Weekly Round-Up, 13-19 March 2024: Stolen Ryukyu Artifacts, Adult Content Creators, and Union Wage Wins

By: Anime Feminist March 19, 20240 Comments
chibi Yumiella looks sparkly eyed and determined

AniFem Round-Up

Curses and True Forms: Reading Fruits Basket as a lesbian

The manga’s take on textual queerness is messy at best, but its broader metaphors about being supposedly “monstrous” can still resonate with a marginalized reader.

Becoming Monstrous: Yurikuma Arashi and transmisogyny in the school system

Being visibly trans in the workplace often forces one to become either a hypervisible target or quietly complicit in the abuse of others.

Chatty AF 203: Revolutionary Girl Utena Watchalong – Episodes 21-27

The podcast return to cover the conclusion of the Black Rose arc, the beginning The End of the World, and Akio being both the worst and relentlessly sexy on convertibles.

What’s your favorite sci-fi/fantasy yuri or BL title?

We really need more gay spec-fic anime.

Beyond AniFem

Sex Work, Kink, and Consent: Here’s How the Anime Community Can be Better With Adult Content and Its Creators (Anime News Network, Lucas DeRuyter)

This subject only becomes more relevant as more online spaces continue banning adult content creators.

Lastly, this community’s unwillingness to address adult content in this scene has led to a blending of overt sex acts into regular convention fare. If you were at an anime con in the past year, chances are you saw someone walking around with a sign that read “I will step on you for $5” or “I will spit in your mouth for $5.” Adult model Nekomiiya pointed out that, “this can be seriously considered soliciting which could get someone penalized or even arrested with the wrong company around.” Persephone, interim CEO of the non-profit and kink/BDSM education-focused Threshold Society, noted that this behavior is reprehensible. These acts are overt public sexual play, and others present at a general anime convention have not consented to be passive participants in them.

“Fuck no on public sex acts. Kink relies on consent, and there’s no way to guarantee the consent of pedestrians,” Persephone said. Mimi Oh described this phenomena as “people cosplaying sex workers,” and noted that this trend is doing material harm to her and other content creators, as conventions move to broadly ban signs in response to the trend. For both adult and vanilla creators, signs are an easy way to inform people about their social platforms and the kind of work that they do. Losing signs as a means of advertisement at conventions would be a huge blow to any line of work in this community that necessitates a large social presence.

Those are, broadly, the most significant pain points around sex work in the anime community right now. Collectively, they denote systemic issues where a lack of shared definitions and language around sex work leads to a stigmatization of and willful ignorance of the needs of this part of the community, which leads to subpar and even consent-violating experiences. Fixing processes and changing attitudes on this scale is no easy task. Still, this change is necessary for the anime community to have a healthy, well-adjusted attitude toward adult content and ensure its members’ well-being. Here’s how sex workers and experts think we can improve our space.

Folks interviewed offered several practical definitions of sex work that all fit a philosophy of making sex work as broad a discipline as possible. Michelle defined sex work as “selling images, action, or services with an intention to excite the consumer sexually.” Ronnie/Bunni Black similarly said that “sex work is all-encompassing; any profession that is sexually gratifying is sex work.”

High court: Lack of provisions for gay marriage unconstitutional (The Asahi Shimbun, Akimitsu Ishigaki and Kazufumi Kaneko)

The news has also drawn attention from Justice Minister Koizumi Ryu.

The Sapporo High Court on March 14 upheld the landmark ruling of the Sapporo District Court in March 2021, which said the absence of same-sex marriage provisions in the Civil Law and Family Register Law violated Article 14 of the Constitution.

Article 14 states that everyone is equal under the law.

However, the high court rejected the claim by the plaintiffs–three same-sex couples–for 1 million yen ($6,800) each in compensation from the central government.

According to the district court ruling, sexual orientation was not something individuals could choose or change at their own will, and that it was on the same level as gender and ethnicity.

Therefore, not providing legal measures to allow same-sex couples to receive some of the legal effects of marriage went beyond the discretionary powers of the Diet and violated Article 14, the ruling said.

Why You Should Be Reading Auto-Biographical Manga (Black Nerd Problems, Carrie McClain)

The genre has the reach to touch on a lot of personal and contemporary issues.

Later, in How My Low Self-Esteem Got the Best of Me a romantic relationship with a man who coerced Nikaido into some actions that changed her and left her in a vulnerable state. This changed her relationship with her loved ones. Coming to grips with how bad she had been treated yet also how bad she had treated other women made her start seeking to change little by little. By the end of the short manga: she speaks in more detail on how focusing on herself, not comparing herself to others, and being mindful of pitfalls like being attached to men who she knows are no good. 

