[Links] 3-9 October 2018: “Gaijin Day” Controversy, Premiere Round-Up, and Womenomics Falling Short

By: Anime Feminist October 9, 20180 Comments
A girl with bat wings lifting another girl into the air and over some trees

This week: a rebuttal to the choice to name an event for third- and fourth-generation immigrants “Gaijin Day,” a round-up of our fall premieres, and the ways Abe’s promise for “womenomics” have failed to help working women.

AniFem Round-Up

[Review] Run With the Wind – Episode 1

An engaging, grounded sports drama based on a novel and starring college students, although so far there are no female characters.

[Review] Between the Sky and Sea – Episode 1

A sci-fi comedy trying to say something about workplace sexism but in a very reductive ’90s Grrl Power kind of way.

[Review] Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai – Episode 1

Interesting female characters let down by an insufferable protagonist and smug writers.

[Review] ZOMBIE LAND SAGA – Episode 1

Bizarre zombie idol comedy that might wind up being truly unique or mostly paint-by-numbers with one aesthetic gimmick.

[Review] Bloom Into You – Episode 1

A solid romantic melodrama noteworthy for being overtly queer and non-fetishized.

[Review] BAKUMATSU – Episode 1

AU steampunk history shenanigans, overlapping with the frequent pitfall of romanticizing contentious historical figures.

[Review] UzaMaid! – Episode 1

Overtly champions a pedophilic lead character and her attempts to molest her charge. But hey, how about that pretty animation.

[Review] Hinomaru Sumo – Episode 1

A solidly executed if archetypal shounen sports drama.

[Review] DAKAICHI -I’m being harassed by the sexiest man of the year- – Episode 1

A halfway-decent premise is marred by immediate sexual assault.

[Review] Boarding School Juliet – Episode 1

A very promising female lead and supportive love interest let down by the suspicion that the show wants to take the active Juliet down a peg (and sexualize her in the process).

[Review] Gakuen Basara – Samurai High School – Episode 1

Strictly for Sengoku Basara fans looking for a fun AU; newcomers need not apply.

[Review] Lost Song – Episode 1

(Netflix holdover) A lady-led broad fantasy series where the good guys are beautiful and virtuous and the bad guys are obviously scheming and sinister.

[Review] Ms. Vampire who lives in my neighborhood – Episode 1

Not a whole lot of action or stakes, but soothing and pleasant if you want something gay and cute.

[Review] Radiant – Episode 1

A European-inspired fantasy series (based on a French comic) with future POC cast members and a cool female mentor.

[Review] GOBLIN SLAYER – Episode 1

Grimdark edgelord fantasy that equates “showing rape” with being deep and cribs everything it has (poorly) from other, better grimdark series.

[Review] IRODUKU: The World in Colors – Episode 1

A fairly generic “sad girl is rescued by falling in love with boy” romance.

[Review] Anima Yell! – Episode 1

A nice sports comedy that respects cheerleaders as serious athletes.

[Review] Release the Spyce – Episode 1

A secret agent show with its fair share of nonsense but also a lot of fun.

[Review] SSSS.Gridman – Episode 1

A quiet, moody kaiju-fighting action show with impressive direction; only one (support) female character at present.

[Review] Ulysses: Jeanne d’Arc and the Alchemist Knight – Episode 1

A competent, inoffensive premiere with a very sleazy Preview hinting at worse on the horizon.

[AniFemTalk] What anime and manga help you get through a rough week?

Because the world is on fire and sometimes we all need an escape from that.


Beyond AniFem

The Ethereal Worlds of Keiko Takemiya (Hakutaka, Mel)

A creator spotlight on influential shoujo artist Takemiya, the first mangaka to draw an m/m kiss in a published manga.

Another classic, Kaze to Ki no Uta is Takemiya’s best-known shonen-ai, or boys love, manga. Because Takemiya refused to censor the sexual elements of the story, it took nine years to be published. The story focuses on themes such as racism, homophobia, and pedophilia, all under an overarching coming of age theme. It focuses on Serge–the son of a Roma woman and French viscount–and Gilbert–a promiscuous, objectified boy with a tortured soul. The story revolves around the bond they form and their romance at a French all-boys academy.

There are countless reasons why Takemiya’s works, especially Toward the Terra, are so important to me. One of the main reasons is because of how respectfully she deals with such grave topics. Even today, authors from all over the world deal with these topics with much less grace. To me, that, along with her incredible use of space and line, was her biggest contribution to the world of manga.

