Weekly Round-Up, 23-29 August 2023: OTW Board Election Results, New Noir Caesar Projects, and Custody Laws

By: Anime Feminist August 29, 20230 Comments
Cure Sky in a pose similar to Edvard Munch's "The Scream"

AniFem Round-Up

Queerplatonic relationships and found family in Buddy Daddies

Many expected bait from the show’s premise, but what its coparenting story offered instead was unexpected resonance for an aro audience.

Phantom Thieves, Magical Idols, and Strong Heroines: The Legacy of Tanemura Arina

Tanemura is one of the great shoujo artists, excelling at tales of intense emotion but also questioning assumptions around concepts like the idealized ‘purity’ expected of girls.

What’s your comfort food anime?

Those important go-to picks when things get rough.

Beyond AniFem

Probe finds Johnny’s talent agency founder abused teens for decades (The Mainichi)

This included complicity from Kitagawa’s associates and the larger media. Article contains detailed discussion of child sexual abuse survivors’ statements.

Junya Hiramoto, a representative for a group of alleged former victims of Kitagawa, hailed the report, saying that “we can see plainly that our painful testimony was reflected in it.”

To Johnny & Associates, he called on the company to “acknowledge its sins, create a system for redress for victims and consider using groundbreaking methods and means for us victims and affected people yet unseen.”

The probe revealed that other than Kitagawa, sexual abuse also appears to have been committed by company employees, according to its interview findings, although it refrained from commenting further on those specific cases.

Outside the talent agency itself, silence from Japan’s media industry was pointed to as a contributing factor that allowed Kitagawa to continue abusing victims for decades.

“The media didn’t go to the places it should have gone to,” Hayashi said, stressing that while not directly responsible, the media’s unwillingness to confront Kitagawa’s behavior may have allowed it to continue.

Kitagawa was one of the Japanese entertainment industry’s most influential figures before his death in 2019. Sexual abuse allegations against him have received renewed attention in Japan after a BBC documentary aired in March featured interviews with multiple people making claims against the pop mogul.

Shiu Yoshijima Talks With Anime Herald (Anime Herald, Seth Burn)

Transcript of a roundtable/press conference interview with the artist on her work and influences.

 Honey’s Anime: In your bio, you said that your favorite type of woman is the “poisonous, dangerous woman.” Why are you drawn to that type, and also to non-human characters in general?

Shiu Yoshijima: In terms of the poisonous types that I’m attracted to, compared to cute things, cute things are attractive in and of themselves. It’s difficult to explain. It’s an expression of things that cannot be contained within that cuteness. Girls who look a little scarier, or girls with venomous tongues who say a lot of insults. Things that cannot be contained within the label of “cute.” I get attracted to those parts of a girl’s traits.

In terms of non-human characters and why I’m attracted to them, there’s a sense of melancholy when it comes to seeing girls who are non-human. Because, you know, obviously they have human traits, but they also have a more animalistic side, more primal. Animal girls have their primal instincts. So seeing that, and having that trait mixed in with the more human side of things, makes the character have a bit of a melancholic feeling, or somber feeling, surrounding them.

A lot of the characters I draw follow the cycle of life. For example, there’s a character that follows the metamorphic cycle of a chrysalis becoming a butterfly. I get drawn into putting myself into that cycle of life. The irony of the non-human and human together is what draws me in.

Former NBA Player Johnny O’Bryant talks manga venture, Noir Caesar (Comics Beat, Marion Pena)

Company co-founder O’Bryant discusses two of the publishing house’s most recent series.

PENA: Geo Yasuke is a standout character—he feels like he’s straight from The Boondocks! When these characters were developed, did you ever have any specific people in mind that helped to inspire their physical appearance or their vernacular?

O’BRYANT: Geo is heavily inspired by the guy in the local neighborhoods when growing up that was tough as nails and would look out for the younger kids to make sure no one picked on them. He’s also inspired by legendary Black Samurai, Yasuke, who is considered to be the first black samurai in Japan.

PENA: Besides black characters, you also feature Latino and Asian characters. What was the process for portraying that perspective accurately and in an authentic way?

O’BRYANT: Well the idea is that the world is very diverse and stories should be told from many perspectives and as accurately as possible. As I stated earlier we like to write in groups which allow for many different viewpoints and perspectives to be projected out from our stories.

PENA: For licensed adaptations announced at AX 2023, like Alabaster and Me and the Devil Blues, I can see why these are well suited to Noir Caesar. Both of these titles are unique but not yet widely known. What was your initial exposure to these works? How did you find them and know immediately “this will be a great Noir Caesar title.”

