Weekly Round-Up, 17-23 February 2021: Academic Fact-Checking, Signs of Affection, and The Eccentric Family

By: Anime Feminist February 23, 20210 Comments
the three horse girls of Umamusume looking disappointed. subtitle: Come on, why the long faces?

AniFem Round-Up

How BL and Yuri Helped Me Face My Sexuality

Cynthia Millsap shares her coming out journey and how BL and yuri helped her tackle her internalized bigotries by showing queer happiness is possible and beautiful.

ADHD as Investigation: How Hyouka’s Chitanda carves space for herself as a leader

Zeldaru explores Chitanda’s arc and how negative assumptions about ADHD get turned on their head and into part of what make her an invaluable mystery-solver.

Power Outage Resources

General tips and aid links for larger areas affected by winter storms.

Beyond AniFem

“Contracting for Sex in the Pacific War”: The Case for Retraction on Grounds of Academic Misconduct (Google Site; Amy Stanley, Hannah Shepherd, Sayaka Chatani, David Ambaras, Chelsea Szendi Schieder)

Extensive paper fact-checking and calling for the retraction of an academic article purporting that all Korean “comfort women” were in fact engaged in consenting contractual work.

Further, Ramseyer provides no examples of contracts for Korean women, whether signed contracts or templates, working in licensed brothels or comfort stations. One of the sources Ramseyer cites, Kim and Kim, Shokuminchi yūkaku: Nihon no guntai to Chōsen hantō [Colonial red-light districts: The Japanese military and the Korean peninsula], provides indirect information about payment in the prewar Korean licensed system through newspaper and magazine reports and oral testimony. U.S. military records also document survivor testimony from comfort women who said they were held to contracts. (Ramseyer’s use of these sources is discussed below.) But there are no signed or sample contracts for Korean women cited, and Ramseyer’s article does not acknowledge this absence, nor does it lay out a strategy for making calculations or generalizations from scattered and indirect evidence. 

Meanwhile, readers are asked to assume, with no justification, that the few cases Ramseyer cites are representative rather than outliers. At best, we can conclude, given fragmentary and indirect evidence, that some women were employed through a contract system. But we cannot confirm this for most, let alone for all, women. We cannot make claims about how much the women were paid, and we cannot say how long their terms were on average. We also know — from the very sources Ramseyer cites — that some women held to contracts had been deceived about the nature of their work and that some were not free to leave even when their terms ended (see the section on Use of Evidence from Primary Sources below).

Without any evidence of signed contracts for either women in the “comfort station” system or Korean prostitutes in general, it is difficult to assess or credit an argument that is primarily about contracting for labor, which purports to analyze payments and terms of service, and which relies on a problematic comparison between the (well documented) domestic Japanese prewar licensed system, the colonial Korean licensed system, and the “comfort station” system. As our colleagues Andrew Gordon and Carter Eckert have written in a separate letter to the journal, “Any reasonable standard of academic integrity would require that Ramseyer state in his article that he does not have access to actual contracts or sample contracts concluded with Korean women in Korea, acknowledge how few third-party statements he has seen about contracts, and note the limits to what one can learn from those references.”

The ‘Comfort Women’ Issue, Freedom of Speech, and Academic Integrity: A Study Aid (The Asia-Pacific Journal, Tessa Morris-Suzuki)

A framework of guiding questions for unpacking ethical issues in a historical analysis, focusing on the same article as the above.

Defining your own position in relation to your research. Most researchers approach their work with some pre-existing belief and ideology, and many have political objectives, such as the wish to influence policy, support the work of social movements etc. It is important that researchers are open about their own positions. It can be argued that, if a piece of research is being done specifically to advance a policy position or movement etc., the author should make this clear to readers.

In relation to the ‘comfort women’ history – Immediately after publishing the article ‘Contracting for Sex in the Pacific War’, Professor Ramseyer went on to publish a media piece, ‘Recovering the Truth about the Comfort Women’ in the online journal Japan Forward. Here, repeating sentences from his International Review of Law and Economics article, he shifted from his academically-worded conclusion about the application of game theory to wartime ‘comfort stations’ to the much more aggressively political statement that ‘the comfort-women-sex-slave story’ is ‘pure fiction’, that testimonies from former ‘comfort women’ about forcible recruitment are lies, and the whole story has been driven by a left-wing South Korean lobby group bent on sabotaging Japan-South Korea relations in order to promote a ‘key North Korean political goal’. Japan Forward is a news/opinion site established by the neo-nationalist Japanese Sankei Media group to propagate its views and those of like-minded people to an English-speaking audience (see Nakai 2018, p. 3). The site is currently running a very energetic campaign on the ‘comfort women’ history, aimed at denying that any ‘comfort women’ at all were recruited by force or deception and denouncing women who testify to forcible recruitment as liars.