San Francisco calls Osaka’s decision to end sister-city ties over ‘comfort women’ statue ‘unfortunate’ (The Japan Times)

The statue commemorates the East and Southeast Asian women forced to work in brothels serving the Japanese military; in response, Osaka’s governor cut a 60-year relationship with the city.

Breed’s predecessor Edwin Lee, who died of a heart attack last December, accepted weeks before his death the Women’s Column of Strength statue in San Francisco’s Chinatown, which depicts three girls — Chinese, Korean and Filipino, respectively — holding hands.

The memorial was established in September last year and donated to the San Francisco government by a local private organization.

Yoshimura said in the letter it was “solemnly disappointing” when Lee signed a document formalizing the city’s acceptance of the statue in November last year.

The decision was made despite the Osaka mayor’s repeated requests not to accept the memorial. Yoshimura had said the statue’s inscription bore uncertain and “one-sided” claims about the extent of the Japanese military’s involvement in the brothels and the degree of the damage inflicted.

Panel in Tokyo examines LGBT issues in Japan, EU (The Japan News, Atsuko Matsumoto)

The center of the discussion was about the merits of a mandate and making the issue publicly and prominently discussed.

Among Japan’s 700 Diet members, Otsuji is the only one who is openly lesbian. She was among the panelists at the event.

“In Japan, the common discriminatory attitude [toward LGBT individuals] is a silent approach of ‘Don’t touch,’ and ‘Don’t talk,’” she said.

In Ireland, by contrast, everyone was talking about such issues recently. In 2015, the once deeply Catholic nation became the world’s first country to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote.

Japan’s Abe claims lone woman in his cabinet worth ‘two or three’ (CNN, James Griffiths and Yoko Wakatsuki)

Abe’s platform of “womenomics” has proven hollow in many ways, including reducing the number of women in the cabinet and in decision-making roles generally.

While more women have joined the workforce, there remains a disparity in the type of work done, pay and seniority. Around 75% of male workers are in regular employment, compared to 42% of women, the majority of whom are in casual or part-time jobs that do not provide the same security or benefits.

“(Abe) pushes women into the labor force because there is a shortage in labor,” said Yuka Ogata, a councilwoman in Kumamoto, a city on Japan’s southern Kyushu island.

“But this just means there are more women in the labor market who have part-time jobs without much social security. Not many women are in decision-making positions.”

Pink bus to help schoolgirls from falling victim to sex industry (The Asahi Shimbun, Tomoko Yamashita)

Colabo’s outreach program is meant to offer young women advice and other options outside of survival sex work.

Yumeno Nito, representative of Colabo, said she is hoping the bus will reach out to junior high and high school girls wandering the streets of the metropolis before they are recruited into the sex industry.

“Girls go out on the streets at night because they do not have a place to call home due to abuse or to make money to finance their school trips and school meals,” said Nito, 28.

“Many of those girls never think of seeking advice, and people who aggressively call out to them are those from the sex industry. Just waiting for girls to come to us for help is not enough.”

Fall 2018 Anime & Where You Can Watch Them (Yatta-Tachi, Katy Castillo)

A helpful list of legal resources for this season’s anime.

How The ‘NPC’ Meme Tries To Dehumanize ‘SJWs’ (Kotaku, Cecilia D’Anastasio)

The NPC (non-player character) terminology comes with the dangerous implication that those promoting certain arguments (usually progressive politics) are literally “soulless” and subhuman.

Part crackpot social theory and part elementary school insult, the NPC meme originated from a deeply comical medley of bogus physics and stupid religion found on the messaging board 4Chan. Originally posted in 2016, it resurfaced last month. “I have a theory that there are only a fixed quantity of souls on planet Earth that cycle continuously through reincarnation,” a 4Chan poster wrote. “However, since the human growth rate is so severe, the soulless extra walking flesh piles around us are NPC’s [sic], or ultimate normalf*gs, who autonomously follow group think and social trends in order to appear convingly human.” NPCs aren’t even worthy of a classic wake up, sheeple. They can’t!

Here’s where things get interesting. Around the time a lot of us were assigned to read The Catcher in the Rye in middle school, it was normal to have edgelord thoughts about phonies or being one of the few who is capital-A awake. The NPC meme takes things a step further into a political zone where mass outcry against, say, serial harassers, racial injustice, or Trumpian ideas is dismissed as not just inherently uncritical but prima facie evidence of a lack of human consciousness.

