This week: the sukeban girl gangs of the 1970s, an anime ad whitewashes tennis star Naomi Osaka, why queer romance is key to understanding SSSS.Gridman.
A pretty harmless cute-girls-go-adventuring fantasy series with painfully impractical costumes and some racially stereotyped background characters.
All of the season’s premieres in one place, with one-sentence summaries and content warnings.
Alex Henderson returns to detail how Starlight’s meta-story disassembles tired old tropes about the “required” tragic endings for queer characters.
The watchalong dives into the weirdest, wildest twists of a show that can already be pretty darn out there.
A dedicated space for anyone who wants to discuss their experiences or the most recent harassment allegations in the community.
As Spreadsheet Of Accused Abusers Spreads, Anime Conventions Get Their MeToo Movement (Kotaku, Cecillia D’Anastasio)
An open-source spreadsheet of alleged abusers is currently available in an attempt to spread awareness, but it can be added to by anyone and there is no verification system for the claims.
The editor-in-chief of the Cosplay Survivor’s Support Network, who goes by Trickssi, agrees that there are problems with the spreadsheet format, but takes another perspective. “That spreadsheet is not a good solution,” she explained over e-mail. “It was intended to help, and those intentions were good, but it continues to be a bandaid. . . . Such a spreadsheet also implies that it’s the victims’ responsibility to look over the list and have knowledge of who the predators are, and if the victim doesn’t know, that it’s their fault for not knowing. That’s known as victim blaming and it’s a part of the greater rape culture that exists thoroughly within the cosplay/convention/’nerd’ community. It also comes up in the form of, ‘Well, if you didn’t want to get harassed, why did you wear that costume?’
Someone lost their noodle making this new Nissin ad featuring Naomi Osaka (The Japan Times, Baye McNeil)
The ad features an anime version of tennis star Osaka with lightened skin. Nissin issued an apology in the wake of the backlash.
Sure, anime fans aren’t used to seeing women of color in the genre so … a few shades lighter on the skin here … a debroadening of the nose there … the de-exoticization of her hair … and, voila! The perfectly palatable girl next door. Not for this fan, though. Osaka’s de-blackening is as problematic to me as a Bobby Riggs tirade against female tennis players.
Osaka unapologetically professes to be the gumbo of all her disparate ingredients; not Japanese, not Haitian, not American — she’s just Naomi, a human being who desires nothing more than to be identified by her character and abilities in a world longing to label her. It’s this fact, as much as her athletic acumen, that has made her a role model for a great and growing number of mixed-heritage and biracial youth everywhere, but particularly here in Japan. These are people whose young impressionable hearts and minds are struggling to forge a positive identity and build a healthy sense of self-esteem in an environment that too often isn’t conducive to that because of factors beyond their control. And, hey, they’re also potential customers.
The Duality of Miki (Coherent Cats, Karleen)
An analysis of how DEVILMAN crybaby splits the manga character of Miki into two characters representing the dichotomy of “acceptable” female roles.
The human mob on the hunt for demons and sympathizers forces the Mikis together, where they’re finally able to confront their feelings for each other. Kuroda lets down her walls to confesses her inferiority complex and love for Makimura all at once. Internalized misogyny made her see Makimura as a rival in athleticism and looks she was losing to, compounded by sharing a name. The competition over the title of Miki, the icon of womanhood in Devilman, reflects how real women compare themselves to others of the same gender. We’re taught there’s only room for one woman–if any–to be accepted and respected, so scrutinize ourselves and resent other women.
‘Short skirts cause sexual assaults,’ according to Japanese school uniform poster (Japan Today, Oona McGee)
The poster was apparently designed in 2012 to be in-line with police seminars about self-defense. The posters have been recalled an apology issued.
This section of the apology suggests that their message was in line with advice doled out by police to students at the time, which, if true, is a worrying state of affairs. However, cautioning women to take measures to protect themselves is different to blatantly blaming the length of their skirt for the crimes, and Kanko acknowledges this by saying: “As has been pointed out, the statement that ‘The short skirt that you think is kawaii leads to sex crimes’ suggests that the woman herself has done something wrong. We deeply apologize for the deep offence this statement caused. We will reexamine our processes to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”
The Marie Kondo Books Debate Has Classist & Racist Undertones That Can’t Be Ignored (Bustle, Kerri Jarema)
Backlash to Kondo’s “decluttering” method as it applies to books snowballed into a sometimes deliberately misconstruing mess with troubling undertones.
