Katherine Mussellam looks at how the writing of characters like Ezekial and Skip swings back and forth between nuance and stereotype, and how that affects the impact of the series’ finale.
For those who’ve heard the word “copaganda” but aren’t sure what it means or how to recognize it, Lucas D Ruyter lays out a primer on the history of pro-law enforcement narratives and their implications.
A women-focused retelling of a famous work of Japanese war literature, written and directed by two female industry veterans.
This month’s post includes Lil Nas X’s collection of charities, abortion clinic funds in Texas, and the importance of organization by and for sex worker communities.
Living While (a) Black (American expat) in Japan (Patreon, Baye McNiell)
Thoughts on the successes and failures of a recent short documentary by NPR.
This is what I expected from a documentary with the title “Living While Black in Japan”. I expected to learn about how people of African descent from multifarious backgrounds make their way through a society programmed not to see them as anything but an “other” or a novelty or a threat or a joke, and rarely as an equal. And I didn’t get that. At all.
What I got was unbalanced, focused so heavily on the positives of life here (and the negatives of life there) by everyone involved that viewers would believe that there is a “black” consensus. Japan has the black stamp of approval or as my boy Timid Mc says, “it could be seen as a get on the boat piece for black people!”
And, worst of all, it will be used to discount any complaints made by people of African descent in the days and weeks and months and years to come. A video the pug uglies can point to as PROOF that black people are happy here, even whining ass Americans are satisfied with Japan, believe Japan to be superior to America in its views and feelings and treatment of black people.
On Problematic Celebrities and What to Do When Your Fave Screws Up (Teen Vogue, Stitch)
Tackling both the problem of pedestals and backlashes that attempt to silence criticism of harmful actions.
There’s a habit that people have of deflecting when a creator or celebrity gets revealed as a creep, or they mess up in some way that’s harmful. One of the main ways that they do this is by uplifting their own celebrity fave through some version of “stan ____ for clear skin” or “see, if you stanned _____, you wouldn’t have this problem because they’re unproblematic.” Sometimes they even drop lists of supposedly “unproblematic” creators in a given fandom or genre as if to say, “I was able to spot the bad person before you guys did… follow these good people instead.”
However, that’s not how any of that works. When people meet valid criticisms of a celebrity — or news that the public figure has committed crimes or harmed others — with a “Follow this unproblematic person instead” response, it glosses over the fact that we don’t actually know who people are online. A public figure who overshares on their YouTube channel might seem like one of your closest friends thanks to the magic of the parasocial relationship, but they’re all functionally strangers. We don’t know what they’re really like because we’re only seeing what they choose to show us.
The YouTuber that you recommend as an “unproblematic” alternative to one accused of harassing women or sexting underaged fans might have their own scandal come out in the coming weeks. The Korean idol group you recommend because they don’t have cultural appropriation issues “like everyone else”? Well, they probably do, because that’s one of the uncomfortable realities of being into Korean idols… lots of cultural appropriation and an unfortunate history of antiblackness that includes blackface.
Sugiyama’s only lonely boy (Kritiqal, Nilson Carroll)
Interactive essay on grappling with composer Sugiyama Koichi as a longtime Dragon Quest fan.
I’m thinking about my father, and how I often scorn a father’s cursed legacy (my very own shonen complex). For once, I recognize that my father too is under the same curse as me (the poisons of patriarchy and imperialism), an even deeper, festering curse. I’d be petrified to learn what my own father thinks about the high suicide rate among queer people. I already know the answer.
This isn’t to say Sugiyama isn’t at fault, that it’s “just his generation,” because that’s bullshit logic. We don’t tolerate intolerance, period. If Sugiyama composed the Dragon Quest “Overture” and his subconscious made it for “straight people only,” well, he can fuck right off.
Back in bed, all the rubbery souls on the CD stare up at me. The smiling slimes, Toriyama’s grinning cast, even the wily villains ready to pat me on the back. My friends. Somewhere, in a different country, Yuji Horii writes notes on a napkin about a depressed sculptor who worked so hard he forgot his wife, who then left him, and the subsequent sculpture park the sculptor builds in remembrance of her lost love.
EXPLAINER: Japanese ruling party race to determine next PM (The Mainichi)
Briefs on the current candidates for Japan’s Prime Minister and their stances.
SEIKO NODA: A longtime hopeful to become Japan’s first female leader, she is entering the race for the first time at age 61. She has served as postal, internal affairs and gender equality ministers. Noda, who has long sought to address the country’s declining birth rates, had her first child at age 50 after fertility treatment. Japan’s rapidly shrinking population is a serious national security risk because Japan won’t have enough troops or police in coming decades, she said. She supports same-sex marriage and acceptance of sexual diversity, as well as a legal change to allow separate surnames for married couples, and has campaigned for a quota system to increase the number of female lawmakers. Noda, a late entry in the race, said she is running for the weak and “to achieve diversity” — a goal that other candidates did not highlight.
A Japanese-Peruvian man is seeking damages from the state after being left handcuffed for over half a day.
The video includes footage of Fujii being hauled off to a solitary cell by many officers, as well as him being held down during tussles with five officers in the middle of the night and lying on the floor handcuffed with his arms behind his back.
Another scene showed an immigration officer intimidating Fujii by asking him whether he was prepared to follow their orders.
At a press conference in Osaka, Maya Kawasaki, one of his lawyers, criticized the treatment as being punitive, adding that it could be considered “torture.”
In previous hearings, the government has maintained that no excessive force was used to restrain Fujii. The Osaka immigration bureau declined to comment on the video due to the pending trial.
According to the complaint, Fujii was left with his arms handcuffed behind his back for more than 14 hours on Dec. 20, 2017, after he expressed dissatisfaction with his lunch and became violent. He was later found to have fractured his arm, with the injury taking a month to heal.
Young carer of father with dementia reflects on experience, need to open up (Pt. 1) (The Mainichi, Kentaro Mikami)
Part one of a multi-part series on the struggles a young man faced as a student while caring for his father.
His father continued to take antidepressants for over half a year. While he showed emotional fits less frequently, his memory loss only got worse. Soon, he became incapable of remembering conversations that took place just one hour before, and was examined at an outpatient department for memory loss. In January 2009, when Ohashi was in his second year of middle school, his father who had turned 50 was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
The diagnosis of a specific disease brought only a brief moment of relief. Ohashi’s mind went blank upon hearing the doctor’s subsequent words: “It cannot be cured with the current medical technology. As it began at a young age, the disease will progress quickly, too. He has roughly six to eight years left. At most, he can last for 10 years.” After being informed that his father could only live for 10 more years at most, Ohashi decided to treasure their remaining time together.
Due to financial reasons, he only applied to one metropolitan high school, avoiding private schools with expensive tuition, and passed the exam. In spite of this, during his second year at senior high, he was met with an unexpected response during a guidance session on future academic and career paths. After telling the teacher in charge of the session about his family’s financial problems resulting from his father’s disease and inability to work, as well as about his situation of offering care for his father, he was told, “That’s your family’s problem, not yours.”
TWEET: Short video celebrating Shojo Beat’s 16th anniversary, with a bonus message from Hatori Bisco.
TWEET: Open call from yuri/GL game producer Studio Élan for their publishing branch, Bellhouse.
THREAD: Short thread about abortion in Japan.
TWEET: Podcast interview with the original dub voice of “Molly” in Sailor Moon, Mary Long.
This week we highlighted the charities and aid groups promoted alongside Lil Nas X’s new album; please also enjoy his incredible cover of the Dolly Parton classic “Jolene.”
….And also, Shirahama Kamome‘s dogs being adorable.