Beneath an unpleasant narrative gimmick is a sharp critique of how the entertainment industry exploits young women.
This is a season of meteoric highs and nightmare lows.
Dee, Chiaki, and Peter look back on a season with a lot of mixed bag recommendations!
There always seems to be a few falling stars every year.
Cypress, Vrai, and Toni chat about some of their favorite light novels (spoilers: it is a lot of yuri).
A Passion for Living in the Present: A Conversation with Yuko Tsushima and Annie Ernaux (Lit Hub, Lisa Hofmann-Kuroda)
Translation of a 2004 conversation between two pivotal, award-winning figures (of the Tanizaki Prize and Nobel Prize in Literature respectively) in literary fiction.
Annie Ernaux: Yes, I completely agree. Whether you’re looking at history, or at the present, you find there is so much that needs to be written about.
For example, the way you write about the experience of childbirth [in Woman Running in the Mountains] is so beautiful, though the woman [protagonist] has no idea what is going to happen to her. And the passages about breastfeeding and motherhood, the descriptions of how little boys act, the problems that come up at daycare—all of it is rendered in such detail, and these are things that have never seriously been taken up to this extent in the history of literature.
It’s such a dazzling text, it’s almost disorienting. If this were any other topic unknown to men, writing about it in such detail would render it a universal phenomenon, and they’d hail it as a new discovery. What I’ve learned from your texts is just how much drama is contained within women’s work, how much of it deserves to be articulated and contested.
Yuko Tsushima: Yes, absolutely. In Japanese, a lot of the language around pregnancy and childbirth was coined by men, which makes me terribly uncomfortable. Pregnancy and childbirth are things that concern women, after all, so when I wrote my novels I wanted to express those things through a woman’s words—and all the more so because I experienced them myself.
In the book you just mentioned, Woman Running in the Mountains, I actually included a baby diary in the text, but people didn’t react very positively to it. They were like, how much longer are you going to keep writing about boring stuff like how much milk the baby drank, or how soft its poop was? (laughing)
So I appreciate you saying that to me, Annie. It’s very encouraging, because of course I was very intentional in how I wrote it. I don’t know how it is now, but when I first published that book, very few readers were sympathetic to it.
Idols Win Big Against Management That Ordered Them to Get Thinner (Unseen Japan, Nyri Bakkalian)
The performers endured verbal abuse and harassment from management before the group’s dissolution.
“I remember the fear, and how I was so anxious. I was reminded of how unusual our circumstances were, how abnormal,” one former SKY GIRLS’ member was quoted as saying, following the decision from the Tokyo District Court.
Opinion among the four women as to where to go next has been divided. Saya was quoted as saying “I loved the fans and the other members, and I’d wanted to continue as SKY GIRLS’, so I was disappointed. I’m sad to have had to stop our activities without any notice.”
Meanwhile, member Runa stated “Our parents had great expectations, and we even borrowed money from them, but then we had to quit and things escalated to the point of even a lawsuit! And while I wasn’t able to meet with management in person because of the pandemic, when we did meet with them [over video], it was scary. I felt like the stress was destroying my health.”
But with the lawsuit concluded and the court’s recent decision finding in their favor, the group has a measure of closure. As member Karina put it, “I feel like I’ve been set free.”
If You’re Looking For New Twitch Streamers To Follow, Here Are 42 That Should Be On Your List (Buzzfeed, Amatullah Shaw)
A list of gamers and their preferred genres to stream.
Black creators are often left out of conversations around gaming and streaming, so it’s important to give them their flowers.
Without further ado, here are 42 Black Twitch streamers who should be on your watch list (with notes from the people who watch them).
Survey: 79% feel men are treated better than women in Japan (The Asahi Shimbun, Mari Fujisaki)
This was the first year the survey also asked about giving married couples a choice of surname.
Questionnaires were mailed to 5,000 Japanese nationals 18 or older, and 2,847 of them, or 56.9 percent, responded. The results were published on March 14.
Only 14.7 percent of respondents said men and women are “treated equally” in society.
By contrast, 78.8 percent said men are “treated better” than women.
Asked to pick areas where men are treated better than women, 87.9 percent of respondents chose politics, followed by “socially accepted views, customs and conventions” at 81.8 percent, workplaces (64.1 percent), family life (59.8 percent), legal systems (52.3 percent), local activities, such as residents’ associations and parent-teacher associations (47.8 percent), and schools (24.5 percent).
News Navigator: Why is transphobia rising in Japan following debate on LGBTQ bill? (The Mainichi, Miyuki Fujisawa)
Like in other countries, much stems from misinformation around who is allowed in “women’s spaces.”
Q: Why is there more hate against transgender people now?
A: The bill describes efforts the national government and others must make to promote public understanding of transgender people, but it was falsely rumored that “if this law is enacted, you could just state that you’re a ‘woman at heart’ to enter the women’s section of a public bath.”
Whether or not one can enter certain sections of a public bathhouse is determined individually by each organization managing the facility. A person will not immediately be considered a transgender woman just by saying they “are a woman at heart.” False rumors that give off an impression the bill undermines women’s rights are malicious as they make people feel insecure, and have serious repercussions.
Q: How do we prevent the spread of misinformation?
A: Transgender people and others argue that “false rumors are threatening our lives,” and are calling for an end to hate speech. While there are many difficulties and challenges that transgender people face, currently a lot of energy has to be spent on debunking misinformation. Efforts must be made to base discussions on accurate knowledge and facts.
Japan to Schools: Don’t Dock Attendance for Groping Victims (Unseen Japan, Jay Allen)
The advisement by MEXT specifically involves not marking students who file a report after being groped tardy or absent.
In a 2019 survey, the organization #WeToo Japan surveyed 12,500 men and women between the ages of 15 and 49. They asked the subjects a variety of questions about their experiences with harassment on trains and walking out in public.
The results were deflating. 70% of women and 32% of men surveyed said they’d experienced some form of harassment.
The replies from women on groping were even more depressing. 47.9% of women report being touched on some part of their body. 18.6% specifically reported having their sexual organs groped. Women under age 20 were the most likely to be assaulted at 22.9%.
It’s also worth noting that the survey asked women if they were wearing short clothing at the time they were assaulted. Blaming women for “dressing sexually” is, of course, a common tactic that molesters use to justify their actions. Almost half reported they were wearing ordinary or long, concealing clothes. In other words, how women dress bears no relation to whether or not men assault them.
Of those assaulted, 4.6% say police arrested their perpetrator. Almost 6% say they reported the incident to station staff, while another 4.1% filed a police report. A whopping 50.5% say they just endured it, while another 33.6% said they fled the scene.
VIDEO: The history of 60-year-old shoujo magazine Margaret.
TWEET: Bilingual academic paper, “Multidimensionality of Romantic Orientation among the Aromantic/Asexual Spectrum in Japan”; journal is free to download.
THREAD: About influential genderless writer Arai Shou.
TWEET: Announcement of new book by Embrace Your Size author hara.
Lots of shows end poorly; it takes a special sort to crash and burn almost immediately.