This week: lots of podcast discussion, why maternity harassment persists, and the inclusivity of PriPara.
Bryn Matthews praises the way the series breaks the expectations of traditional romance stories and laments its willingness to wallow in its characters’ misery until near the end of the story.
Dafne Veliz connects the influence of the Takarazuka Revue on the gender nonconforming, trans, and trans-coded characters in Osamu Tezuka’s work.
Peter, Gabriella, and Caitlin are back to talk about how far Yona’s come.
Light Novels get a bad rap, but that doesn’t mean they’re all terrible!
Intimate Japan : Ethnographies of Closeness and Conflict (Open Access, Allison Alexy and Emma E. Cook)
A full, free book of academic essays discussing the evolution of intimate communication in modern-day Japan.
In contemporary Japan, as the Japanese population ages, the low birth rate shrinks the population, and decades of recession radically restructure labor markets’ intimate relationships, norms, and ideals are concurrently shifting. This volume explores a broad range of intimate practices in Japan in the first decades of the 2000s to trace how social change is manifests through deeply personal choices. From young people making decisions about birth control to spouses struggling to connect with each other, parents worrying about stigma faced by their adopted children, and queer people creating new terms to express their identifications, Japanese intimacies are commanding a surprising amount of attention, both within and beyond Japan. With ethnographic analysis focused on how intimacy is imagined, enacted, and discussed, the volume offers rich and complex portraits of how people balance personal desires with feasible possibilities and shifting social norms.
Episode 70- Marco B (Getting Animated, Destiny Senpai)
A podcast interview with anime DJ Marco B.
Growing up black & loving anime hasn’t always been easy.I got the opportunity to interview anime DJ @MarcoB who made anime apart of his career! Listen as we discuss being black, loving anime and rejecting stereotypes!
THE PROMISED NEVERLAND’S DYSTOPIA REVISITED (Atelier Emily)
Looking back on TPN and how it perpetuates its monstrous system—and why Emma is so crucial to breaking the cycle.
When we see snapshots of Isabella and Krone as children, they already seem so isolated and alone. The series gives Krone a doll as her only companion (although this is an anime-only decision) while Isabella’s one close friend was sent away. It’s easy to see how, without Emma, both Norman and Ray would have crumbled just as it’s easy to see why Isabella and Krone chose the paths that they did. Without Emma, they would have not only have failed to take everyone, they would have failed to escape at all. It’s trite and, quite frankly, untrue to say that an entire system can be undone with trust and sincerity, yet The Promised Neverland is another pointed example of how those qualities should always be highly-prized. Without them, it makes the system’s job so much easier.
FORGOTTEN WOMEN OF GENRE: MADDIE BLAUSTEIN (SyFy Wire, Courtney Enlow)
A podcast celebration of Blaustein’s career and impact.
Maddie Blaustein started her career at Marvel as Christopher Priest’s assistant, and eventually created her own comic, Deathwish, featuring a trans woman in a lesbian relationship, one of the first to do so. But it is her eight seasons as Meowth on the English dub of Pokémon that had the biggest impact — professionally speaking. For the trans and intersex children who grew up listening to her voice such a beloved character, and to all the fans who loved and admired her and her work, her impact was even greater.
As new era looms, women still face age-old challenges (The Japan Times, Isabal Reynolds and Emi Nobuhiro)
A profile of several professional women and the fact that many obstacles working women face haven’t changed since the 90s.
Fukumoto said she overplayed her ambition in interviews and that may have dashed her chances to snare her dream job with a real estate development company.
“I told them I would and could do anything. I may have come over too strong,” she said. “I felt strongly that they wanted us to stay a step behind the men, rather than brushing the men aside and thinking only about ourselves.”
Fukumoto eventually accepted an offer from a Japanese insurance company, albeit in a career track mostly occupied by women that brings lower pay. Her goals include financial independence and working after she has children. Those plans are met with skepticism, even by her own generation: A 2016 survey found almost 42 percent of those between ages 18 and 29 said they believed men should work, while women should take care of the household.
A two-person report on the two recent events.
