This week: a workshop on being a good ally in fandom, a tribute to J-Pop artist Amuro Namie, and female applicants suing Tokyo Medical University over the school’s exclusionary practices.
C.S. Nangland discusses four trans or trans-coded fighting game characters and the importance of audience reclamation over out-of-text statements by creators.
The team checks in on the season thus far and provides updates three episodes in.
A serviceable sports premiere following many of the same beats as Free!
Dee, Caitlin, and Vrai try out a manga discussion series, this time themed around monster stories.
What’re you watching and reading for Halloween?
OPEN LETTER: A TIME OF CRISIS FOR AMERICA’S TRANS COMMUNITY (Anime Herald, Samantha Ferreira)
An outline of the serious dangers America’s trans community is facing, and a call for allies to take action.
While the settings I’ve discussed are fictional, they share remarkable parallels to the world we live in today. And, well, much of what we’re seeing now is the beginning of a very rapid slide. We’ll be told that it’s impossible to change course, that we need to wait for a friendlier administration. We’ll be told that it takes patience, and that things will get better come 2020.
To quote a dear friend of mine, “We can’t stop being trans for two years.”
Right now, every single day, this is the horror we face. This is the burden we shoulder, as our politicians throw us under the bus as they schmooze for votes, and the mainstream media sweeps us under the rug, because we’re “inconvenient.”
If something isn’t done, the attacks will only grow more virulent. Right now, the trans community is terrified. We’re facing our greatest threat in what seems like forever, and many of us feel like we’re going it alone.
LESLIE MAC AND TALYNN ARE BRINGING AN ESSENTIAL DISCUSSION ON ALLYSHIP TO GEEKGIRLCON (Wear Your Voice, Sherronda J. Brown)
An interview with the two organizers of the upcoming “Allyship in Fandom” panel and what it will cover.
Safe spaces for white people are harmful for non-white people. That is our existence in a nutshell. Does the workshop also address gatekeeping in fandom communities, and how racism and misogyny contribute to it?
L: There’s a whole section called ‘Anti-Blackness is a Helluva Drug’ just to give a little sneak peek. We talk about anti-Blackness and misogynoir, and we give examples in pop culture and fandom spaces. Like ‘the magical negro’ and who gets sacrificed (the Black martyr) and all of those types of things. We will bring some examples of how entire white male fandoms have pushed people of color out of some spaces because of their toxicity. We talk about how community is built outside of the lens of white supremacy because I think that’s something white people really struggle with, it’s so baked into white supremacy around them and in them and in their interactions that they can’t really conceive of what it looks like to create connections with people outside of that. We’ll also do some small group exercises with them around how they map power in fandom spaces, because one of the things that’s really important to both of us is that people leave with tangible things they can change and do after the workshop. We’re not there to just talk at people for the sake of talking, and we really want it to be useful in a way that will hopefully affect the fandom spaces that the attendees are in for the better.
T: One of the things that I definitely want to talk about with them is showing them the way that Black people have been, not just pushed out of this culture, but even pushed out of our own narratives, and how many of the stories that they love and think are great are really stories about Black struggles, but it’s all been whitewashed for them. How we get a lot of bait and switch, with the way that colorism plays into this. How Blackness is treated—treated horrifically!—and they don’t even acknowledge it. Basically, here are real-life examples, and here’s how we see it on the screen, here are how these tropes continue to play out throughout every part of it.
The university recently admitted to weighting exam scoring heavily in favor of male applicants with the justification that women would eventually have children and end their careers.
The 24 applicants, who took the medical school’s entrance exams in 2006 or later, are demanding it pay 100,000 yen in damages for every year an applicant took the entrance exam and refund exam fees.
“We would not have applied if we had known the illegal score rigging, and it has caused us great emotional distress,” the women said in a document presented to the university. They also demanded their scores and their correct application results be disclosed.
According to the lawyers, the 24 women in their teens to 30s include those who failed the university’s entry tests and are seeking another chance, undergraduates studying medicine at other universities, and those who pursued different careers after giving up becoming doctors.
Modern Teen Japanese Dictionary Explains Latest Slang, Adds Gender-Inclusive Language (Anime News Network, Kim Morrissy)
A small selection of terms that have been added to the new edition of the slang diary.
Another notable change in this edition is the usage of more inclusive language when defining words related to sex and romance. Previous editions of the dictionary specify that words such as “sex” and “love” involve interactions between a male and female partner. In the newest edition, the gender of the partners is not specified.
The dictionary further includes the definition of “SOGI” (Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity), an acronym that is often used alongside “LGBT” in Japan. The dictionary defines it thus: “Expressing a preference for a particular gender (‘sexual orientation’) and how one defines their own gender (‘gender identity’). An ideology that acknowledges the diverse ways of living regarding sex and gender. (An acronym used to describe sexual minorities that do not fit under the ‘LGBT’ umbrella.)”
Indian women in Japan struggle to find their niche (The Japan Times, Megha Wadhwa)
Those interviewed had often immigrated in order to be with their partner and had difficulty finding work because of the language barrier.
The Indian population in Japan is skewed significantly toward men, with females comprising only 30 percent of the total community of around 32,000. As part of my doctoral dissertation on the Indian community in Tokyo, I had the opportunity to interview some of these women — 46 long-term residents in total, of which 43 were married. Although they came from a variety of backgrounds, religions and ethnic groups, all of these 43 women had basically followed their husbands to Japan.
