Weekly Round-Up, 8-14 November 2023: Takarazuka Death, MPreg Manga, and Historical Fiction

By: Anime Feminist November 14, 20230 Comments
Mia proudly showing off a dough sculpture that looks like a very awkward horse or cow

AniFem Round-Up

Raising a Girl With Agency: Long Live The Queen versus Needy Streamer Overload

The raising simulator has a long history — Audrey Di Martino looks at a traditional example and a twist on the formula, and what they say about “building” a girl.

Anime Feminist’s Seasonal Backlog: Overlooked Comedic Gems

Tackling your backlog can be intimidating, so we’ve sorted through ours to bring out some older favorites you might have missed!

Chatty AF 195: Vinland Saga Retrospective – Part 2

Toni, Caitlin, and special guest Annie Phan return to discuss VINLAND SAGA’s critiques of slavery, the portrayal of violence, and also some hot boys.

Who’s your favorite disaster girl?

She’s a trainwreck, and you love her.

Beyond AniFem

Takarazuka theater actress’ suicide due to overwork, bullying: lawyer (The Mainichi)

The Revue’s chairman has resigned in the wake of the woman’s tragic death.

According to Kawahito, the actress was in her seventh year with the group based in Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture, and belonged to the Cosmos troupe at the time of her death.

After becoming one of the coordinators for junior members last April, she was tasked with acting direction and costume preparation on top of her regular duties.

In August and September, she was made to work without any days off for around one and a half months, getting only around three hours of sleep on many days, according to Kawahito.

Two years earlier, she suffered burns when a senior member pressed a hair iron against her forehead, an allegation the company denied when it was reported in a weekly magazine this February.

The mental distress began to take a toll on the actress’ health, and she was often blamed by senior members during rehearsals for all the mistakes of junior members.

The company “turned a blind eye while subjecting (the actress) to abnormal, excessively long working hours, leaving her extremely fatigued,” her family said in a statement, demanding that the company, along with the perpetrators, acknowledge their responsibility and apologize.

Couple married abroad fights for same-sex marriage rights in Japan (The Asahi Shimbun, Satoko Onuki)

In Japan, the pair will have no legally recognized rights as spouses.

The law stipulates that Japanese citizens who married abroad must submit their marriage certificate to the mayor of their registered domicile’s municipality.

However, the city government refused to accept the documents, citing a 2014 Justice Ministry opinion that stated “the Civil Law naturally assumes marriage to be between a man and a woman, and therefore acceptance is inappropriate.”

In response, the couple filed a petition with Kobe Family Court’s Amagasaki branch, arguing that their treatment has been unreasonable and discriminatory and demanding that the city government promptly accept their marriage certificate.

In various lawsuits across the country, plaintiffs have argued that the Civil Law and Family Registration Law, which do not recognize same-sex marriage, violate the Constitution.

The courts have been widely divided in their judgments of these cases, with some labeling these laws as “unconstitutional” or “in a state of unconstitutionality,” while other courts have deemed them “constitutional” after all.

However, Rei and Coralie’s case features the argument that their marriage should be recognized under the current Family Registration Law system.

The couple is also considering having children in the future. But if they return to Japan and if Rei gives birth to their child, the parent-child relationship between Coralie and the child would not be recognized.

“Having our marriage recognized is not our only goal,” Rei said. “We want to create an environment so that when our children return to Japan, they can live with peace of mind knowing that this is their country.”

He’s Expecting Manga Volume 1 Review (Anime News Network, Rebecca Silverman)

The manga is a straightforward take on the concept of “what if cis men could also become pregnant.”

Although this isn’t written from a blatantly political place (and that pregnancy care isn’t a political issue everywhere in the world), there are a lot of fascinating points. For starters, the obstetrician Kentaro consults doesn’t even bat an eye when he suggests that abortion is an option; his only caution is that male abortions (and births) require longer to recover from than female because of the lack of a birth canal— in the story’s world, men apparently have uteruses but not vaginas or other delivery methods, and so all male pregnancies end in abdominal surgery, whether carried to term or not. That means that a quick and quiet termination of Kentaro’s pregnancy isn’t possible: he’ll have to take at least seven to ten days off of work. Although he’s allowed that, especially for a medical procedure, he’s uncomfortable telling people why he’d be taking time off.

