[Links] 18-24 April 2018: Dual Citizenship, Fan Con, and Rental Families

By: Anime Feminist April 24, 20180 Comments
Silence Suzuka from Umamusume giving Special Week a hug

Thanks for your patience this weekend while we rolled out the new site design, AniFam!

AniFem Round-Up

[Discourse] A Wedding Gown for “Their” Idol: Love Live, male audiences, and idol culture

ZeroReq011 discusses the toxic elements of idol culture stemming from the possessive entitlement around public figures (and protectiveness over 2D archetypes).

[AniFemTalk] How can we support independent creators?

Fan Con left many marginalized, independent creators in the lurch when it was cancelled mere days before the event. We want to spotlight those creators so they can market to new customers and hopefully recoup some of their losses.


Beyond AniFem

Dual citizenship in Japan (The Japan Times, Sakura Murakami and Cory Baird)

Individuals with dual citizenship are heavily pressured to make a decision and renounce one of their nationalities at age 22, leaving many feeling unwanted, uncertain, or fearful of their status.

This climate of fear is creating a vicious cycle of negativity, said Teru Sasaki, professor of sociology at Aomori Public University.

“For some, nationality is the final stronghold of the Japanese identity. The very notion of dual nationality challenges that and creates fear for those who are unfamiliar with the concept,” said Sasaki.

Regardless of whether dual nationality is tacitly approved or not, “the idea of single nationality also tied in with, and reinforced, the Japanese postwar belief in a pure, homogeneous nation-state,” said Atsushi Kondo, a professor at Meijo University in Nagoya. “The wording of the current law shows a very strong hope in maintaining that ideal.”

“For some, nationality is the final stronghold of the Japanese identity. The very notion of dual nationality challenges that and creates fear for those who are unfamiliar with the concept.”

Sasaki noted that this climate of fear became especially prominent during last year’s media frenzy over whether Renho, who at the time was leader of the Democratic Party, held both Japanese and Taiwanese citizenship.

“The recent public backlash over whether Renho had dual nationality created an atmosphere of fear for the individual,” he said.

Intersex Manga Creator Stars in Documentary About Personal Experiences (Anime News Network)

The documentary will cover Sho Arai’s career, love life, and surgical experiences.

The documentary focuses on Arai’s life, explores the question “How is love possible as a sexual minority?,” and aims to fund screenings and distribution publicity for the film through the crowdfunding project. As of the posting of this article, the crowdfunding project has raised 1,736,500 yen (about US$16,000) of its 4 million yen (about US$37,000) goal with six days remaining.

Arai was raised as a woman but had times of becoming more masculine or feminine during teenage years due to hormone fluctuations. Arai married actor and voice actor IKKAN while living as a woman. At 30 years old, Arai underwent testing and discovered that they are intersex due to a chromosomal condition.

Me Too rises in Japan as sexually harassed journalists speak out (The Japan Times, Sayuri Daimon and Mizuho Aoki)

Following an initial complaint against the Finance Minister, female journalists have come out in increasing numbers to speak about harassment in Japanese media.

“Not only is there the fact that the majority of reporters are male, but a more important issue is male-centric values deeply embedded in their working styles, such as working late at night and getting information by meeting a male source one-on-one, even if that comes with risks,” said Kaori Hayashi, a professor of journalism at the University of Tokyo.

In Japan, the definition of “good reporter” often includes the ability to cope with female-unfriendly environments, the professor said. That often leaves women no choice but to meet male sources one on one, regardless of time and place.

“I know that journalism is not an easy profession and there are times when they must go visit officials at their homes late at night or early in the morning to get exclusive information,” said Hayashi, who used to report for Reuters. But she questioned whether thepractice, known as youchi-asagake, is crucial to producing good journalism.

Universal Fan Con: What Went Wrong (Comics Beat, Heidi MacDonald)

A rough timeline of what happened leading up to the last-minute cancellation of Fan Con.

