The 90s manga’s tale of rebuilding and self-discovery after the end has only become more relatable since 2020.
Ikeda Ryoko wasn’t just an influential artist but a member of Japan’s “New Left,” and that passion for social causes shows through in her work.
Toni and special guests MoBlack and Danny discuss the history of state violence and abolition, then tackle some major titles that touch on prisons, justice, and police violence.
What with the very unexpected revivals lately.
Josei, yuri, and exciting updates on our Ko-Fi fundraiser.
Charma & Charmuro – A Dive into Gundam BL Doujinshi History (kishi’s blog)
An analysis of doujinshi created for the two pairings over the decades and how they coincide with eras and media availability.
The dominating force of Gundam BL doujinshi in the early 1980s due to the growing popularity of BL doujinshi in the mid-1970s
Dropped off in the late 1980s through the 1990s
Accessibility of the MSG movie and TV series on DVD in the early 2000s
Flashback chapters in the Origin manga and later OVAs/TV series revived it in the latter half of the 2000s and into the 2010s
All but nonexistent in the early years of Gundam fan works
A combination of BL becoming more mainstream and accessibility thanks to DVD sales created the perfect conditions for this pairing to appear almost out of nowhere in the early 2000s
Has held strong as an iconic pair ever since
Which isn’t to say either is better or worse, or more or less important. If you take anything from all this, I hope it’s an increased appreciation for both pairings and their place in Gundam fandom history.
The drama Winter Sonata sparked huge interest in Korean media in Japan.
She began devouring other South Korean TV dramas too, hoping to learn as much as she could about the country.
Studying the modern histories of Japan and South Korea anew, she would often seek out facilities that showed the history of Japan’s oppression of Korea during its colonial rule of the peninsula (1910-1945). Ono and others, who became friends through the shared experience of watching the drama, invited South Korean lecturers to events and learned the language.
“Winter Sonata has enriched my life. The fever still hasn’t worn off,” she said.
According to the Korea Tourism Organization and others, since the airing of Winter Sonata, the number of Japanese tourists visiting locations that appeared in the drama has risen. There also has been a steep increase in Japanese studying the Korean language. For the first time in 2021, over 40,000 took the Test of Proficiency in Korean.
“While Japanese people who began to learn the Korean language were mainly women who wanted to understand Korean dramas through actors’ lines, male adults and teenagers wishing to become K-pop idols are increasing these days,” said Kong Hyung Sik, director of the Korean Cultural Center in Japan.
Exploring Libraries’ Challenges In Stocking Longer Manga Series (Anime Herald, Priya Sridhar)
Librarians are challenged by budget, demand, and space limitations.
Ultimately, much of the battle to bring more manga into libraries boils down to information. Many local libraries are run by local governments and nonprofits, while school library budgets are dictated by the schools themselves. For local libraries, it’s worth researching to see if they hold local meetings to discuss funding allocations, and if they keep time to hear citizen requests. These provide a powerful avenue for citizens to lend their support to librarians while letter-writing and phone call campaigns can allow organized groups of people to have their voices heard. For parents and students, school board meetings provide ample opportunity to advocate for librarians, while also offering a look behind the curtain, to see how decisions are made. Furthermore, these meetings are a good place to see if it’s possible to make donations that comply with school policy or to help the librarians that are applying for grants.
The best thing you can do, though, is to listen to librarians firsthand. They have seen the many potential opportunities to introduce an unknown manga artist to readers or to answer the question of “what happens next” when the latest volume ends on a cliffhanger.
“My advice to librarians just beginning the work of stocking manga is to start with the first few volumes of a series,” Ashley says. “See what the demand is, then make decisions about how you want to expand. Quite honestly, the most popular series doesn’t spend much time on the shelf. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is barely ever-present, and I haven’t put a volume of Tokyo Ghoul back on the shelf since September- they only ever make it to the return cart.”
Japan gov’t to subsidize firms for coworkers covering for staff on child care leave (The Mainichi, Haruna Okuyama)
The program’s goal is to raise the percentage of eligible men who utilize parental leave.
The subsidy will be offered through the establishment of a new course in the existing grant program for supporting a better work-life balance. The new assistance applies to small- and medium-sized companies that meet certain requirements, such as having 300 or fewer employees. The ministry’s goal is for employees whose children are under 3 years old to work shorter hours for at least one month and for them to take at least seven days of child care leave.
If an eligible company provides an allowance to a worker who takes over the duties of an employee on parental leave, the government will subsidize up to three-fourths of the cost, with a maximum of 100,000 yen (approx. $680) per month. The grant period is one year, and together with 50,000 yen (about $340) for related expenses, a maximum of 1.25 million yen will be subsidized.
For employees working short hours, the maximum subsidy is 30,000 yen (roughly $200) per month until the employee’s child turns 3 years old, with a total amount of up to 1.1 million yen (some $7,500). If a new replacement worker or a temporary worker is hired, a maximum of 675,000 yen will be subsidized.
Sacrificial Princess and the King of Beasts Pt. 2 (with Mackenzie of Mac Loves Manga) (Shojo & Tell)
Second part of a two-part podcast discussion of the shoujo manga.