Sakai makes it clear that gender has nothing to do with the way people feel about their pregnancies and abortions, and that’s a major strength of this book. Both are presented as human issues, and the volume is divided into chapters by character perspectives. Kentaro opens the book, but chapters are also given to a pregnant woman trying to decide if her boyfriend will leave his other woman and what impact that will have on her, a teenage boy who had an abortion, and the mother of Kentaro’s child, as well as a married couple where she birthed their first child, and he’s pregnant with their second. While on the surface, there are gendered comments as the world readjusts its expectations, in practice, all that’s happening is that traditional gender roles are being reversed. This is most obvious in Tsubasa’s story—the stigma for him is more that he was pregnant and had an abortion in high school, and parents on both sides reacted badly. The struggle for him is complicated by the casual cruelties of his male classmates, but the real issue is one that he and his girlfriend need to work through together. That goes for Noriko, the married woman with the pregnant husband, as well: she’s struggling both with the way that this has changed her relationship (and how much more of a baby he is now that he’s pregnant; he thinks the rules should change for him compared to how he treated her) and the fact that this was something that made her special: the ability to give birth. To Noriko, this is a masculine intrusion on a feminine domain, and that’s not easy to deal with.

So, I’m a Fujoshi: A Look Back at My Growth Within the Boys Love Fandom (Blerdy Otome, Naja)

Looking back from 2015 to now.

But, I have to give credit where credit is due. Because of this comment, I actually had to go back and revisit one of the first posts I wrote from all the way back in 2015. I don’t do that often, because honestly my posts from back then are cringy as fuck. But, since this asshole was able to find it in the vast expanses of the internet, I figured, I had better re-read it to see if I still stand by my words… and surprise, surprise, I discovered I have grown considerably in my fandom since 2015.

It was like reading something written by a stranger, aside from a few remarks, I don’t recognize the me that wrote that article. It’s like we’re two different people and yet, I know that is where I was within the fandom at that time. It’s a snapshot of a less worldly version of me.

I was 24, almost 25, when I wrote I Kinda Sorta Like Yaoi…”, to put that into context SuBLime had only been around for 4 years at that point. The types of BL we had access to were somewhere between Junjo Romantica and the Finder series and Boku no Pico or whatever else you could find on the internet. Hell, I got my start with Gravitation back in 2007, and in my quest for more, I found myself in some really dark corners of the internet. Not to mention the types of stories that were being published back then, they’re not even close to the variety of boys love stories we’re getting now. Problematic couples, stereotypes, and questionable LGBT+ representation was the norm. It was slim pickin’s and you made due with what you had and it was through that very narrow lens that some of my early opinions on Boys Love media were formed.

So it’s no wonder I don’t recognize the me that wrote that article, because not only have I grown, but, so much about the genre and the fandom has changed as well. In the past most of the BL media I consumed came from Japan, but now we have stuff coming from Korea, China, Thailand, and even here in the West. This has opened up the genre to so many new perspectives and stories that weren’t as readily available in the past.

Tokyo widower files for pension payments, claims gender-specific law unconstitutional (The Mainichi, Haruna Okuyama)

The man’s wife passed in 2019 due to overwork.

Under Japan’s Industrial Accident Compensation Insurance Act, however, there is an age restriction to receive survivor’s pension payments for widowers, and they have to be at least 55 years old, or living with disabilities, to be eligible. The man was 49 at the time of his wife’s death, meaning he was not eligible for the payments. Under the same circumstances, a widow would receive survivor’s pension payments. The couple’s youngest son, who was under the age of 18 at the time, was the only member out of the surviving family — the father and three children — eligible for the pension payments.

The man, who filed the petition dated Nov. 6, told the news conference, “Families like us, with double income and shared responsibilities of household chores and raising children, are growing in numbers. I don’t think it’s right that there are different requirements for husbands and wives in receiving benefits.” He is considering filing for a review or lawsuit if his petition is declined.

5 Manga Titles to Check Out if You’re a History Lover (Black Nerd Problems, Carrie McClain)

The list particularly spotlights titles available digitally and currently in print.

