[Links] 7-12 June 2017

Life outside gender roles, 60s drag life in Japan, and South Korean women still looking for justice.

AniFem Round-Up

[Feature] A Dream of One’s Own: Finding a home outside femininity in Chihayafuru

Chihaya’s love for the sport of karuta gives her someplace to feel welcomed, even while the world around her places gendered expectations of what her skills and interests “should” be.

[Podcast] Chatty AF 10: Shirobako watchalong – episodes 1-6

We’re trying a new episode type: a newcomer, an old hand, and an expert revisit older series and talk through their impressions of how it holds up (or doesn’t). Chatty AF is available on iTunes and Stitcher, episodes 7-12 will be covered in this Sunday’s podcast!

[AniFemTalk] Gender non-conforming characters

The highs and lows of characters who perform outside expected gender roles, whether cis or trans (though the issue of trans individuals being pressured to act as hyper-stereotypical versions of their identity of choice is….not exactly an issue anime’s shown itself ready to interface with. If you are a trans or non-binary person who would like to address this or any related topics in a piece, please pitch us here!).

Beyond AniFem

Queer Japan

We mentioned this documentary a few link posts ago. Now you can watch a new clip.

Watch a brand new clip from Queer Japan featuring 5 minutes from the film’s segment on Gengoroh Tagame. The master of gay erotic manga discusses BDSM, his international tour, the Tom of Finland Foundation, and his first all-ages manga, My Brother’s Husband.

CREATIVE CONTROL: REWRITING YOUR LIFE IN MY LESBIAN EXPERIENCE WITH LONELINESS, WANDERING SON, AND NIGHT IN THE WOODS (Through a Glass)

On taking power over one’s life and experiences by writing about it, particularly when you feel you have no control over your own identity.

In My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness, Nagata attempts an objective and honest look at her own life, and is allowed insight that she did not have at the time. Her state of mind can be analyzed, her failures recognized, and her past set in stone before memories fade into idealized fragments. Her past becomes a project she can observe from above, an experiment she can tinker with and attempt to make a better future. And through sharing this straightforward and blemished story to the world she comes to another realization – truly connecting with others requires honesty. Attempting to present an ideal version of herself to the world resulted in a rift of communication and misunderstanding, but by putting every scar on display she is able to understand and connect with others in an intimate way.

1960s Gay Tokyo Comes Alive In Queer Classic “Funeral Parade of Roses” (New Now Next)

The nearly lost film has been recently restored and rereleased into NYC theaters.

It’s hard to imagine a film from nearly 50 years ago depicting real-life trans women, drag queens and gay boys—let alone one filmed in Japan. But 1969’s Funeral Parade of Roses did just that.
Loosely based on Oedipus Rex, Toshio Matsumoto’s underground queer cult classic follows “Eddie” and other trans women as they travel through the twilight world of Tokyo gay bars and drag clubs. (In Japanese, bara, or “rose,” is used similarly as the English slang word “pansy.”)

New Character Teaches Japanese Women to Report Street Harassment (Crunchyroll)

The initiative is meant to give women options to protect themselves and help others.

The responses so far are… what you’d expect. Some believe that this will lead to an increase in false accusations, or that men will be wrongly labeled as sexual predators. However, police have reassured citizens that any situations reported will be fully investigated. They also note that a mere 12% of victims of street harassment report the situation themselves, either because they are afraid to or because they are not in a position to.

Pink Dot Okinawa 2017 to be Held in September (Takurei’s Room)

Pride events in Japan are concentrated more toward the fall – this one will aim to create safe environments in Okinawa.

This year, representatives of corporations based in Okinawa Prefecture and 7 local celebrities have been designated as “Pink Dot Okinawa Ambassadors”, and will engage in public relations for the event. Arai Tatsuya, representative of the Pink Dot Okinawa executive committee stated “We want to create an Okinawa where anyone can stay regardless of their identity.”