In my youth I helped throw a banquet for a cartooning organization I was involved with. The agony of getting people to commit to steak or chicken instilled in me the knowledge that I would never, ever throw a big event on my own. When I do an event, I pick a nice space and invite nice people. That’s the level I’m capable of. Sometimes you gotta stay in your lane.

The Beat is littered with horrifying yet darkly amusing stories of cons that went bad, but these bad shows hurt real people. Based on what I’ve read and heard, I don’t think the original UFC people were there to abscond with a lot of money. I think they probably wanted the props that comes from doing something that helps a lot of people. I’m guessing that the ones that were part of the community believed in what they were doing. It seems that some shady characters came on board as things went on, but I’ll leave that to another story. Maybe I’m being too generous. Time will tell.

Also: plenty of white run cons fail. Plenty of minority-run and themed shows succeed. This story is a unique and specific one.

Universal Fan Con ended up conning a lot of people, and we’re nowhere near the end of that story. There is a lot of dead horse in that tea for sure.

Some thoughts on ‘oppressed villains’ (Toxic Muffin)

A discussion of antagonists who come from oppressed backgrounds, and how it can work and backfire.

When folk are suffering (even at the hands of others), they are told to be patient and forever strong, to not give in to Satan, devils or to darkness in general. Patience in the face of adversity is admirable, forgiveness in place of revenge is praiseworthy and diplomacy over violence is recommended, but not all adversity’s are equal and it is not the privileged who get to decide how victims should act.

When we focus on the deeds of those suffering and not what caused their suffering, we fail to fix the root cause of their suffering.

Most heroes don’t fight to make the world a better place; they fight to restore the world to a ‘better’ state. They enforce the original status-quo or so to speak. That is why when writing villains and antagonists it is good to be careful lest we create a status-quo not worth returning to.

Japan’s Rent-a-Family Industry (The New Yorker, Elif Batuman)

An article on rental relative services in Japan, written from an outsider’s perspective but with consultation from several native speakers.

In late-nineteenth-century Japan, the state introduced a “romantic-love ideology,” which defined the “ideal sequence of a woman’s life” in similar terms: “romantic love (courtship),” followed by marriage, childbirth, the awakening of a “nurturing maternal love,” and the triumphant assumption of a desexualized “caretaking role.” So writes the anthropologist Akiko Takeyama, in a recent book about Tokyo host clubs, where women pay a cover charge to drink and chat with personable, attentive men. Some housewives have spent tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on their hosts, working extra jobs, economizing on groceries, or extorting their husbands. In this way, they experience “romance” for the first time since they became full-time caregivers and housekeepers, and their husbands started calling them “mother.”

In a sense, the idea of a rental partner, parent, or child is perhaps less strange than the idea that childcare and housework should be seen as the manifestations of an unpurchasable romantic love. Patriarchal capitalism has arguably had a vested interest in promoting the latter idea as a human universal: as the Marxist psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich pointed out, with women providing free housework and caregiving, capitalists could pay men less. There were other iniquities, too. As Gilman observed, when caregiving becomes the exclusive, unpaid purview of wives and mothers, then people without families don’t have access to it: “only married people and their immediate relatives have any right to live in comfort and health.” Her solution was that the unpaid work incumbent on every individual housewife—nursery education, household-work management, food preparation, and so on—should be distributed among paid specialists, of both genders. What often happens instead is that these tasks, rather than becoming respected, well-paid professions, are foisted piecemeal onto socioeconomically disadvantaged women, freeing their more privileged peers to pursue careers.

When Yūichi Ishii talks about “correcting injustice,” he seems to mean much the same thing as Charlotte Perkins Gilman. “Every human being needs a home,—bachelor, husband, or widower, girl, wife, or widow,” Gilman wrote. Thanks to Family Romance, someone like Kazushige Nishida, who loses his family, can rent a wife and a daughter, and, thereby, the comforts of home: varied pancakes, women’s voices saying “Welcome,” the occasional filial poke in the ribs.