A bonus episode discussing the release of the first two episodes of the new FRUITS BASKET anime in theaters and the performance of PRETTY GUARDIAN SAILOR MOON: THE SUPER LIVE in Washington, DC for the start of the Cherry Blossom Festival. Shojo & Tell host Ashley and friendo Asher delve into the highs and lows of these shojo special events.
Ladies & The Law: Battling The Invisible Enemy Behind Every Maternity Harassment Case (Savvy Tokyo, Vicki L Beyer)
Despite laws against maternity harassment, societal expectations still leave working mothers disadvantaged.
In spite of this direct judicial mandate, the question remains: Why, if the law is so straightforward, does maternity harassment continue? The problem is perhaps best characterized as one of social attitudes. It is often said that society expects career women to work as if they have no children and raise their children as if they have no other job.
A substantial portion of the Japanese population still accepts the 1950s notion that women should manage the house and family while men go out and earn a living. Of course, this notion no longer accurately reflects the structure of Japanese society, but it seems to have been so deeply internalized that it has become subconscious. Accompanying this is the attitude of employers that employees should give themselves 100% to the company’s needs, ignoring all else. That may have been possible for men back in the latter half of the 20thcentury when women stayed at home and took care of all a man’s personal needs so that he could concentrate on his work, but, again, this view is no longer realistic or accurate.
A translation of an academic article discussing the inclusiveness of PriPara.
That’s right, PriPara portrays a wacky and chaotic world, and it directly links to diversity, and accepts diversity as it is.
Generally in children’s animation, the main characters are special children with special gadgets or magic powers, who are more active than adults.
In contrast, in PriPara, as “PriPara = a space where all girls can become idols”, it is permeated with the principles of equality.
In addition, when saying “all girls”, even Leona West, a “girl (male)” can become an idol (laughs).*
*(Note: Ishioka says 男の娘 (otoko no ko) here.
I aplogise if this phrase may seem a little insensitive to some people.)
Also, when calling them “girls”, age does not matter.
Yes, even the main character’s mother and headmistress sing and dance as idols.
Episode 101 – Dr. Kirsten Ziomek (Adelphi) (The Meiji at 150)
A podcast discussion of diversity in prewar Japan.
In this episode, Dr. Kirsten Ziomek highlights the diversity of the prewar Japanese empire by surveying native reactions to Japanese colonialism in four locations: Hokkaidō, Taiwan, Micronesia, and Okinawa. We discuss Japanese administrative adaptations to local conditions, the scholarly advantages of using non-traditional sources including oral interviews, pictures, and material objects, the agency of native colonial subjects, and imperial tours to Tokyo.
The Complex Functions of Sex, Gender, and Sexuality in Simoun (VRV, Sinclair August)
On the failings of the series as a trans narrative due to the cishetero assumptions baked into the writing.
There are two ways to interpret the ways in which gender identity and sexuality are depicted. The first is that in the world of Simoun, internal gender identity simply doesn’t exist–people can’t be cis or trans because there’s no distinction between mental gender and physical sex. Assuming this, it’s perhaps unsurprising that such firm gender roles would exist–if you want to go into a career that’s considered masculine, you can just become a man, or vice-versa. Everyone has the same opportunity, so there’s no unfairness the way there is in human society. Same with sexuality–it makes sense that heterosexuality would be favored, as only heterosexual couples can reproduce, so people could choose their sex based on which gender they’re most attracted to. There would naturally be issues if these two potential reasons came into contradiction with one another, but it’s not implausible.
The second way to interpret this is that the society that produced the fictional world of Simoun has the above preconceived notions about gender and sexuality, and Okada was more interested in constructing a narrative about gender that would resonate with women than delving into the nuances of gender in a completely original speculative fiction universe. Male and female gender roles exist in Simoun the way that they do so the sybilla who think the only way they can have the strength to protect the ones they love can realize they’re wrong, and they’re just as capable of doing so as women. This is narrative is–in and of itself–an honorable goal. What complicates it is context.
We’re jazzed to have licensed light novel recommendations!