Toki is set in 1959 and follows the story of a midwife named Toki Ihashi, living in Yashio village, Saitama just outside of Japan‘s capital. She has been providing childbirth assistance to the village for many, many years. However, in 1948, after the war, the GHQ promoted American-style hospital births. This was a move that put midwives, whose livelihood was home birth, in danger of going out of business and relevance. There’s only one chapter of Toki, yet at fifty or so pages, it is a one shot that goes the distance when I found myself online looking for comics that focused on pregnancy and midwifery. The manga starts with a page detailing this certain time in history in Japan: where the Tokyo Tower was being constructed and how the Emperor first attended a baseball game. 

The old world, the old Japan was starting to be washed away in more ways than one and the midwives who tended to all the many villages and small towns were starting to feel the change. So many little nuances were at risk of disappearing like certain festivals. There are a set of panels in the middle of this work that share Toki’s inner monologue: “Children are born through a natural process. A natural process that should not be controlled or bent according to for the sake of human convenience.”

As much as there is an incredible line of dialogue on the medicalization of birth that gives much food for thought, I was stunned by the emphasis on the love of this female labor that literally helped create the bridge for new life to prosper. Women’s work is never to be underestimated, and the midwifery at this time was seen to be an honored line of work that I’d love to read more about translated in English if possible. Toki also demonstrates a sincere care to serving how wartime trauma, mourning, and survivor’s guilt play a part in the work that people do, especially in this era of Japan that should not be missed.

Annual campaign to end violence against women begins in Japan as buildings lit up in purple (The Mainichi, Digital News Group)

The now-global movement begin in the United States in 1994.

The annual “purple ribbon” awareness program aims to end domestic violence and sex crimes against women and runs until Nov. 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, as designated by the United Nations. The national and local governments are working to raise awareness, and more than 400 facilities are expected to be illuminated during the two-week period.

On Nov. 12, at 5 p.m., the white exterior walls of the main building of the State Guest House, Akasaka Palace in Tokyo’s Minato Ward, were blanketed in purple light.

In 2022, police in Japan received 84,496 domestic violence consultations, up 1.8% from the previous year and marking a new high for the 19th consecutive year. To address these incidents, the revised domestic violence prevention law will go into effect in April 2024, which expands the scope of “protection orders” to include not only physical violence but also psychological violence, in which the victim is pressured by words and attitudes. When a “protection order” is issued, the perpetrator is prohibited from approaching the victim.

ANN 2023 Reader Survey (Anime News Network)

The survey covers reading and shopping habits and areas of interest.

Every year we run a reader survey, here is our 2023 survey. To win one of the 100 free subscriptions we’re giving away, you *must* be logged in when you fill out this survey. You must be 13+ to answer this survey.

VIDEO: Nintendo’s New Tournament Rules Limit Disabled Player Inclusion.

TWEET: A Japanese article discusses statements from a police officer that he was trained to target foreigners.

AniFem Community

This is an archetype especially dear to our hearts.

Homura Akemi: - she's mainly a threat to cosmic beanie babies and her own mental health, but her willingness to do anything to make Madoka happy causes her to cross some lines, to say the least - she reads as borderline personality disorder (BPD) and depressed, and I like to see some mental health rep in anime - she is relatable in how hard she falls in love and fixates on a person - see also Yuri is My Job's Kanoko Mamiya - I'm always here for disaster lesbians  Nanami Kiryuu - yes the girl in the header! I love her so much - I feel like the budding Villainess genre springs from the same well as my love for Nanami - the ojou-sama rich mean girl bully is a common anime trope (and it has its Western equivalents, whether it's Nanette Manoir or Ethel Hallow) and usually these characters are thinly characterized villains here to ruin our heroine's day - there is often an undercurrent of misogyny to the portrayal of these villainess characters so it's very refreshing to have Nanami be a fleshed out, sympathetic character in her own right - I have a weakness for the ojou-sama archetype, I admittedly usually want them and the heroine to kiss, though not particularly in Nanami's case  Hime Shiraki - Hime's a Machiavellian goober but she's doing her best in her messed up little way - she doesn't seem to want to hurt anyone though - just as Mitsuki Yano reads as autistic, Hime also clearly reads as neurodivergent to me, possibly also autistic but masking heavily order to function - I'm always here for disaster lesbians
Bi-disaster Miyamoto Musashi; She's an incredibly talented swordfighter and true heroine, but if cute girls, cute boys, or udon cross her path, everything is about to go off the rails a bit.  I really adore this trope when it's clear the character is capable, but winds up causing a mess regardless.❤️
Her. Video link of Honshou Aru's song

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