Like Sharma, all of the married women I spoke to were educated. All had been through higher education and gained bachelor’s degrees, either from regular universities or correspondence courses. All of those in or seeking jobs in Japan already had working experience in India and had received English-medium education throughout and considered themselves native English speakers. Fourteen of the 43 had master’s degrees, three had doctorates. Ten of the women had attained an additional degree or diploma in education with the hope of getting a teaching job in Japan.
These women were involved in all kinds of work, but they were most commonly homemakers, taking care of children, doing housework and so on. The choice to be a homemaker was usually personal, but in some cases it resulted from a lack of opportunities in their chosen profession, particularly due to language.
Sugita admits LGBT article ‘inappropriate,’ but no retraction (The Asahi Shimbun)
A periodic reminder that lawmaker Mio Sugita is a virulent homophobe with no plans to resign her position in government.
Referring to gay people, she wrote: “Those men and women do not reproduce. In other words, they are ‘unproductive.’ I wonder if it is appropriate to spend taxpayer money on them.”
Outrage spread across Japan, and demands intensified for her resignation.
Sugita had declined to discuss the offending essay with reporters until Oct. 24.
“I have taken seriously the fact that my comments triggered misunderstanding and controversy, and had offended or hurt some people,” Sugita said. “I had no intention at all to discriminate against same-sex couples or to deny their human rights.”
But she still refused to retract her “inappropriate” comments.
Manga Creator Kohske Asks Scanslators to Stop Sharing Gangsta. (Anime News Network, Lynzee Loveridge)
Kohske tweeted in English asking scanlators to stop illegally distributing her work.
Manga creators and publishers have made a concerted effort to eliminate piracy including campaigns to raise awareness of legal manga websites and spread information about financial losses due to illegal scans. Publishers also worked together to shut down the pirate manga site Mangamura in April and creators took to the web announce an uptick in sales after the site went down.
Some manga creators are still having trouble with piracy though, including Gangsta.‘s Kohske. Kohske wrote on Twitter, in English, that scans rob her of her income and steal ad revenue from her publisher. She added that if she cannot earn money from her manga, she’ll have to quit.
Slow pace of new visa program doesn’t bode well for success (The Asahi Shimbun, Gen Okada and Tamiyuki Kihara)
Work visas are currently incredibly difficult to obtain for descendants of immigrants in Japan (and children of Japanese citizens who’ve lived abroad), with heavy restrictions in order to qualify.
In 2007, the number of Japanese-Brazilians in Japan totaled 310,000 or so.
But they were first to go in the global downturn triggered by the 2008 collapse of U.S. Investment Bank Lehman Brothers. Most were forced to return to their home countries after they lost their jobs in what was described as “regulating the valves” of employment.
While living in Japan, they faced numerous difficulties, due mainly to a lack of programs aimed to facilitate their assimilation into their host country and local communities.
The education of their children with little command of Japanese was major problem.
As of the end of 2017, there were about 190,000 Japanese-Brazilians living in Japan.
Prior to the introduction of the new visa rules, fourth-generation Japanese descendants permitted to live and work in Japan were restricted in principle to those who are aged below 20, unmarried and live with their parents.
Although they grew up in Japan, many fourth-generation descendants returned to their country when their parents left Japan.
The new visa program was set after communities of Japanese descendants in Brazil and elsewhere called for long-term resident status for the fourth-generation and the succeeding generation who are hoping to work in Japan.
Amuro Namie: The Eternal Queen of J-Pop (April Magazine, Youjin Lee)
A career overview of the iconic artist and her influence.
In an industry where her average competitions were teenagers, and 20-somethings are called ‘mature’, this woman stayed on top over the age of forty with the power of her personal brand. When the whole nation aimed hostile cameras at her in the middle of her personal crisis, even though her marriage, pregnancy, and loss were not her ‘fault’, Amuro never showed her anger or collapsed. It was not that she was detached. As a mother, she worked hard to support her son. As a professional, she worked hard to find her own path. With the tattoo of her son’s name and the date of her mother’s death on her arm, releasing more than one song every single year for 25 years, from debut to retirement.
It’s not just in Japanese society that we still hear sexist stereotypes, looking down on female professionals, saying that women are swayed by emotions, selling their womanness. Amuro Namie struck down those stereotypes by getting things done superbly. That’s why women of my age, in our working 30s, have looked up to her as the role model of today, beyond nostalgia.
VIDEO (One Media): A short, subtitled video about addressing ingrained societal prejudices against sexual minorities.
— ONE MEDIA｜ワンメディア (@onemediajp) October 29, 2018
Halloween is tomorrow—there’s still time to get your thrills and chills in!
Ibitsu made me turn on the lights for a while after reading. It is super disturbing.
The second Question Arc for Higurashi no Naku Ni is also good especially at the end.
— Heather Jochens (@heatherjochens) October 30, 2018
Lost licenses be damned, one of these days I'm gonna figure out a way to make a Chatty AF Shiki watchalong happen https://t.co/iJwg6dfuBd
— Joseifuru (@joseinextdoor) October 30, 2018