Mélina Ghorafi digs through the troubling wreckage of Black Butler’s second season to extract Alois’ poignant character arc as a queer abuse survivor.
Kerine Wint highlights the work of Black critics discussing the nuances of Yasuke and its shortcomings, which were largely overlooked when the anime premiered.
Dee, Vrai, and Peter check in on the Fall season, from plucky princes to rollerblading tokusatsu heroes.
Therapy and mental health care resources for marginalized communities.
What are We Talking About When We Talk About “Good Representation”? (The Afictionado, Alex Henderson)
Unpacking the tension between the desire for “good rep” and how it does a disservice to the broader world of good queer fiction.
And again, again, there is some weight to that. Media depictions do influence the ways that marginalised groups are imagined in popular consciousness. But nuance and variety are just as important to “representation” as the fact that any given character is queer. We live in exciting times where the amount of queer rep genuinely is increasing exponentially, so we have room for a variety of stories. Not every artwork needs to function as an envoy-style “representative” of all queer people ever.
When we demand “good rep”, what are we asking for? For queer characters so flawless and narratives so wholesome that they can never offend anyone, on either side of the queer consumer/homophobic industry gatekeeper divide? For a box to tick so we can feel ideologically good about enjoying or not enjoying a thing? If we only want what’s squeaky clean, we’ll miss the amazing, raw, evocative, moving stories that come with mess.
Instead of clamouring for “good rep”, we should ask what we might lose if we continually chase and chastise queer creators for their stories and their characters being objectionable in some ways. We want “positive and responsible” representation, but, as Halberstam wrote, “a cinema of positive images is simply not a very interesting cinema.” And should art not, first, try to be interesting rather than perfect?
If we hinge all our media criticism around yes-or-no questions, we’re not doing media criticism. If we don’t engage with things in their historical and cultural contexts and just… God… rely on quick spicy takes from Twitter and dot-point lists of why a work is “problematic” from Tumblr or whatever they’re doing on TikTok… it’s nothing good. We can do better. We owe queer storytellers and their art (and the art of textual analysis) better.
Upcoming free panel event on December 12th.
As a part of our pop culture series, The Japan Foundation, New York will start a special “Girls’ culture series” exploring topics such as Shojo manga, Kawaii culture, Takarazuka Revue and Boys Love to gain a broader and deeper understanding of the roots of Japanese Girls’ pop culture.
For our first episode, we will focus on Japanese girls’ comics, Shojo manga. Recently, Shojo manga has become popular globally, but its styles and themes come from more than a century of girls’ culture in Japan.
Come join our panel discussion with four Shojo manga experts: Deborah Shamoon, Mia Lewis, Kazumi Nagaike and Erica Friedman. They will delve into the history of Shojo manga and take a closer look at the styles and themes that make the genre so unique, while exploring the universal appeal and influence of Shojo manga.
PlayStation faces gender discrimination lawsuit (Polygon, Nicole Carpenter)
This lawsuit follows the news of abuses by Activision-Blizzard CEO and nominally sentient taint Bobby Kotick.
Majo detailed these and other allegations from a Sony career dating to 2015. She says that she saw bias against women regarding promotions; that she remained in the same position without a promotion for six years, despite frequently asking for one; and that some male supervisors, including security director Yuu Sugita, would not speak to women with the door closed. If another male colleague was present, Sugita would speak only to him,
Majo added that she frequently made requests through her male co-workers, feeling that they would be ignored if she made them. Likewise, Majo said she has “personally heard managers make gender-based comments about female workers.” Majo also said the company had a 60-40 split, men to women, when she started in 2015, and the company hired more men than women thereafter. As of a 2020 study, Sony’s executive committee was exclusively male.
Majo’s suit said she believes gender bias, and because she spoke up about it, caused her dismissal.
Researcher develops indexes to gauge people’s gender bias (The Asahi Shimbun, Tomoki Yasuda)
Unsurprisingly, so far the Kyushu University test results have shown divisions depending on age and familiarity with feminist movements.
The other questions are as follows: a woman’s happiness is dependent on her getting married and having children; a woman’s happiness is not dependent on success in her professional career; a wife should walk three steps behind her husband; a woman’s looks are more important than her intellect; a woman should not attend the University of Tokyo as doing so will make it difficult for her to find a marriage partner later; a professional career gets in the way of a woman being able to find the perfect partner; and a wife should never reprove her husband.