Rain & Vows: Why Is June A Wedding Season In Japan? (Savvy Tokyo)

On both the traditional, symbolic, and practical reasons behind the popularity of the “June Bride.”

But as far as traditional Japan is concerned, June has a special significance for new families. Under the old Japanese calendar, June was called minazuki, the month of water, and was traditionally the time when rice fields were flooded with water. This symbol of fertility carried over into relationships, and it was thought that June was the best month to get married and therefore pregnant in (as these two were thought to go simultaneously in the past). If coming from an agricultural family, this timing was ideal as the pregnancy wouldn’t interfere with the woman’s ability to work during the harvest season.

The same-sex commuter car debate is alive and well in Japan (Salon)

An update on the ever-loaded topic of how to address public harassment on train cars.

There’s a difference between discrimination and targeted groups seeking safety as the root cause of said segregation, and many women draw their bottom line at personal safety as the only thing that matters. Even unwanted attention, if only a discomfiting gaze or a few words, is still just that: unwanted. Same-sex train cars offer women the space to feel secure and comfortable.
Perhaps giving women physical and emotional breathing room during their commutes is a noble cause, but don’t we know from experience that “segregation” rarely achieves its original intention? Under the guise of protection, women-only train car initiatives tread dangerously close to sending the message that men shouldn’t be expected to exhibit self-control (like the majority of that population already does), and that women aren’t safe in mixed company.

South Korea urges Japan to be cautious when commenting on ‘comfort women’ issue (The Japan Times)

While several in South Korea want to rework the 2015 accord between nations to finally address the atrocities done to so-called “comfort women,” Japan’s secretary Nikai would rather brush the issue under the rug.

Toshihiro Nikai, secretary-general of the Liberal Democratic Party, spoke Saturday in Seoul about the need to “exterminate a handful of people plotting schemes” to block Japan-South Korean ties from moving forward. Nikai is visiting Seoul as an envoy of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Remarks about the bilateral relationship, including the crucial issue concerning the women who were forced to work in Japanese military brothels during the war, “must be made in a careful manner,” the official said, adding that South Korea’s position was conveyed to Japan through diplomatic channels.
Nikai drew fire from South Korean citizens’ groups and the media for his remarks, which could be interpreted as criticizing moves in South Korea to rework the 2015 bilateral deal that was intended to resolve the issue once and for all.

Voices of Japan’s wartime sex slaves in ‘The Apology’ (SF Gate)

A new documentary is highlighting the voices of those who were conscripted into sexual slavery by the Japanese army.

But there it is — a Japanese prime minister calling the “comfort women” and their kidnappings and abuse “necessary.” Japanese nationalists, many of them young, disrupting a protest by octogenarian women who were victims by hurling vile insults as police hold them back. That’s in this decade.
That’s how Tiffany Hsiung’s moving new documentary “The Apology” opens. It’s a powerful, intimate portrait of how aging victims from all across Asia — South Korea, the Philippines, China, Taiwan and others — mobilize to try to force an apology (and possibly restitution) from the intractable Japanese government.

Japan’s Parliament Passes Law Allowing Emperor to Abdicate (The New York Times)

The ruling comes alongside a push to allow women from the royal family to inherit the throne, which is currently banned.

An addendum to the law passed on Friday encourages the government to study the possibility of reforms that would allow the women of the royal family to remain within the imperial household — even if they marry commoners — and head legitimate lines of succession. Bowing to conservative pressure, the addendum makes no mention of any discussion to allow women to sit on the throne themselves.
“It’s so obvious that there are not enough imperial family members,” said Keiko Hongo, a professor of medieval history at the University of Tokyo. “We should accept the reality. That is an unavoidable issue to be discussed.
AniFem Community

We wanted to highlight GNC characters, and you gave us your faves.

The topic is still open, and we’d love to hear answers to other questions that were in the post too. If you’d like to join in, just head over and get involved in the comments!
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