Moms continue to face hurdles returning to work as Abe wavers on day care and women’s empowerment goals (The Japan Times; Kurumi Mori, Emi Nobuhiro, and Kae Inoue)

A thorough article on several contributing issues: women who leave the work force to have children can lose their jobs, be unable to get a spot in limited daycare offerings, and face incredibly steep costs if they want to hire a nanny.

In May 2017, Abe again acknowledged the day care shortage and promised to fix the problem, saying he may need another three years — through the end of the 2020 fiscal year — to cut the waiting list for centers to zero. His original target was the 2017 fiscal year.

“This time, I’m really going to put an end to the problem of day care waiting lists,” Abe said at a Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) event.

Abe said he wants to have done enough to enable 80 percent of women in Japan to be in the workforce by the end of the 2022 fiscal year.

Yet Abe’s own recent actions go against previous calls for promoting more women to higher positions in society. Abe reshuffled his Cabinet Tuesday and selected only one female lawmaker. That’s the lowest number since he took power almost six years ago. Satsuki Katayama, 59, was appointed regional revitalization and gender equality minister and is now the sole woman in Abe’s 19-person Cabinet.

Jessica Gerrity, a 38-year-old TV personality from New Zealand who is married to a Japanese man and raising her three children in Tokyo, said she sees how hard it is for working mothers in Japan, compared with her home country. If the government is serious about raising one of the world’s lowest birth rates in the world’s oldest population, it has to start with respecting working mothers, she said.

Tokyo: New Law Bars LGBT Discrimination (Human Rights Watch)

The law both bans discrimination and requires the city to host education on LGBT rights.

The Olympics have driven some changes in how governments hosting the games act on LGBT rights issues. This has in part been a rebuke to Russia for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. The Russian government’s passage of the discriminatory “gay propaganda” law marred the games, along with other human rights violations such as forced evictions, abuses against migrant workers, and media censorship. In December 2014, as part of its “Olympic Agenda 2020,” the International Olympic Committee (IOC) confirmed that all future host city contracts would include a requirement to specifically ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

The new Tokyo law states “the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, citizens, and enterprises may not unduly discriminate on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation” and pledges that the government will “conduct measures needed to make sure human rights values are rooted in all corners of the city and diversity is respected in the city.”

Gaijin Day: How an event in Hamamatsu about unity proved to be divisive (The Japan Times, Farrah Hasnain)

The event mostly featured businesses run by third- and fourth-generation Brazilian and Peruvian attendees, but the event terminology still emphasized their status as “outsiders.”

While reading through some of the comments backing the idea of referring to the performers as “gaijin,” I realized that some responders, Japanese and foreign, were unaware of the history and legacy of Japanese immigrant communities. Many of the sansei and yonsei were born and raised in Japan and speak Japanese as their first language. Most of my students from these communities have never been to their parents’ or grandparents’ “home” countries. Their cultural identity is significantly Japanese, yet they are routinely labeled as “gaijin” simply because they have multicultural or multiethnic backgrounds.

Some members of the Nikkei communities here may not be offended by the label because they arrived in Japan as adults. However, those who were born and raised here identify strongly with Japanese culture. These nisei, sansei and yonsei are being pigeonholed as “gaijin” by other people, not by choice. Why should having another culture to be proud of negate their eligibility to be treated as “Japanese”?

BONUS (for our Japanese speakers):

「女のオタクなど存在しない」ツイートから始まったコミケ初期参加者の同窓会 (Togetter)

Japanese Twitter users are currently having an ongoing conversation about women as the proto-otaku before men usurped the culture. This post provides an overview (see also: this tweet discussing Tomino’s assertion that women were the primary supporters of Gundam).


AniFem Community

The world can be scary, so let’s share the series that help us get through rough times.

‘Kase-san’ is easily my favorite feel-good (and feminist friendly) series. I’ve read it over and over, and it never fails to cheer me up and give me lots of warm fuzzies. ‘Tsuredure Children’ and ‘Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun’ are both good for this too.

I know it’s very, very recent, but I just went through a very bad couple of months, and all that kept me going was Asobi Asobase. Those three little shitlords made me laugh so hard that I fully credit them with keeping my mental health in tact for the past few weeks.


Comments are open! Please read our comments policy before joining the conversation and contact us if you have any problems.

We Need Your Help!

We’re dedicated to paying our contributors and staff members fairly for their work—but we can’t do it alone.

You can become a patron for as little as $1 a month, and every single penny goes to the people and services that keep Anime Feminist running. Please help us pay more people to make great content!

Comments are open! Please read our comments policy before joining the conversation and contact us if you have any problems.

%d bloggers like this: