Weekly Round-Up, 20-26 December 2023: Yume Nikki Fangame, The Summer Hikaru Died, and Ancient Magus Bride AI Translation

By: Anime Feminist December 26, 20230 Comments
Princess Mia glowering from around a corner

AniFem Round-Up

Youth in Revolt: How the late-80s/early-90s celebrated the young rebelling against their elders

With the Yu Yu Hakusho live action movie out, it’s worth looking back at the social frustrations that contributed to the boom of 80s punk protagonists.

A Swing and a Miss: The mixed-up feminism of Princess Nine

This series comes close to being a cool baseball show that also tackles sexism in the sport, only to completely drop the ball in the last quarter.

Who’s your favorite shoujo manga artist?

Whether they work exclusively in shoujo or across multiple demographics.

Beyond AniFem

Indie Side — An Interview With The Developer of Madotsuki’s Closet (Medium, Mira Lazine)

Both the original and fangame are free or pay-what-you-can.

But there’s another reason Yume Nikki has gained such a prominence in the gaming sphere — the endless theories about what the game’s actually about. Among the most notable is a theory that Madotsuki is trans, and the game itself represents some of her internal struggles with gender and coming into her own.

Yume Nikki is not, however, what I’m covering today. Instead, I’m focusing on a joint fan game, autobiographical essay, and art piece known as Madotsuki’s Closet. It’s a short but in depth experience that takes you through one particular interpretation of the ‘Madotsuki is trans’ theory.

The game takes you through a four part discussion as to the developer’s own thoughts as to what constitutes evidence for the theory, and how this goes on to relate to her own experiences with her gender identity. I won’t spoil much more about it — it’s very much so something you have to play for yourself!

Man who came to Japan as refugee aims to create ‘Little Vietnam’ in Gunma Pref. (The Mainichi, Tetsuya Shoji)

Yamamoto noted that interpreting for his parents as a young child made him feel prepared to act as a mediator and navigate bureaucracy as an adult.

“I think Japanese people who have just started working will be taken care of by their parents. But that isn’t possible for Vietnamese, because their parents are in Vietnam.” He continued, “By having a good foundation for their lives, they will be more active in their work, and their employers will be happy to have them, bringing about a positive effect. In addition, if they can get driver’s licenses and become more mobile, their world expands.”

Yamamoto handed out free lunch boxes as well as 5 kilograms of rice per person to Vietnamese and other foreign residents in need during the coronavirus pandemic. “I had been pained to hear the news that cornered Vietnamese people were committing crimes in different parts of the country. When a police officer saw a Vietnamese person carrying rice that I had distributed, that officer became suspicious and stopped the person. But when the officer heard that the rice had been given by me, they immediately understood.” Yamamoto’s steady work has earned him the trust of government agencies.

The impetus for the humanitarian work was a desire to contribute to the local community. “The bento boxes were distributed not only to foreigners, but also to needy Japanese. Since I’m a member of the community, I just thought I would do my part in multicultural activities promoted in the community,” he said.

Skirt-wearing boy featured in Shiga’s Human Rights Week ad (The Asahi Shimbun, Masaaki Takebe)

The ad also encompassed examples of same-gender relationships.

Illustrator Azusa Shimura, 39, was adamant about giving the illustration a soft touch and making it comfortable to look at.

“I wanted to give hope for a society in which anyone, regardless of gender, can say they like what they like and be accepted as they are,” she said.

Her husband, Yutaka, 39, who is in charge of design, said their preschooler son loves cute-looking things and wears dresses.

“I think that’s fine,” he said. “My generation has started to accept (gender equality), but some members of older generations say, ‘Don’t cry. You are a boy.'”

Arisa Fukai, 31, who was responsible for the overall tone of the ad, added: “I hope it will be an encouragement to children that reminds them that it’s OK to be who they are, and an alert to those who find it weird that helps them realize that they might be prejudiced.”

Female representation in Japanese film production fell in 2022 (The Mainichi)

These declining numbers included roles for directors, editors, and screenwriters.

Filmmaker and artist Tatsuhito Utagawa, founder and representative director of the organization, said, “There hasn’t been much progress in improvement in the gender gap.”

He said a mere change in mindset is likely insufficient to resolve the gap and called for a change in labor conditions surrounding women.

The group, established in 2021, has noted there are “various forms of harassment, poor compensation and long working hours” in the Japanese film industry.

A separate report released in March 2023 said 22 people claimed in its survey that they had experienced sexual assault or harassment by a film director or producer, with the majority of the claims made by women.

The Ancient Magus’ Bride Manga’s Return Gets Simultaneous English Release Using AI Translation (Updated) (Anime News Network, Alex Mateo)

Yamazaki cited concerns about piracy as part of the reason for the decision.

The official Twitter account for The Ancient Magus Bride made a new English post on Friday regarding the simultaneous English translation of the manga. The post stated Mantra’s AI-assisted translation system “combines their unique machine translation technology with the editing and proofreading by professional translators.” The post also stated the manga has “continuously suffered” damages from online piracy and illegal English translations, adding: “Initiatives like the one we are undertaking now have been proven effective in reducing piracy damage, as demonstrated by precedent cases with Shueisha‘s works.” Regarding compiled book volume releases by foreign publishers, the Twitter post stated: “If there are any offers from various companies, they will continue to be considered, and if conditions are met, publications will proceed as before. This situation remains unchanged.” ANN has reached out to Seven Seas for comment.

Over 40% of women, nearly 10% of men in Tokyo have been groping victims: survey (The Mainichi, Shunsuke Ichimiya)

The article also includes a link to the full survey.

Of the 8,284 people who gave valid responses, 2,475, or 29.9%, aged between 16 and 69 had been groped. By gender, 2,156 of 4,750 women, or 45.4%, had been victimized, as had 298 (8.6%) of 3,474 men. The top location for respondents’ most recent incident was on a train at 81.2%, followed by 7.9% on a street, 4.9% in a train station, and 2.7% in a commercial facility or shop.

Furthermore, some 53.2% of 2,009 victims aged 16 to 39 answered in follow-up questions that they had first been groped on a train when they were in high school or younger. Broken down by education level, 733 respondents, or 36.5%, were or are in high school, followed by 236 people, or 11.7%, in junior high school, and 100, or 5.0%, in elementary school.

Meanwhile, 49.1% of people aged 16 to 69 who had witnessed public molestation on the train said they had not taken any action, as did 53.5% who had seen a groping incident in a station.

Japan to legislate support for ‘young carers,’ with those 18-plus also covered (The Mainichi, Hiroyuki Tanaka and Nao Yamada)

The bill providing a legal definition for “young carer” will be introduced for legislation in 2024.

However, there is currently no legal basis for supporting these carers, and many local governments have not implemented assistance measures. As of the end of February 2023, only 203 municipalities, or about 12% of the 1,718 municipalities nationwide, had completed the central government-recommended survey of local young carers. Through legislation, the state intends to encourage local government efforts and cooperation among agencies involved in providing support.

In addition, since there was no legal definition, young carers were mainly regarded as children under the age of 18. Carers Japan, a general incorporated association, defines them as “under 18,” as does Saitama Prefecture’s carer support ordinance — the first of its kind in Japan — in line with the Child Welfare Act.

Meanwhile, experts and some former young carers have pointed out that family care continues to impact the higher education and employment of carers over 18. For this reason, the central government decided to define young carers under the child and youth development law, which generally covers people up to their 30s, rather than under the Child Welfare Act, which limits the age of support to those under 18.

‘Hair color freedom’ on the march in Japan’s conservative company world (The Mainichi, Maki Nakajima)

The spotlighted business is a daycare in Bunkyo Ward.

While staff may now be free to choose whichever hair color they like, what hasn’t changed is placing children’s safety first. Piercings and glue-on nails remain banned. Shoulder-length hair must be tied up with a hairband, with hair clips also on the ban list. Hair color itself, however, has no impact on safety.

“I hope freeing up hair color choices will make things more fun. Once we gave them more freedom, the workers’ faces also became brighter,” Kondo said. She added that changes in their teaching policies also led to the hair-color liberalization. “It’s been almost 30 years since I became a day care worker. Things have gradually changed from making the kids repeat the same activities to individual-focused education through an ongoing trial-and-error process. It’s time to allow diversity among staffers along with that change.”

Sakurasaku Mirai President Yoshitaka Nishio, 50, said, “Gone is the era when we’d make children say and do the same things. I believe we’d like to promote building individuality,” adding, “If the care workers show that they value individuality, it has a positive impact on the kids.”

Hair color freedom is slowly spreading throughout the Japanese business world. Pan Pacific International Holdings Corp., the parent company of nationwide discount chain Don Quijote, first allowed any hair color for in-store staffers in March 2022, and followed up by allowing the same freedom for management in February 2023.

VIDEO: The use of body horror in The Summer Hikaru Died

TWEET: Excerpt from the booklet included with the final Witch from Mercury blu-ray where the director confirms Miorine and Suletta’s status as a couple.

AniFem Community

Great talents to look into here.

Yumi Tamura, she just draws everything from war horses to vast dangerous jungles. Her character designs do take some getting used to though (bit angular, for sure). And her story telling is top notch as well  Mizuho Kusanagi is really great as well.  Believe it or not, I'm not a big fan of Ai Yazawa's character designs (I like her stories, don't get me wrong), partly cus I look at the fashion choices and go "nope, not for me", although I do appreciate the work she puts into them anyway.  For stuff I don't hear anyone else talking about, Children of the Whales
My favorite complete manga that I’ve finished (Alice 19th, The Demon Prince of Momochi House) are by Yuu Watase and Aya Shouto, respectively. I have other works of theirs on my “to read” list for that reason. For ongoing manga, I’m loving Yona of the Dawn by Mizuho Kusanagi and Natsume’s Book of Friends by Yuki Midorikawa. I also have NG Life by Kusanagi on my to read. I’m in the middle of Natsuki Takaya’s Fruits Basket and want to read many of her other works.
Maybe I’m basic but I still love CLAMP and Naoko Takeuchi

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