This week: a postmortem of Clear Card’s shortcomings, a guide for LGBTQ+ folks looking to move to Japan, and a world summit for women in animation.
Sara Conner discusses the cycles of abuse in Furuba, particularly in relation to Akito’s character arc.
Devon Buchanon explains the ways Violet can be read as autistic, her initial struggles at work, and how the other characters in the series help to make the job more accessible for her.
Dee, Caitlin, and Vrai rock out and talk about corporate culture, female friendship, and the pitfalls of the English dub.
Seven Seas’ monthly manga series features specific questions about queer manga this month—what would you like to see brought over?
LGBTQ Living in Japan: A Guide for Work, Queer Families and Trans Individuals (The Cup and the Road, Athena Lam)
A list of resources, information, and tips for queer folks living or hoping to live in Japan.
At work, it is common that long-time co-workers know nothing about each other’s families. (Please also read this piece by Ray that talks about being in the closet, which contradicts my statement.) If you’re not entirely comfortable being out at work, you will not be the only mysterious colleague in the group, though of course it may seem a bit unfriendly to others. I also feel that the awkwardness of being asked about girlfriends / boyfriends is universal and not specific to Japan. You may have the awkward situation of your manager trying to set you up. The manager setting two single colleagues up (younger, junior female with senior male) is still commonly practiced as an unspoken social norm for locals, especially in large companies, but likely won’t happen for foreigners.
While casual homophobia is prevalent and Japan is by no means LGBTQ-friendly, as someone who’s lived there I feel that most people are either unaware, ambivalent, or don’t have strong enough opinions to act on them (unless it’s their child or friend and they have to think deeper about the issue). People who watch anime or Japanese dramas will also be aware that many gender nonconforming and bi/gay characters are quite popular. Boys love (shortened as BL) and yaoi is often created for straight female audiences and hentai for straight male ones. Talk shows and TV dramas also have comical caricatures that are not the most flattering, but often endearing. This is all to say…in it’s own strange way, mainstream Japan has created a romanticisation or fetisization of same-sex relationships. You can read more about my post on Trans Japan.
Racist Twitter Comments Lead To Anime’s Cancellation (Kotaku, Brian Ashcroft)
The New Life+ anime was cancelled after many racist tweets against China and South Korea were found on the light novel author’s Twitter timeline.
The light novel’s creator writes under the pen name MINE. When the anime was announced, Twitter users pointed to tweets MINE made between 2012 and 2015 with racist and derogatory comments towards China and South Korea. Twitter users also noted that the series apparently features a protagonist who had killed 3,000 people with a katana during the Second Sino-Japanese War.
The backlash was swift. The show’s main voice actors—Toshiki Masuda, Megumi Nakajima, Kiyono Yasuno and Nanami Yamashita—all quit en masse.
Japan to fund gender-affirming surgery (Pink News, Jasmine Andersson)
While this new measure will make the surgery affordable for those who qualify, the sterilization requirements are still currently in place.
Once the surgery is covered by public insurance in Japan, a patient will only need to pay up to 30 percent of the total surgery expenses, reported Japan Times.
Although the move is welcome, the process for gender identity recognition is complex and problematic for trans people in Japan.
Applicants are required to be single and without children under 20, undergo a psychiatric evaluation to receive a diagnosis of “Gender Identity Disorder” (GID).
12 Takes on Annecy 2018 (Variety, John Hopewell)
Animators from around the world screened films in France and discussed the industry, including a special summit for women in animation.
After all that’s gone down just recently – the arrest of Harvey Weinstein, the exit from Disney of John Lasseter, often thought the second most influential animator of all time – 2nd Women in Animation Summit, held June 11 at Annecy, only becomes all the more important. But Annecy itself still frames a paradox. For every year since his appointment in 2013, Annecy’s graduation film competition has had more shorts by women than men, Annecy artistic director Marcel Jean observed. That ratio flips for competition shorts: men directors outnumber women by nearly three to one. Only two long features by women – Nora Twomey’s “The Breadwinner,” Nina Paley’s “Sender Masochism” – make Annecy’s official 10-title competition cut. Clearly something happens to women animators’ careers between graduation and the time when many animators make a feature.
Voice Actress Hiroko Konishi Reveals Industry Disagreements About Ojarumaru Role (Anime News Network, Lynzee Loveridge)
Konishi was ousted after asking about her voice being used for dolls of the character and other merchandise (presumably without compensation). She also shares her experiences with sexual harassment in the industry.
