Weekly Round-Up, 13-19 September 2023: Women in Politics, LGBTQ+ Communities in Hiroshima, and New Seven Seas Publisher

By: Anime Feminist September 19, 20230 Comments
an undead woman's head in a birdcage; she looks very unimpressed

AniFem Round-Up

BL Manga Artist Aiba Kyoko on Industry Demands, Artistic Growth, and Writing About Young Carers

We talked with Aiba-sensei about her influences, observations of changes in the genre over the past decade, and newest work.

Queer time and the quarter-life crisis in contemporary yuri

The growing number of yuri about adults creates space to explore the post-adolescence queer coming-of-age story.

Chatty AF 192: Anime and Abolition – Part 2

Tony, MoBlack, and Danny return, using the theories of Sadiya Hartman and Joy James to discuss Fujiko Mine, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean, Deca-Dence and Michiko & Hatchin.

What anime series writer or director would you like to see make a film?

Whether veterans or someone promising but new.

Beyond AniFem

Ep. 102: Not All Girls Are Stupid, by Minami Q-ta (Mangasplaining)

Podcast discussion of the mentioned manga with accompanying notes.

Star Fruit Books is the first English language publisher of Minami Q-ta’s work. In addition to 2016’s Pop Life (two volumes), they have also released the short story The Blood Red Boy (2000) which we previously read on the podcast, and today’s work, Not All Girls Are Stupid (Japanese: 愚図な女ばかりじゃないぜ/Guzu na Onna Bakarija Naize) which was originally released in 1997 by Bunkasha. All titles are available digitally, but only Not All Girls Are Stupid is also available as a print edition from Star Fruit. As someone who has read all of them, I highly recommend that you check them out too.

Q-ta is still a very active comic maker, who self-publishes doujinshi and short stories that they offer at conventions and other events, including Comitia where Deb and I met her earlier this year. We talk about that a little later. But if you want to see what Q-ta is up to, the best place to do so is to follow their Twitter account @murasakibashi, for as long as that site lasts.

More female lawmakers key to elevating women to leadership in Japan (The Mainichi)

Some of the interviewed political scholars have proposed introducing a quota system to reach gender parity goals.

“The number of female ministers in the new Cabinet was higher than expected. At issue is whether Mr. Kishida will exert a strong leadership in advancing women’s political empowerment to better reflect increasingly diverse views in Japan,” said Yoshikuni Ono, a professor of political science at Waseda University.

“The LDP — made up of mostly male lawmakers and with a relatively large number of its new candidates hailing from political families — should step up efforts to boost women’s representation in the Diet to expand a pool of potential female Cabinet members, including a prime minister,” Ono said in an interview.

He was referring to the party’s goal of raising the number of female LDP members in the lower house and the House of Councillors, Japan’s upper house, to 30 percent from the current 12 percent in 10 years.

Opposition parties have higher rates of female members in the Diet, with the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan at 22 percent and the Japan Innovation Party at 15 percent.

Crafting Psychological BL Manga with Kyoko Aiba (Anime News Network, Toni Sun)

Our own Toni spoke with Aiba-sensei about her work and themes.

How have different communities responded to your work because there are multiple audiences for BL, right? There’s fujoshi, and then there are gay men. I’m curious about the differences in their responses to your work, and also especially what gay men have thought of your work.

AIBA: With regards to gay men, I believe that [gay] people have a very unique circumstance because I actually get fan letters from the gay community. They tell me through their fan letters how they might not have the best of situations and everything, and they tell me very sincerely about that. So if my manga can improve things for them in any little way, then I’m very happy with myself.

You’ve said Junjo Romantica is one of your favorite manga. Is this still true, and how has it inspired or influenced your work?

AIBA: So, I’m not exactly sure if I said I love Junjo Romantica the best [laughs]. However, I would say that is definitely something that I do love.

Okay. [everybody laughs].

AIBA: However, Junjo Romantica was in the same magazine as my work. I don’t really think I was actively inspired by it. But I think that parts of it probably rubbed off, and I did passively get inspired by it. But it’s not like I made an active effort to take things from Junjo Romantica.

Recently, you’ve done more work in the josei sphere, such as Harlem Knights. What influenced your move into josei manga?

AIBA: Aside from BL, there is a genre called “Teens Love,” and [working on josei] is actually something that I’ve been doing in parallel with boy’s love for a long time. So I’ve recently started to go in a direction outside of romance manga, and it was something I have wanted to do for a long time now. I originally wanted to go into the shōjo manga space. I didn’t begin with the intent to start in the boy’s love sphere. However, I did kind of get pulled by its gravity. [laughs] But yeah, I did have plans to diversify from way back in the day, so I guess it’s a natural progression.

1st female mayor in Japan’s Aichi Pref. starts work (The Mainichi, Motoyori Arakawa)

Sato won in an election against two other independent candidates.

At a press conference, 45-year-old Yumi Sato said, “I want to create a society where motivated people, both men and women, can play an active role. With only 4% of mayors nationwide being women, it is a big challenge for me to jump into this position,” indicating her intention to actively promote women to management positions. Of the nine department heads in the Nagakute Municipal Government, only one is a woman.

Sato was welcomed by about 100 city employees and received a bouquet of flowers upon entering the city hall. She then gave instructions to approximately 25 executive officials. The mayor explained that her basic stance in managing the municipal government is to “see, reach, and change,” which consists of proactively disseminating information about the city, creating a city hall where citizens’ voices and requests are heard, and reviewing all projects and changing those that need to be revised. “I want to build a city where everyone can have hope. I ask you to please go in the same direction as I do,” she added.