O’BRYANT: We found these titles through our search for diversity and characters that we can also relate to. These are titles we felt fit into the type of storytelling we want to produce. We are super excited to announce more soon. Please look out for Alabaster Kickstarter coming in September.

When Your Fav Anime Protagonist is Problematic (Anime News Network, Nicholas Dupree and Steve Jones)

Covering the experience of both trash (affectionate) and trash (derogatory) protagonists.

Nick: Though it’s funny that we’ve gone through a murderer’s row of crummy dudes before so much as mentioning a lousy lady. I’m sure there are no larger cultural or societal implications to be drawn from that.

Steve: Certainly, it’s not as if we have yet to completely pierce through the veil of society-wide misogyny that holds women and, thus, female characters to a different standard that doesn’t allow for authentic human faults to be tolerated, let alone explored with any semblance of depth, fun, or meaning. It’s not as if shows like Hanebado! or Girlish Number got a ton of flak for having heroines who were unapologetically mean and selfish.

Nick: Sure would be awkward if, say, one of the shows we’ve talked about that’s spent a ton of time trying to make us sympathize with a highly toxic man because he was bullied and sexually humiliated, then had a whole episode where he bullies and sexually humiliates a pair of haughty girls with the implication that they deserved it and “learned a lesson” from it. That would kind of suck ass!

Steve; I had not looked at the full synopsis of that episode until this moment, and now I wish I had stayed ignorant.

Nick: It’s a very “fun” bit of dissonance and a pretty good example of this particular double standard.

Steve: I suppose, too, I’d be more forgiving of Mushoku Tensei‘s wanton hedonism, blatant wish-fulfillment, and scumlord protagonist if we didn’t have that double standard and if that kind of male gratification and ego-stroking weren’t the norm. That’s my actual problem. People treat this show and Rudy like these precious bastions of transgressiveness when they couldn’t be more aligned with what society allows and frequently celebrates. I prefer protagonists whose imperfections dig at the sore spots that society would much rather try to silence or ignore. Absent that, they at least have to suck in a much funnier way.

Meetup for young LGBTQ people to be held in central Japan city (The Mainichi, Koichi Tanno)

The Shizuoka event was held on August 27th.

No reservations are required and admission is free. The event is also open to people from outside the city. The municipal division in charge of the gathering is calling on the public that “although we live in the heyday of social media, this is a place where only people who accept sexual minorities in a positive manner will gather and talk face-to-face, so please be brave and feel at ease about attending the event.”

Forthcoming Nijiiro Cafe events include the fourth session on Nov. 26 with the theme of “coming out stories,” which is also open to anyone with LGBTQ family and friends, and the fifth session on March 24, 2024, is open to all and with no topic parameters. In addition, a special “Nijiiro coming-of-age ceremony” will be held on Jan. 28, 2024, with reservations required.

This fiscal year, the city is also conducting its first training program for vice principals of municipal elementary, junior high and high schools, as well as heads of child care facilities, to deepen understanding of gender diversity. It has also created rainbow-colored badges to identify LGBTQ “allies” and distributed them to municipal government employees and teachers who agree with the idea.

2023 OTW Board Election Review (End OTW Racism)

Looking at the newly elected board members and their stated goals regarding addressing harassment and TOS issues.

As candidates, all five stressed the importance of updating the TOS (or the way the current TOS is enforced) to better protect fans from harassment on AO3, with Anh, Kathryn, and Qiao all listing it as a priority. 

All five also spoke of hiring and working with a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) consultant, with Anh, Kathryn, and Qiao all speaking of filling the position soon, and Kathryn expressly calling it a priority.

And, continuing the positive trend, all five offered multiple ways the OTW could improve transparency within the organization and with stakeholders outside the organization! We are particularly interested in Zixin’s suggestion to increase the section on Board work in the monthly newsletters (something Qiao also mentioned!) as well as improve the Board Meeting process to have it better moderated and more efficient, as this would be a great step towards that transparency and engagement with the user base, and her idea to set up clearer internal guidelines on crisis resolution and make them accessible to all volunteers would be a tangible way of increasing transparency within the org.

Kathryn is also concerned about documentation and believes the OTW needs to establish: clear org-wide standards for when to use Constructive Corrective Action Procedures (CCAP), an org-wide crisis communication plan, and org-wide standards for moderating comments on news posts, and that these standards can, and should, be created within the first year.