Sariphi has gone from ritual sacrifice to acting queen, but she’s still working to gain the respect of members of beastkind. In this episode about the back half of Tomofuji’s series, Mackenzie from Mac Loves Manga and Shojo and Tell host Ashley break down the highlights. We get to talk more about our favorite hyena boy, Lante, and his heartwarming worldviews; crotchety Anubis and the amazing journey he went on (where he got stabbed at least twice); the power of Sariphi, particularly in the arc with Fenrir; plus, we finally find out why the king is partially human, and meet some of the best side characters who should definitely have their own series.
Female workers earn 70% of what male colleagues receive at listed firms in Japan: survey (The Mainichi, Haruna Okuyama)
The listed companies claimed to have no wage gap between colleagues who started at the same time in the same job.
By type of business, the financial and insurance sectors had the largest gender gap in wages, with females receiving 63.6% of what their male counterparts were paid, followed by the construction industry at 65.3% and the fisheries, forestry and mining industries at 65.5%. These figures indicate that female workers in these sectors earn nearly 40% less compared to their male colleagues.
By company, electronic equipment manufacturer Fanuc Corp. topped the list of firms with the largest gender wage gap, with females getting paid just 39.7% of what their male counterparts received. The company stated in its securities report, “Most of our regular employees are engineers. Until recent years, there were very few openings for or applications from women.” Japan Airlines Co. placed second in the rankings, with female staff receiving 45.3% of what their male co-workers earned. “The wage difference between male and female regular staff varies by jobs, and it is affected by the number of years in service,” the company explained.
By average, female managers accounted for a mere 9.4% at the companies surveyed, far below the government-set goal of 30%. Seventy-six companies, mostly in the manufacturing sector, had no women in managerial posts.
Ex-Johnny’s members to seek criminal charges over sex abuse (The Asahi Shimbun, Amane Shimazaki)
The company plans to hold a press conference on September 7th.
Former members of talent agency Johnny & Associates Inc. said they plan to file a criminal complaint over the sexual abuse committed by the company’s founder, Johnny Kitagawa.
They also demanded the agency hold dialogue with the victims, set up funds and establish a committee for fact-finding and relief.
Johnny’s Sexual Assault Victims Association announced its plans at a news conference in Tokyo on Sept. 4.
All seven members of the association attended the news conference.
The association said it is compiling documents for a criminal complaint. It also plans to file a lawsuit abroad and apply for human rights relief.
A third-party investigative panel named “special team to prevent a recurrence,” which was set up by Johnny & Associates, released a report in late August on the sexual abuse allegations against Kitagawa.
The report confirmed that the powerful showbiz mogul, who died in 2019 at age 87, repeatedly sexually abused boys over decades and on a wide scale.
The panel called for the resignation of Julie Keiko Fujishima, who is Kitagawa’s niece and the current president of the talent agency.
Japan prison with serious inmate abuse record tests addressing inmates politely (The Mainichi, Akira Iida)
This is part of a package of reforms planned for 2025.
Between November 2021 and September 2022, 22 young prison guards at Nagoya Prison are alleged to have assaulted and otherwise mistreated three male inmates in their 40s to 60s a total of 419 times.
A third-party expert panel found the prison staff’s practice of referring to inmates by terms such as “convict” or “yatsura” — a rough, dismissive way of saying “guys” — reflected “a weak awareness of human rights.” The panel advised that forms of addressing inmates which lead to a fixed hierarchical relationship be abandoned, while calling for a review of addressing prisoners by their names without the polite suffix “-san.”
In response, the Ministry of Justice released measures to prevent abuse from recurring, including immediately banning derogatory names for inmates, and considering a review of addressing them without “-san.” The aim was to change the structural overemphasis on discipline and order, and the ministry is seeing if the measures will take root at the correctional facility toward eliminating the problem.
According to a source close to the matter, Nagoya Prison has a certain number of inmates with a history in organized crime, and some fear difficulties maintaining discipline. However, inmates at women’s prisons across the country are already addressed with the polite suffix, and the troubled prison began testing the same practice in August to deal proactively with the abuse issue.
Japan police to try body cameras in FY 2024, consider full-scale introduction (The Mainichi, Atsushi Matsumoto)
The experimental rollout will be in 2024.
According to the NPA, a total of 102 wearable cameras are to be purchased, including 65 for local areas, 19 for crowd control, and 18 for traffic divisions. In the case of the crowd control officers, the cameras will capture video of situations with many people coming and going, and the feeds will be monitored remotely in real time. For traffic, the video will be used to educate drivers on road violations. In principle, police officers will still watch for traffic offenses on-site, with the bodycam footage expected to play a supporting role.
There are several types of wearable cameras that attach to different parts of the body, such as the head and chest. Which type will be used has not yet been decided. Data storage periods and other operational practices will also be considered later.
The NPA’s total fiscal 2024 budget request is some 334 billion yen (roughly $2.29 billion), an increase of about 13.1 billion yen (approx. $89.9 million) from fiscal 2023. The budget also includes the costs of demonstration experiments using cutting-edge technology, including fingerprint identification using artificial intelligence for some 46 million yen (about $315,000), and fatal accident prevention using non-contact sensors to measure the respiration and other health parameters of suspects in detention facilities, at some 4 million yen (roughly $27,000).
VIDEO: Nakanishi Mitsuko forced the resignation of a prime minister by coming forward about his affair with her, despite expectations that geisha remain an unacknowledged taboo.
To those still waiting, we salute you.