Weekly Round-Up, 2-8 February 2022: Sk8 the Infinity Interview, Japan’s Queer History, and Black Cosplayer Documentary

By: Anime Feminist February 8, 20220 Comments
Karyl sticking out her tongue and holding up the brush she used to draw doodles all over a sleeping Pecorinne's face

AniFem Round-Up

The Metamorphosis of the Magical Girl Genre

Nina Morales traces the demographic shifts of magical girl shows over the last decade, what they might mean, and what we can look forward to in the future.

2022 Winter Three-Episode Check-In

The team checks in on a season of rom-coms and gender feels.

Delicious Party Pretty Cure – Episode 1

It’s great to see a show for young girls celebrate loving food, and this is up to PreCure’s usual high standards barring one or two minor things to keep tabs on.

Chatty AF 156: Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl Retrospective

Vrai, Chiaki, and Anime Herald’s Editor-in-Chief Samantha Ferreira look back on the 2006 genderbending rom-com that spoke to a generation of trans anime fans.

What’s your favorite romance anime?

From angst to fluff, whatever clicks for you.

Beyond AniFem

Why Do People Assume Black Folks Aren’t Into Anime When We’ve Been Here the Whole Time? (The Mary Sue, Briana Lawrence)

A series of short interview with four Black voice actors working in anime dubbing today.

While there is a definite desire to see more opportunities for Black creatives, both in front of the camera and behind it, the answer that really struck me was, frankly, a desire to reach a point where we don’t need to have these conversations anymore.

We always push for more diversity, more inclusivity, and more of a chance to celebrate the wins in the Black community instead of having to defend folks from racism, but along with that comes a desire for these accomplishments to not be a rarity because more of us are given a shot.

And more people are okay with that instead of getting on Twitter(dot)com to respond with hate.

There’s something to be said about the number of times a Black person is the “first.” We will celebrate them, of course, and the achievement is noteworthy, but along with that is the realization that we’re still hitting “first” milestones after all this time.

One day, hopefully, us being included will be a regular thing instead of a shock to the system. For now, my Black fangirl heart is full knowing that there are more people like me in the anime industry who are striving to make us, not just feel more seen, but be more seen.

Japanese transgender man sues municipal gov’t for prioritizing mother’s wants before his (The Mainichi, Kazuhiro Toyama)

The doctors acted on the mother’s wishes without consulting the plaintiff, who was 30 years old at the time.

After giving birth, he entered a welfare facility in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward that supports single mothers and others. Hoping to resume taking male hormones, which he had stopped taking while he was pregnant, he brought hormonal agents into the facility. He had not been formally diagnosed as having gender identity disorder, and he had procured the hormones through the internet. A staff member of a Shinjuku Ward welfare office who came to visit him at the request of his mother confiscated the hormones, which were then disposed of, saying, “They haven’t been prescribed by a doctor.”

The ward office explained to him that his mother had asked that the hormones be disposed of. His mother had always been against the hormone injections, and had asked the ward to get rid of them.

In March 2020, the man brought a lawsuit against the Shinjuku Ward Office to the Tokyo District Court for 1.5 million yen (approx. $13,000) in damages, arguing that the disposal of his hormonal agents amounted to “a violation of property rights.” In October 2021, the district court advised the two parties to reach a settlement; one was reached with the ward office expressing regret over not sufficiently confirming the man’s wishes. But there was no judgment made on whether the ward’s actions were illegal.

The Queer History of Japan: A conversation with Sachi Schmidt-Hori (Queer History 101, Dr. Eric Cervini)

Summary of a discussion with Schmidt-Hori about her book on pre-1600 queer history in Japan.

In Japanese mythology, the most powerful deity is a woman: Amaterasu, the sun goddess. But Japanese deities are often gender fluid, including Amaterasu. And these depictions reflect a culture that embraced androgynous male aesthetics. This was the ideal Japanese masculinity: “Rather than competing against the machismo of the Chinese kingdom, elite Japanese men developed their own gender and national identity, which we can describe as ‘feminine’ or ‘androgynous’ masculinity. And it was completely normal for elite men to have both female and younger male partners.”