The Girl Who Can’t Get a Girlfriend was Mieri Hiranishi’s debut into making manga as an autobiographical journey about one lesbian mangaka’s search for a hot, short-haired girlfriend. When I first picked it up last year, I thought it was a refreshing take on a queer woman figuring out who she is and making an effort to acknowledge that romanticizing others and relationships gets her nowhere. Coming back to it, I love that it contains multitudes: comedic parts, otaku references, meme-y content, lots of cringe, and self-reflection. Hiranishi’s work here is an honest and vulnerable look at her life that we don’t always see in more mainstream comics here in the West and yet is so fun to read. I also adore this title for showing how a mangaka might debut into the more modern age of the industry and how they continue to work and create manga.

The Bride Was a Boy, created by the artist and mangaka known as Chii, may have been the first manga that I can point to that I read that was created by a trans person. The creator published during Pride Month in June a handful of years ago, The Bride is a Boy is an eye opener for marriage rights and the laws for LGBTQIA folks in Japan at that time. As so many stories about trans folks are tragic and steeped in terrible, harmful stereotypes, this manga about a transgender woman and her experiences leading up to her wedding is a comedic and honest upbeat read that I was sorry that I didn’t read immediately when it was published.

FBI reveals how Ryukyu kings’ scrolls missing since WWII were found and returned to Okinawa (The Mainichi, Hiroshi Higa)

The stolen artifacts also included ceremonial garb and jewelry.

The FBI has revealed how a set of painted scrolls depicting rulers of the Ryukyu Kingdom — now Japan’s Okinawa Prefecture — were recovered and returned to the prefecture from the United States earlier this month.

The paintings, called “ogoe,” went missing during the Battle of Okinawa near the end of the Pacific War. According to the FBI, the scrolls were hidden in the attic of a retired military veteran’s home in Massachusetts, and discovered by the family after the veteran’s death.

The FBI, which has a dedicated team for investigating art theft and looting, stated that the veteran served in World War II but was never deployed to the Pacific theater. After his death, the family reported finding “unusual items” while sorting through his belongings, prompting the FBI to initiate an investigation in January 2023.

Japan’s Revised Immigration Law Will Help Schoolchildren, Deport Others (Unseen Japan, Himari Semans)

The new law will protect “karihomen” children in school but dozens of children are still vulnerable.

Meanwhile, the remaining Kurdish children born outside of Japan fall through the cracks.

Farid (pseudonym) is a Turkish national of Kurdish ethnicity in his 40s raising his middle-school son, Silvan (pseudonym) in Saitama. There, 4,000 Kurdish immigrants––many karihomen––have fled to escape persecution by the Turkish government, among other states.

Farid’s family arrived in Japan when his youngest child Silvan was already 3, making them ineligible for the grant. 

There are 94 known children in total like Silvan who do not make the cut. About another 60 are ineligible due to their parent’s illegal entry into Japan.

Farid and Silvan tell reporters at 47 NEWS about their frustration with the grant’s narrow criteria.

“It’s unfair. I was born in Turkey, but I don’t remember anything about that place. If I go back to Turkey, I think I’ll be bullied,” says Silvan.

Farid fears worse than bullying. He recalled how Turkish authorities repeatedly arrested and interrogated him on false suspicions that he was involved with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a Kurdish militant political organization.

“If we go back to Turkey, my entire family may be arrested and killed,” Farid says, covering his eyes to conceal his emotions.

Farid and his family have lived in Japan since 2013 when they first applied for refugee status. It took until 2022 for the Immigration Services Agency to deny it. They are in the process of applying again.

This second application is the last Farid’s family can file without living under the threat of mandatory deportation. From the third application, they will live in tormenting fear of officials taking them away to a detention center before sending them back to Turkey.

Gender gap in Japanese workplace reinforced by traditional family values (The Mainichi, Tohru Shirakawa)

The report data focused on Shizuoka Prefecture, home to many major corporations and the sixth-highest income-per-capita out of the 47 prefectures.

Shiho Tanaka, the head of Shizuoka-based citizens’ group Single Parent 101 supporting single-parent households, told the Mainichi Shimbun, “In Shizuoka, many women quit their jobs when they get married or have a baby. Once out of the workforce, their careers are disrupted and from there they can only find non-regular employment and other unstable jobs.”

One woman in her 40s who sought help from the group married her husband in her early 30s. She left her job after her husband questioned whether she’d be able to balance work with raising their child. After having a baby, she started working part-time but her husband demanded that she work close to home. Their daughter has disabilities, and she covered her treatment fees from the paychecks she got from her part-time work, leaving her little spending money. Her husband was also physically abusive, but under these circumstances she could not get a divorce even if she wanted to.

Tanaka points out, “Whether the spouse has an income affects the power dynamic within a couple. It could be a cause for the woman to be put in a subordinate position.”

Meanwhile, an increasing number of companies in Shizuoka Prefecture are making efforts to offer better working conditions for women.

