face.
If Sora didn’t acknowledge his worries, if Aqua didn’t acknowledge her fears, if Midoriya didn’t acknowledge his failings, and if Todoroki didn’t acknowledge his past, they would all be vastly different characters with none of the emotional weight that makes them so appealing.
In life, we’re often looking for a quick cure to whatever ails us—why wouldn’t we? Pain is by definition awful, and it’s natural to want to escape it. And yet mental illness is often rooted so deeply that it takes years to address. It can be invigorating, then, to engage with power fantasies where simple determination solves all of the protagonist’s problems.
But for me, it’s been more valuable to see stories where the protagonists really struggle, where individual willpower and bravery isn’t enough, where they don’t always win. These stories remind us that we’re not alone.
“Used, Not Displayed”: Artist Ruri Clarkson On Exploring Feminism Through Fashion (Savvy Tokyo, Lucy Dayman)
Clarkson’s art takes traditional elements of Japanese society and interweaves them with modern elements.
There were two forces in play in the making of the series. First was the #metoo movement and the women’s march. As a feminist who’s been vocal about some of these issues, it was such an awesome sight to see, and it forced me to think about what I was doing to contribute. At the same time, I was frequenting the permanent collection of the National Museum of Tokyo to feast my eyes on kimono, ukiyoe, and other crafts from the past. I developed a rapport with the silent motifs of kimono and old scrolls, but when I’d go outside under the daylight, I wouldn’t see anyone wearing them.
I felt the motifs sat silent in the darken rooms, similar to so many women who in their own way keep silent in the dark, waiting for the time to speak out. I yanked the retired motifs from the waters of the past, and brought them back into my studio. It wasn’t long before the motifs wiggled into action, and guided me as if having wills of their own. They demanded to be used and not displayed, out and about on the streets, on daily items used by the women of today.
Part one of a two-part essay series on how the series critiques Takarazuka’s otokoyaku/musumeyaku system.
The separation of roles into otokoyaku and musumeyaku was part of why the Takarazuka Revue’s success skyrocketed. A more defined line between the two coincided with a new, significantly larger theatre and the progression of modern technology like portable microphones. All of this led to larger audiences who saw this new otokoyaku which portrayed an idealized type of man that bordered both sexes and had infinite appeal for young women attending Takarazuka performances.
Before this, it was the musumeyaku who was more of a headlining presence. Musumeyaku were also held to stricter singing standards, and those standards did not change even with the evolution of the otokoyaku and the top star system, which left musumeyaku completely out of the picture. Every musumeyaku was partnered with an otokoyaku and their performance tailored to support their otokoyaku at all costs.
More importantly, in order for the otokoyaku to effectively become a man, the feminine performance of the musumeyaku had to support this idea, not only covering for their partner’s mistakes when necessary, but being the perfect feminine foil so the otokoyaku’s masculine performance would stand out more in relief. The musumeyaku has to embody this, all while taking care not to skew too much into a romantic interest, so that young women in the audience can still imagine themselves in the arms of their favorite otokoyaku top star. Furthermore, they cannot achieve top star themselves, and must ensure that their talents do not outshine those of their otokoyaku partner. If their otokoyaku partner does become top star, the otokoyaku will have a few years in the spotlight before retirement. Top stars shine for a limited amount of time. Musumeyaku paired with a top star will sometimes retire at the same time, so the two exit the stage as a pair.
『BANANA FISH』アッシュはなぜ女性に支持される？ 「#MeToo」運動にも関連する生き方を考察 (Real Sound)
An article about how Banana Fish’s Ash has resonated over the years with readers, particularly female readers, who’d survived sexual harassment and assault. We’d hoped to provide a translation of this article for the site, but were unfortunately unable to secure permissions from Real Sound. Still, we wanted to at least include the original article as a link.
Just for a fun, a Very Serious personality quiz.
It’s been a pretty quiet week here—keep your answers rolling in!