Oh cites an article in The Guardian by Anakana Schofield, written after Schofield’s viral KonMari tweet, as one example of “a willful misunderstanding of Kondo’s statements here to suit her own narrative.” Oh says, “There is an overemphasis on the words ‘spark joy’ without understanding what [Kondo] really means by it. Tokimeki doesn’t actually mean joy. It means throb, excitement, palpitation. Just this basic understanding annihilates Schofield’s argument that books should not only spark joy but challenge and perturb us. Tokimeki would imply that if a book that challenges and perturbs us also gives us a positive reaction, then why wouldn’t you keep it?”
Oh also mentions Wright’s now-deleted tweet in which she called Kondo “a monster,” saying, “The deliberate misunderstanding starts with forgetting that the advice is geared to people looking to declutter their life in the first place. If that doesn’t apply to you, then don’t listen.”
The decision has been prompted due to the recent abdication of the current emperor and upcoming ascendency of his successor in April.
But excluding female members could be viewed as being out of touch with the times.
In contrast, the government will allow female Cabinet ministers to participate in the rite on the grounds that they are unrelated to the Imperial succession and would be attending as observers.
Currently, the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has only one female minister: Satsuki Katayama, who is in charge of regional revitalization.
Organizers Say Comiket is No Place for Hate Speech After Anti-Korean, Chinese Stickers Were Discovered at Doujin Booth (Anime News Network, Kim Morrissy)
The statement was made in light of “No Chinese or Koreans allowed” stickers being sold at a booth.
Comiket‘s after report states that they had not been aware of the existence of the stickers while the event itself had been running. The report also said that at first, their initial stance was that because the perpetrators do not violate Japanese law, it was the circle’s own responsibility, and not that of Comiket‘s. However, after deliberation, the committee has come to the conclusion that they will not tolerate any discrimination within the “space” that is Comiket. Should any similar situation arise again, the committee will take prompt action.
In 2016, Japan’s National Diet enacted a Hate Speech Act in order to comply with the United Nation’s “International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.” However, the law does not contain penalties for perpetrators of hate speech.
Ladies & The Law: Making A Difference In Japan’s TV Industry Gender Bias (Savvy Tokyo, Vicki L Beyer)
A retelling of two cases, one from the 70s where a woman sued after being told she was “too old” to work in front of the camera, and one from 2013 where a college student had a job offer withdrawn when her prospective employer found she was working part-time as a hostess.
At the end of 2013, SR, a university student with aspirations of becoming a television announcer, received a naiteisho (an indication of intention to hire) from Nippon Television. Naiteisho are commonly used by companies when hiring students who have not yet graduated from university. A naiteisho is essentially a commitment from the company to give the student a job upon successful completion of his/her education coupled with a commitment from the student that he/she will join the company upon graduation. Based on those mutual commitments—effectively a tentative employment contract—, the student is expected to halt his/her job hunting activities.
This is what happened in the case of SR. But some months later, thinking she had secured her post-graduation employment, SR was shocked to receive a notice from Nippon Television that they were canceling her naiteisho. The station had determined that since SR had worked part-time as a “hostess” in a Ginza club during her student days she was unsuitable to work for them as an announcer. SR did what any self-respecting aspiring professional would do under those circumstances: she sued.
You Don’t Get Gridman If You Don’t Think It’s Gay (YouTube, ThePedanticRomantic)
An analysis of the series and the importance of the Rikka/Akane relationship.
I hope this take wasn’t too spicy for anyone! One thing I do wanna mention is that interpreting Rikka as bi definitely makes sense given her romantic coding with both Yuuta and Akane, didn’t make that clear in the vid.
Meet Japan’s Schoolgirl Gangs of the 70s That Became a Menace to Patriarchy (NextShark, Ryan General)
A photo-heavy tribute to the sukeban gangs of the 70s.
They expressed rebellion against the sailor-style uniforms by wearing unusually long skirts, converse sneakers and untied scarves. Some even cut blouses to expose their waists in a bid to do away with the “prim-and-proper” look.
The chosen aesthetic was observed as a form of protest against the sexualized portrayal of teen girls at the time while the weapons are a means of protection and a statement showing that they are not mere objects of men’s desires.
Sukeban gangs had a hierarchy, upheld fierce loyalty and maintained a strict code of justice among members. For instance, cigarette burns are used as a form of punishment for minor infractions such as stealing a boyfriend or disrespecting another member. Meanwhile, major trespasses were reportedly dealt with by lynching.
Remember to keep safe and support one another out there, AniFam. The following thread is a collection of articles regarding to the last set of allegations to come out, involving the head of the Anime Matsuri convention.
Note: Anime Matsuri's showrunner is *also* credibly accused of sexual harassment, and went as far as to file a C&D against a fashion vlogger to keep the story down. I don't think the convention's full endorsement holds much water, here. https://t.co/lI82sCdGhZ
— Samantha Ferreira, Anime Herald's Sakura Wars Nerd (@sam_animeherald) January 21, 2019