Japan government panel proposes introducing joint custody after divorce (The Mainichi)

Japan’s current system awards sole custody to one parent following divorce.

The proposal comes amid increased attention on bitter custodial battles between divorced parents, with many former spouses unable to see their children under Japan’s current policy of sole custody.

The draft proposal on post-divorce childcare presented by the family law subcommittee of the Justice Ministry’s Legislative Council recommended that parents decide together on whether they have sole or joint custody of their children, with family courts only intervening if there is a dispute.

Proponents of joint custody argue that the system is more relevant in light of diversifying family relationships by enabling both parents to be involved in their child’s upbringing following divorce.

But concerns persist that the system could also perpetuate domestic violence or abuse by forcing ongoing contact with a former spouse.

Japanese YouTuber Says Harassment Drove Her Out of Hokkaido (Unseen Japan, Jay Allen)

Includes detailed discussion of intimidation, sexual and online harassment after the onsen YouTuber turned down a viewer’s advances.

After talking with her family and management, Rin says she fled to Shiretoko. It was around that time that Rin said the harassment began in earnest, with people sharing private information about her on social media that only town officials could possibly know.

Rin says that UUUM didn’t want the incident to become public. A manager there offered to try intimidating the men in the village into silence. Unimpressed with this handling of such a serious incident, Rin quit her agency and found another. Around this time, she first went public with what had happened to her.

Village officials search Rin’s home

The harassment only got worse after she went public. Rin learned that, on March 27th, several local village officials entered her home without her permission as part of an “investigation.” When her new management raised this issue with village officials, a village manager said they probably just wanted to “talk” with her and “didn’t know her phone number.”

Rin says no one in the village ever gave her a clear reason for the illegal entry.

NPO tells foreign trainees what to do if pregnant in Japan (The Asahi Shimbun, Ari Hirayama)

While it is technically illegal to fire workers for becoming pregnant, many trainees have been threatened in the past. The classes target foreign workers about to come to Japan.

The classes are held monthly in collaboration with another NPO that teaches Japanese to trainees. They aim to expand such learning opportunities by collaborating with dispatching organizations in Indonesia and Myanmar.

The technical intern training program has long been criticized for exploiting foreigners in weak positions, including using them as cheap labor for undesirable or dangerous jobs.

The Japanese government is considering abolishing the program and replacing it with a new system.

“Even if the current program is abolished, foreign women coming to work in Japan will face the same problems with pregnancy and childbirth,” Tsubonoya said. “Measures by the central and local governments are urgently needed.”

Gay couple from Japan, Taiwan ties knot in Taipei, urges Tokyo to OK same-sex marriage (The Mainichi)

In Taiwan, it is now legal for Taiwanese citizens to marry foreign partners, even if the marriage would not be legal in the partner’s home country.

Takahama city assembly member Masahiro Shibaguchi, 53, of the Japanese Communist Party, and his spouse Ariel Ling-chun Liu, 38, who also lives in Japan, traveled to Taiwan to register their marriage in Taipei City’s Datong District on Aug. 11.

Japan remains the only Group of Seven nation that does not recognize same-sex marriage. A number of lawsuits have been filed in the country by same-sex couples seeking to make their relationships legal.

Liu said he does not qualify for a spouse visa in Japan and has to rely on his work visa to remain in the country, where he is a researcher and a teacher of the Chinese language, Taiwanese literature and gender studies at several universities.

“This is very unfair as heterosexual couples can get visas as long as they can get by financially, but same-sex couples cannot,” Liu told Kyodo News. He pointed out that the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and some other parties have been “very unfriendly” toward homosexuals.

AniFem Community

Sometimes you just need that nice emotional pat on the head.

Would recommend: Heaven's Design Team. Fun Animal Facts: The Anime. The world is never about to explode, and the team always figures it out in the end; charming, though lightly sketched, character lineup; goofily funny, and never at anyone's expense. Shimoda always brings baked goods. Best coworker.  Wouldn't recommend / with reservations: Princess Jellyfish. I love this show; I just can't always defend it. There's kind of a lot. The makeover stuff. Kurako/Kuranosuke's "oh, this is just for fun, it's not A Gender", which might be where they are in their journey, and might be the story/author shying away from full-throated representation. And then there's the whole plot point with Gentrification Lady blackmailing Shu, which seems to be treated seriously, but it's still gross.  Also, it tends to be very high-energy, which is the opposite of soothing for most people. But apparently my brain reaches for "wacky" under duress.
Honey and Clover. Every six years like clockwork.

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