Konishi also revealed her own experience similar to the story told by former Niji No Conquistador idol group member “A-san” in allegations against now resigned pixiv representative director Hiroaki Nagata. Konishi wrote that Prince Mackaroo and Ninja Girl & Samurai Master director Akitarō Daichi invited her to a mixed bathing hot spring resort via her manager. She said that she was lured through her manager Hara, but she would not go on such a trip. “He seems to have thought he could drink and get a little entertainment,” she wrote. She added that she has heard a lot of stories about this type of manager.
Over 60% of Tokyo fathers cook at home, showing steep rise: survey (The Japan Times, Jiji)
The survey shows an increased number of men in families becoming involved with cooking and other household tasks.
In the survey, 60.8 percent of fathers said they cook at home — almost double the figure of 29.8 percent seen in 2007 when the poll was first taken.
Those who indicated that they do no housework accounted for less than 10 percent, showing that fathers are increasingly helping out at home.
The survey, conducted from March 17 to 31, questioned 400 fathers aged from 30 to 49 in the Tokyo metropolitan area mainly about their eating habits.
Yasutomi is running against an incumbent seeking his third term.
Yasutomi, who has been teaching at the national university’s Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia since 2009, has authored a book titled “Gempatsu kiki to ‘Todai waho’,” (The nuclear crisis and the ‘discourse of the University of Tokyo’).
Yasutomi, who returned to the academic world after working at Sumitomo Bank upon graduation from Kyoto University, revealed in interviews with media outlets she has been in a long-term relationship with a woman.
Clear Card: When Beloved Series Rely Too Much On Nostalgia (Otaku She Wrote, Marion Bea)
A postmortem on the recently concluded series and where it falls short.
Both Syaoran and Sakura used to crush on characters of the opposite [sic] gender, which was most notably shown with Syaoran’s feelings for Yukito. In Clear Card, they only have eyes for each other, which I found devastatingly adorable, and it’s important to understand that bisexuals being in what’s perceived as a straight relationship are still bisexuals.
Still, it’s disappointing that Clear Card doesn’t offer anything to make up for the fact that we’re no longer seeing a boy crushing on another boy being treated with complete naturality. Sakura’s cuteness having the same effect on Akiho that it has on her love interest or girls that happen to get flustered in each other’s company are scraps of what we used to have.
Toya and Yukito’s romance is one of the most memorable subplots in Cardcaptor Sakura, but they barely even appear together in this show.
Sterilization, abortions forced on 70 with hearing loss (The Asahi Shimbun)
At least some of the surgeries were done with the blessing of a postwar eugenics law, and affected many disabled individuals.
Of the 70 people, 52 were women and 18 were men.
Thirty-three of the people were sterilized, while 14 were forced to undergo abortions. In one case, the same person underwent both procedures.
The other 24 cases showed a possibility that surgeries were conducted.
In some cases, it was unclear if the operations were performed based on the Eugenic Protection Law, which was effective from 1948 to 1996.
In other cases, it was unclear if the hearing-impaired people gave their consent for the surgeries.
The consultations will be conducted by third-party services; this mandate would expand the existent services so they apply to high-ranking individuals.
Seiko Noda, minister in charge of women’s empowerment, had proposed the introduction of legislation to penalize those responsible for sexual harassment, but the government panel shelved discussions on that matter.
Officials’ attendance at the courses will be checked by the Cabinet Bureau of Personnel Affairs, effectively making participation a precondition for promotion.
Among other measures, the government will also set up contact points at each ministry and agency for accepting complaints and inquiries from the private sector, as a recent sexual harassment case involved a woman who worked for a private company.
Keep your suggestions coming—the English manga market could use more series with explicit representation.
PLEASE LET THEM KNOW, GUYS, AS I WOULD LOVE TO WORK ON AN LGBTQ+ TITLE FOR THEM. https://t.co/amFQRrIPp3
— usagi @ 魔道祖師タイム ☆ミ (@usagiko) June 11, 2018
Gokusai no Ie by Bikke is a good one! It’s about genderless children with magic hair falling in love! pic.twitter.com/6QvOuLG5aJ
— Neapolitangirl (@glimglamgal) June 11, 2018
Other than Tasogare, Yuureitou! Well-portrayed trans man protagonist, fantastic horror/mystery story, just one of my favorite manga in general.
— promare rock (@NightinGem) June 12, 2018