More firms in west Japan providing language training to foreign workers (The Mainichi, Hayato Matsubara)

The program, which struggled to gain traction early on due to pandemic closures, will receive government funding starting this year.

The employees were working on a program called “Shokuba de Nihongo,” or Japanese in the workplace, which the Shimane International Center has been offering since fiscal 2019. It is a Japanese language training program held by visiting companies, where instructors give 12 lessons of 90 minutes each.

In addition to introductory courses that can be used in daily life and for intra-company communication, there are also courses that focus on language directly related to work, with curricula and teaching materials created based on interviews with firms about their objectives and problems. It also allows foreign workers to learn Japanese used at their jobs while continuing to work, for example, by using photos of their worksites as teaching materials upon request. The course fee is a flat rate of 55,000 yen (about $370), but the total amount varies depending on the curriculum and materials.

Izumo has the largest foreign population in the prefecture, with 4,670 foreign residents out of a population of approximately 170,000 as of the end of December 2022. More than 3,000 of the foreign residents are Brazilians, and in recent years the population of Vietnamese, of which there are 356, has been growing remarkably. The city has allocated funds in its initial budget for fiscal 2023 to subsidize the fees for Japanese language training provided by the international center. In the case of Sanin Setsubi Kogyo mentioned earlier, the company only needed to bear the cost of teaching materials and other related expenses.

Seven Seas Entertainment Appoints Lianne Sentar as Publisher (Anime News Network, Adriana Hazra)

Sentar has been a fixture in the US manga industry for several decades.

North American manga and light novel publisher Seven Seas Entertainment announced on Monday that it has appointed Lianne Sentar to the role of publisher. Sentar is replacing former publisher Jason DeAngelis in the position as the company appoints him as the new president and CEO (chief executive officer).

The company is appointing associate publisher Adam Arnold as the new vice president and COO (chief operating officer).

Lianne Sentar previously held the position of sales and marketing manager at Seven Seas Entertainment. She joined the company as a freelance editor in 2012, and it appointed her as the head of its marketing department in 2017. Sentar also co-founded the publishing house Chromatic Press and its Sparkler Monthly digital fiction magazine. She got her start writing a series of Sailor Moon prose novels for Tokyopop.

Johnny’s decades-long abuse coverup relied on cozy ties with media (The Mainichi)

The first published accusations go back to 1996. Several in the industry discuss whether this could be an opportunity for structural change in the industry or whether it will fall back into the existing status quo. Article includes discussion of child sexual abuse.

The Japanese weekly magazine Shukan Bunshun in 1999 later published a series detailing accusations that several boys had been abused and sexually exploited. Kitagawa, who was never charged with any crimes on the basis of the allegations, sued the Shukan Bunshun and was awarded damages.

But even in 2003, when the judgment was partially overturned after the Tokyo High Court ruled the magazine had sufficient reason to publish the allegations, mainstream media remained largely silent.

Such allegations only garnered wide public attention after the BBC aired a documentary in March this year that included interviews with victims.

The agency in May issued a video and written public apology from its current president Julie Keiko Fujishima, but it was only on Sept. 7 when it held its first press conference on the issue.

Noriyuki Higashiyama, a veteran TV personality long represented by the agency, took over the helm after Fujishima, Kitagawa’s niece, acknowledged the scandal and stepped down as president.

“I think Mr. Kitagawa and the agency as a whole were in the wrong,” said Higashiyama, 56, when asked at the press conference about self-censorship by the Japanese media over the sexual abuse cases.

Yoshihiko Inohara, president of the agency’s subsidiary Johnnys’ Island, who also attended the press conference, called for a change in media attitudes, saying, “Self-censorship is rampant in Japan. It is really tough to eliminate, and it is a problem that we need to work on together.”

But some have questioned whether the appointment of Higashiyama as the new president constitutes the kind of internal organizational reform recommended by the firm’s external probe, also partly because he himself faces allegations of sexual abuse, revealed in a tell-all book by a former agency member years ago.

Higashiyama denied the allegations when they were raised at the press conference.

VIDEO: Connecting Oshimi’s Inside Mari to the subculture of trans incels.

VIDEO: Lecture on the connections between Bl and yuri

VIDEO: Japanese news program (with subtitles in captions) interviewing an LGBTQ+ community in Hiroshima.

AniFem Community

Seriously, can someone make sure Matsumoto Rie and Yamamoto Sayo are okay?

For me, I would like to see Mamoru Hatakeyama direct an original movie because he is such a prolific director with unique, distinctive style that I think would do a fantastic job in a movie format. Sayo Yamamoto is the other director that I'd like to see directing a movie and being free from Ice Adolescence trap hole, please! Anyway I want to see her directing an original about adult woman navigating her life, I believe that she will create a very insightful story with sexiness sprinkling on top. Kotomi Deai is also a very good choice, her work in Skip and Loafer and Natsume's Book of Friends are fantastic, here subtle touch in those adaptations are a very good ability in translating story from paper to screen, and I want to see her to bring those small subtle touch onto the big screen.  For favorite TV artists who are already gone into film, I definitely go with Naoko Yamada and Mari Okada, I love their works in TV series form and I also really love their work in movie form, I'm very excited to watch their upcoming movies.  Those very talented artists are among my favorites, I really like their works and I am exciting to see whatever they make in the future, movies and TV series.
Considering how absolutely beautiful the Roger/Luffy scene in One Piece episode 1015 is, I would absolutely love to see an original film directed by Megumi Ishitani.

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