A significant shift in Japanese masculinity would occur, however, with a visitor from the West. In 1853, American Commodore Matthew Perry led a squadron of gun boats to Uraga. As Schmidt-Hori put it, “Matthew Perry pressured Japan to open up its borders and sign an unequal commercial treaty–or be invaded.” Under the pressure of this life-and-death situation, the Japanese had a choice to make.

“The people of Japan came to an awakening,” Schmidt-Hori explained. “Either we become a colony of America, or we could emulate them and be more like them. Those are the two choices.” Schmidt-Hori argues that they chose to adopt militaristic masculinity and Christian ethics on gender and sexuality, such as a ban on male homosexuality and co-ed bathhouses, for the survival of the Japanese Empire. The shift worked for the time being, but the ripple in Japanese culture was inevitable, made visible in depictions of Minamoto no Yoshitsune (1159-1189).

Having a Ph.D. no guarantee of salary equality between sexes (The Asahi Shimbun, Rintaro Sakurai)

The National Institute of Science and Technology Policy recently released the results of a study that found a disparity of roughly one million yen in annual income between male and female PhD graduates.

The survey also came with a comment section where people could jot down what they thought.

One respondent said women with doctoral degrees often found it “difficult” to get a job after giving birth.

“Reporting one’s pregnancy to an employer can result in the woman receiving a reduced wage,” said the individual. “Overtime money is another issue as it may not be paid in cases of power harassment.”

Another respondent stated that Ph.D. holders working as part-time lecturers could “starve to death” because their exemplary qualifications prove utterly fruitless at their workplaces.

“The government will really need to forge ahead with a national project to improve our working conditions,” the person said.

In one comment, an individual pointed out that many doctors, particularly those in social sciences and humanities, have to work part time as lecturers at more than one school.

“We must have spare time on our hands to prepare for lectures,” the critique said. “This not only affects my research hours but also my mind and body.”

SK8 the Infinity: An Interview with Hiroko Utsumi and Akemi Hayashi (Part 1) | Febri (Febri, Shotaro Miya)

First of a two-part interview with director Utsumi and animator Hayashi, who also worked together on Banana Fish, about their work on Sk8.

TWEET: Indie documentary about Black cosplayers.

TWEET: English edition of the crowdfunded ButchxButch yuri anthology is now available.

THREAD: Summary of the ongoing issue on the one-year anniversary of a prominent academic’s historical revisionism around comfort women.

TWEET: Sign-up for a 2/16 seminar of nine speakers discussing public-facing scholarship, activism, and online harassment in Asian Studies.

TWEET: Academic article speaking with women who survived the Aum Shinrikyo cult and still feel lingering connection to their life there.

AniFem Community

Soft feels for if that’s your type of thing.  

Problematic as it is, Toradora! just makes my heart melt. I also love the complex romance in Porco Rosso (if standalone films count).
Fave Romantic Drama: Recency bias may be at work here (2018-19 was just yesterday, okay?), but probably Bloom Into You? As someone who's aroace, but still enjoys romance now and again, I'm partial to stories that don't present romantic love as fundamental to all life, but an element of some people's lives, pursued and defined as per their individualities. I love how YagaKimi devotes so much time to asking and examining what love is, presenting it as a feeling rather than an essence, how it can be both liberating and confining, how it shifts along time and situations, and how rationality and emotion aren't opposites on a binary, but simply perspectives and lenses that further tie into love, which may move from the mind to the heart or vice versa, or be stuck somewhere in the middle around your throat (poor Sayaka). Also, the bit where Maki explains his perspective on love helped me realize I was aroace myself, which cleared up a lot of personal doubts I was having, so I owe this wonderful story for helping me realize that romance isn't necessary, and can therefore be appreciated from a distance.  Fave RomCom: Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun! Every episode (and manga chapter) manages to make me laugh. It's just a bunch of sweet oddballs with tremendous bi energy, which is the essence of great romantic comedy.  Fave Romance Subplot: Ange and Charlotte from Princess Principal, because they unite the two all-important sentiments of 'our society is rife with arbitrary and cruel divisions that we must overcome by thorough systemic reforms so that no one suffered as we did in our youth and the resources of this country are redistributed to those that need them most and 'in a world of lies, deceptions and danger, I'd bend heaven and earth to be with you'.

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