Japan breast cancer survivor designs underwear to help others cope with the disease (The Japan Times)

Bowman’s product is made for patients who’ve undergone mastectomies and other cancer-related issues and want comfortable undergarments that also create a symmetrical silhouette.

She asked other cancer survivors to try on her sample products and repeatedly modified them based on their feedback. Many said they felt uncomfortable from the sweat caused by hormone treatments and were bothered by the tightness of the underwear.

Reflecting their input, she decided to make the underwear out of cotton to prevent it from sticking to the skin, and inserted underarm sweat pads. It also uses thin round pads to create a natural curve, and lace instead of wires and elastic bands to provide support.

Bowman raised money through crowdfunding and other means, and started full production and sales from May last year.

She also holds fitting and chat sessions every two months to give women a chance to try the customized underwear and share their experiences with cancer.

The Nerds of Color’s Official Statement on Universal FanCon (The Nerds of Color, Keith Chow)

TNOC worked in an advisory capacity to the Fan Con committee and was one of the many planning to sell their wares at the convention.

Questions abound. I have them; you have them. That FAQ doesn’t answer them. There’s a lot of understandable anger. And the organizers’ statement just exacerbated it.

I ordered a ton of books and merch to sell at our table next weekend. (If you want to help offset some of those costs, please consider purchasing from our TeePublic storeor supporting us on Patreon.) But I’m local so I can eat those costs and still be okay. I can’t fathom what folks are feeling who have non-refundable plane tickets and UPS shipments on the road.

This why I’ve been working with Uraeus from Black Heroes Matter and Patrick from New Release Wednesday to salvage this awful situation and provide something, ANYTHING, for the folks who feel burned a space to celebrate and showcase the talented communities who believed in FanCon.

Violet Evergarden – KyoAni’s Toughest Challenge Yet (Yatta-Tachi, Matthew Li)

A review of the highlights and lowlights of the Winter series.

Like yin-and-yang, the series traverses between episodes that are generally hits to ones that are misses. This is where a pattern is found; each of the best episodes follow a specific singular theme: Violet’s growing realization of life itself. It’s the moments where Violet hits her character beats that carry a transcendent emotion of agony; finding places where beauty can exist in such torment. As a viewer, to feel these expressions as raw as the show’s characters do is the most real treat from the show. Most of these highlights are extended from Haruka Fujita’s involvement with the series.

Having gone through years of mentoring, under peers like Naoko Yamada, Fujita is on a clear path to likely surpassing everyone else as KyoAni’s strongest director. Her delicate touch, especially in episodes 5 and 13, illustrates how skillful she is in understanding her characters, what they feel, and how to eclipse those feelings within the audience. There’s a strong sensation that Fujita fell in love with the character of Violet as she was making the show, and she delivers her feelings for Violet in an explosive manner every chance she gets. Near the end of the show, a portrait shot of Violet coming to terms with her reality lingers with immense weight; a visible footprint of Fujita’s directing.

Japan’s NTT to block websites with links to pirated manga, anime and other content (The Japan Times)

Pirate sites will be inaccessible through the provider, sparking a small amount of worry that there is currently no legal framework for these blackouts beyond governmental request.

A government panel decided on a tentative plan earlier this month to address internet piracy, urging network operators to voluntarily cut off connections to such sites.

Losses stemming from the online piracy of Japanese content such as manga, anime and music totaled an estimated ¥400 billion ($3.7 billion) in 2014, according to the Content Overseas Distribution Association, a private organization working with related industries to deal with copyright infringement.

While the government is still discussing a legal framework for regulating sites that link to pirated content, there have been concerns that such network access control could run afoul of Article 21 of the Constitution, which bans censorship and guarantees privacy of communication.


AniFem Community

We’re still hoping to hear from more artists affected by the FanCon cancellation! In the meantime, check out the thread below to support some rad creators.


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