Respondents can pick from four answers: “strongly agree,” “agree,” “disagree,” “strongly disagree.”
The first answer scores one point, the second two points, and so on. The perfect total score is 32.
The lower the overall total, the more conservative respondents are.
Uninsured foreigners in Japan face threats to life, ballooning medical costs (The Mainichi, Ken Uzuka)
While Japan ostensibly offers universal health care, an increasing number of people have fallen through the cracks since the pandemic began.
While there has been a spate of high-cost billing of foreigners, there is also a mechanism to help them. The “free or low-cost medical service” provides medical care to the needy regardless of nationality. Certain hospitals designated by the social welfare law accept low-income and homeless people for free or at low cost. Although the hospitals incur losses, they have the advantage of having their property taxes reduced or exempted.
However, the percentage of hospitals that have implemented this service is only 1% or less of all medical institutions in Japan. According to supporters, hospital finances are deteriorating due to the response to the coronavirus pandemic, and the number of those offering free or low-cost services that are willing to accept patients is decreasing.
In reality, many uninsured foreigners receive treatment at hospitals that are not covered by this service, and sometimes the hospitals are left with unpaid medical bills. There is a system to compensate for such unpaid expenses by local governments, but only some municipalities, such as the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, have adopted this system.
What makes the issue more serious is the increasing number of foreigners who are so impoverished by the coronavirus pandemic that they cannot pay their medical bills. Since last year, immigration authorities have placed many long-term foreign detainees on provisional release in order to prevent COVID-19 infection.
In addition, there are those who came to Japan as foreign students or technical intern trainees. But their visa status has expired and they cannot return to their home country because they have lost their income due to the pandemic. If these foreigners become seriously ill without insurance, their lives will be in danger.
Congressman Threatening Violence With Attack on Titan Sees Actual Consequences (Kotaku, Sisi Jiang)
The attack ad parodying the first AOT opening has since been deleted.
This marks the first time that a House member has been censured in over a decade.
On Tuesday night, Democrats on the House Rules Committee proposed removing Rep. Paul Gosar, a Republican from Arizona, from the House Committee on Oversight and Reform and the House Committee on Natural Resources. The vote to censure happened today. House members mostly voted along party lines, with only two Republicans voting in favor of the censure. The decision to censure Rep. Gosar will significantly lessen his influence in those policy areas.
According to Rep. Gosar, he deleted the original video from his Twitter account out of the goodness of his heart.
ADELTA’s BL VN UUUltraC Coming to the West (Blerdy Otome, Naja)
ADELTA’s 2019 sci-fi VN Hashihime of the Old Book Town has also been localized by Mangagamer.
A golden era of artists, actors, and heroes is shaken to its core when kaiju straight out of black & white cinema attack Japan! One couple falls victim to the attacks and must face the reality of the kaiju’s infectious nature turning others into more kaiju and join the fight for acceptance. One couple must deal with the strain and stress of fighting the kaiju and defending the people as the superhero team, Icarus Rangers. And one couple must struggle with their complex relationships with both sides of the kaiju versus hero battles.
With kaiju, heroes, robots, and more abound, you won’t want to miss this homage to classic tokusatsu and its deep exploration of identity and one’s place in the world!
West Japan teens making video for children to learn more about women’s periods (The Mainichi, Shiori Kitamura)
The animated video, conceived by six third-year junior high students, will be distributed to schools in February 2022.
Recent years have seen a movement to strip away the taboo and open the way for broad, open conversation in Japanese society about menstruation. But there is still a strong tendency to consider it a no-go topic. Meanwhile, being unable to afford women’s sanitary products, known as “period poverty,” has become a social problem.
“First of all, it’s important to understand this correctly and be considerate of others.” Six students at the private Tosa Joshi Junior and Senior High School in Kochi are reading a script for the video in their classroom. But this all began with a suggestion this past spring.
Seeing the students’ interest in social issues, such as talking about the environment in an English speech contest, 38-year-old Tosa Joshi teacher Machiko Shimomura called on them to apply to the Kochi children’s fund. This is a Kochi Municipal Government project that provides subsidies of up to 200,000 yen (about $1,740) for voluntary community development activities by children and students.
TWEET: Photos from the Tokyo Trans March 2021, which had approximately 400 marchers.
TWEET: Open letter from the Am Translators Association calling for better industry pay and working conditions.
It’s not the same as health care, but please take these very important pets.