“The Eccentric Family” Classic Review with @joseinextdoor (Love it or Weeb it)

Long-form podcast discussion of both seasons of the tanuki-ful cult classic.

Annie and Jeff are joined by Dee (aka @joseinextdoor) to cover Annie’s classic review pick, The Eccentric Family!

Isaki Uta and Freedom of Expression (Heavensdoorknob)

Commentary on two recently licensed doujinshi by the same author.

First of all, let me just get this out of the way. I really enjoyed Mine-kun is Asexual. It was a touching, bittersweet story that portrayed asexuality in a light that didn’t necessarily make ace people look like some inherently broken, confused existence that must be fixed in order to function in society. As a purely artistic endeavor, however, I was absolutely enthralled by Mermaid In The Bottle. It was such a strange, interesting setup, and drawn with an artistic flourish that amplified the characters’ emotional states in really creative ways. I think it’s clear just from the covers that these two books are tackling their thematic content in different ways. Mine-kun‘s cover has the two main characters in window portraits, with a line crossing Mine’s to illustrate there is something different about him compared to Murai, whose portrait is untouched. She is also facing away from the camera, presumably looking at Mine-kun himself, but perhaps only at the part that the light is hitting or he presents to the public, as she didn’t know about his sexuality until she started dating him. For Mermaid, we see a side facing portrait of Ayumi, in a dark crimson gradient as she’s breathing out air bubbles. The title itself is stylized in its lettering to look like cuts. At first, I was wondering if this story would be about self-harm, thinking that the cuts might be scars. They indeed are scars, but of a different origin.

Japan’s ruling party says women can join key meetings — as silent observers (The Washington Post, Miriam Berger)

This continues the long streak of LDP officials making bigoted comments.

When the leaders of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party meet, there are no women at the table. But the male-dominated elected body has a proposal to change that — by allowing five female lawmakers to sit in silence and watch the men work.

Toshihiro Nikai, 82, the party’s secretary general, told reporters Tuesday that the idea was to allow the party’s female members a chance to “look” at the top decision-making process, Reuters reported. They would then be able to submit comments following the meetings.

He did not say if any women had been consulted in devising the plan.

Has the games industry lived up to its Black Lives Matter promises? (PC Gamer, Malindy Hetfeld)

Checking in on the progress (or lack thereof) of companies that pledged to uplift Black creators in gaming this past summer.

Excuses, missing access to education, high entry barriers and systemic racism make it difficult for Black people of all ages to successfully enter and retain their place in the games industry. Several organisations try to offer support to people at all stages of their career, and more have been established since last summer, while others have seen increased interest.

This support is crucial for Black developers and other minorities, especially when public interest in their cause lets up, and provides them with a safe environment to start or advance their game development career. Last year, Unbroken Studios decided to become a sponsor for one such organisation—Gameheads, a tech training programme aimed at low-income youth and youth of colour in the Bay Area. Apart from supporting Gameheads financially and providing career advice for young people interested in entering the games industry, Unbroken plans to hold engineering workshops. Code Coven, an organisation that offers game development classes, accelerators and networking opportunities, recently announced its Intro To Game Making scholarships for BAME and BIPOC creators. The Tentacle Zone incubator, helmed by indie developer Payload Studios, offers training and mentorship to early stage developers from underrepresented groups, with subjects ranging from game design to PR. Applications are being accepted until February 24.

ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Signs of Affection,’ Volume 1 (But Why Tho?, Mercedez Clewis)

A shoujo romance between a linguist girl and a boy who communicates with JSL.

I will admit, upfront, that I am a writer who, while living with non-visible disabilities, can see and hear in a non-disabled way. After all, the world is structured for abled bodies. That’s a horrific priviledge, but a priviledge nonetheless. As a reader who tries to read outside my own experiences, I find this is extremely common in manga. So, it’s nice to see A Sign of Affection Volume 1 pushing back against that kind of world.

Specifically, I think this manga pushes back on the norm well because suu Morishita did a lot of research. In fact, this was a deliberate decision on behalf of Nachiyan, the half of suu Morishita that serves as the artist. In fact, a Kodansha interview with the creators mentions them doing extensive research, including consulting members of Japan’s own Deaf and Hard of Hearing community.

Because of the deliberate decision to center on Japanese Sign Language (JSL) and disabilities, A Sign of Affection Volume 1 transcends being another well-written shoujo. It becomes an important text that sees disabled readers and gives them a character to relate to directly. 

THREAD: An ongoing list of content warnings for Wonder Egg Priority.

TWEET: Info on how to support indie bookstores when buying manga.

TWEET: Sale on an academic book about gender and protests in Japan during the 60s and 70s.

AniFem Community

Please stay safe out there, AniFam.

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