The Very Dumb Reason Why I Can’t Play Final Fantasy VII (Aftermath, Gita Jackson)

That feeling when bad or painful experiences taint associated media forever.

Fandom is very fun, but it is also a nightmare. When I was still deep in the culture of livejournal, an observer of culture rather than a maker of it, people sometimes talked about the mental illness soup that often precedes an extreme investment into specific pieces of media. I know that I pick up new hyperfixations when I’m feeling particularly low. Recently, as I started having issues with my back, I got really obsessed with k-pop music (stan P1harmony). It’s fun to get excited about something, especially as a counterbalance to the things in one’s life that are more bleak.

Of course, over-identifying with a piece of media, leaning on it too much, isn’t a great coping mechanism. Final Fantasy fans certainly love Final Fantasy—to the point that someone used the contact form on my personal website to tell me to kill myself for criticizing Final Fantasy XVI. There is a point where the thing you like supplants your common sense, or at least your sense of scale and proportionality. If you’re basically in love with Aerith and spend as much time as possible surrounding yourself with iconography from Final Fantasy VII, dating someone who can also act out the game with you might seem totally rational. But that’s not really a relationship with another person—that’s just your fandom for Final Fantasy VII projected outward at a woman.

The return of Gamergate is smaller and sadder (The Verge, Ash Parrish)

The primary target for harassment has been consultation agency Sweet Baby Inc.

Based on the time I spent lurking in their Discord, it became clear these people aren’t actually here to create meaningful change for their cause. Most are simply there for the vibes, rancid though they are. “I’m just here cause it’s fun, nothing’s gonna happen,” one user wrote in the Discord.

“I’m just here cause it’s fun, nothing’s gonna happen”

“[There are] lots of emotions and passion bottled up from being silenced for an extended period of time,” wrote another member of the Discord. “This [movement] is basically causing everyone to vent out their frustrations.”

That doesn’t mean the group is harmless. Ten years ago, Gamergate unleashed a wave of harassment targeting women, journalists, and people of color. It created the template for a kind of violent, right-wing internet culture that persists to this day. And the guise of “ethics in games journalism,” thin as it was, allowed the movement to shield its true aims. Since SBID referred to itself as the second coming of Gamergate, it’s important to apply the lessons not learned from the previous Gamergate and call this bigoted movement for what it is, loudly and vociferously.

Japan union group announces biggest wage hikes in 33 years, presaging shift at central bank (The Asahi Shimbun)

Like the US, wages in Japan have not kept up with cost-of-living inflation.

Japan’s biggest companies agreed to hike wages by 5.28% for 2024, the highest in 33 years, the country’s largest union group said on Friday, reinforcing views that the county’s central bank will soon shift away from a decade-long stimulus program.

The stronger-than-expected outcome comes as the Bank of Japan looks close to ending eight years of negative interest rate policy. BOJ officials have stressed the timing of a pivot would depend on the outcome of this year’s annual wage negotiations.

Policymakers hope that hefty pay rises will boost household spending and produce more durable growth in the broader economy, which narrowly avoided slipping into recession late last year.

Workers at major firms had asked for annual increases of 5.85%, topping the 5% mark for the first time in 30 years, according to trade union group Rengo.

The union group, which represents about 7 million workers, many at large companies, had set its eyes on more than 3% of base pay hikes — a key barometer of wage strength as they determine wage curves that provide the basis of bonuses, severance and pensions.

TWEET: The creator of She Loves to Cook and She Loves to Eat has decided to donate all royalties from the drama adaptation’s second season to Marriage for All Japan.

AniFem Community

The list of titles is slowly but steadily growing larger in the anime world, and there are so many great manga.

What's this? Another opportunity for me to fall over myself to recommend Heaven Official's Blessing? Don't mind if I do!  Manga-wise, I've been really digging what I've read of The Summer Hikaru Died so far!
Favorite Sci-fi/Fantasy Yuri/BL - Anime: Wow, I didn't realize how often I separated these genres from each other. For BL, I like the "This Boy" series, particularly This Boy is a Professional Wizard and This Boy Caught a Merman. Honorable mention to the extremely extra, hard to explain why I like it, Kyo Kara Maoh (seasons 1-2 only as I never watched S3). For yuri, while it's not explicitly confirmed there is no convincing straight explanation for Ange & Princess in Princess Principal. There is also a canon yuri background couple in Bodacious Space Pirates.  Favorite Sci-fi/Fantasy Yuri/BL - Manga: I'm drawing a blank. I think I read BL or sci-fi/fantasy, but haven't yet read both together. Same for yuri. I plan to read No.6 so that will be fixed soon for BL.  Subgenre Wishlist: More steampunk, I think! A BL or yuri space opera on a large scale would be great.

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: