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Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

ギリギリセーフ!

Art by Murakami Takashi. Via Spoon & Tamago.

Art by Murakami Takashi. Via Spoon & Tamago.

There is a lot to cover since I did my last gender reader at the start of June. In this gender reader: Shiomura Ayaka and the harassment case at the Tokyo Assembly, updates to koseki (family registry) laws, Rokudenashiko, and more.

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Leah:

My co-panelist Kathryn over at Contemporary Japanese Literature took the time out of her summer of research and writing to do a summary post of the essay version of our panel on cross-dressing, which I am reblogging here.

Some final notes: I have wanted to write about this topic for a long time, and Kathryn has been an incredible resource, motivator, sounding-board, supporter, and editor. It’s been a treat being her co-panelist and collaborator on this project. Since my own research lies in performing masculinities, I’ve enjoyed learning about performing femininities from her, and I hope we’ve been able to discuss effectively the pitfalls and triumphs of series that feature cross-dressing.

Kathryn’s own work in the field of gender and media studies is incredibly important, and her blog about Japanese literature in translation is a wonderful resource. Check it out here: http://japaneselit.net/

Originally posted on Contemporary Japanese Literature:

This past April, the ever-amazing Leah of The Lobster Dance and I gave a panel on cross-dressing in anime and manga at Sakura-Con in Seattle. Because we had an enormous turnout and not enough time to say everything we wanted to say, we decided to expand our talk and post it online.

Our essay is meant to be friendly and welcoming to newcomers to the fascinating field of Gender Studies, but readers should be advised that some portions of this essay contain mild spoilers for the series under discussion. For those of you who are looking for recommendations for anime, manga, and formal academic scholarship, feel free to jump ahead to our conclusion in Part Seven.

Dan Savage Drawn by Ellen Forney

Part One
The Superpositionality of Gender

Gender plays a strong role in the life of each and every human individual from the moment of birth, even despite our difficulties in defining what “gender”…

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Deco Japan: Shaping Art and Culture, 1920-1945
Seattle Asian Art Museum
http://www.seattleartmuseum.org/exhibitions/deco
May 10 – Oct. 19, 2014

Seattle Asian Art Museum | The Lobster Dance

 

I meant to review this show when I saw it in May, so we’re taking another quick break from the ongoing series so I can finish this review in a timely fashion.

Jazz. Gin. Short hair and short skirts. The modern girl. The rise of film, and the advent of skyscrapers and air travel. After World War I, the world was changing rapidly. With the machine age came an increased emphasis on speed.

 

The art world answered with Art Deco, which had a driving energy that found expression in its use of themes from cultures all over the world, wild appropriation of other art forms, and graphic designs with fast lines that could be adapted and used on everything from housewares to posters, and for everything from politics to advertising.

By World War II, Art Deco had left its mark on almost every medium of visual art.

Deco Japan: Shaping Art and Culture, 1920–1945, with nearly 200 works, reveals the widespread and particular impact of Art Deco on Japanese culture. Through a wide range of mediums—sculpture, painting, prints, ceramics, lacquerware, jewelry, textiles, furniture, and graphic ephemera—this exhibition introduces the spectacular craftsmanship and sophisticated designs of Japan’s contribution to the movement.

Shown in our gem-like 1933 Art Deco building, Deco Japan offers you the rare opportunity to experience the full range of Deco artistry in a period setting.

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Utagawa Kunimasa, “Young Woman and a Cat at a Kotatsu” Tokyo National Museum. Ukiyo-e, Nihon bijutsu zenshū, Tokugawa, (Comprehensive Collection of Japanese Art) vol. 20 (Kōdansha, 1991), p. 34. Via Japan Focus.

Utagawa Kunimasa, “Young Woman and a Cat at a Kotatsu”
Tokyo National Museum. Ukiyo-e, Nihon bijutsu zenshū, Tokugawa, (Comprehensive Collection of Japanese Art) vol. 20 (Kōdansha, 1991), p. 34. Via Japan Focus.

I ended up skipping the May reader since I was busy with the edits for the cross-dressing in anime and manga series. However, the gender issue rightfully on everyone’s mind in May was Elliot Rodger and #YesAllWomen. I don’t have much to contribute that conversation other than a link to a list of well written articles below, but I do have some more articles to share about gender in Japan.

In this gender reader: the history of beauty in Japan and China, gendered pronouns in Japanese and English, a survey of LGBT students in Japan, a collection of essential articles about Isla Vista, and more.

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Part Three: Humor(?)

In Part 3 of this series, Kathryn and I will be examining cross-dressing in comedies and comedic tropes about cross-dressing. Can cross-dressing be treated as more than the butt of a joke? Yes!

Part 2 here. All images safe for work. Mild spoilers for the works discussed; some larger spoilers for Ouran.

Via Gagging on Sexism.

Haruhi Fujioka has no time for your gender nonsense. Via Gagging on Sexism.

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Part Two: The Theatre

A novel by Rosalie Lamorlière. (Joyce Farmer discovers Ingrid Bergman's Joan of Arc in No Straight Lines, p. 25.

How can she be a girl if I love her so much?: A novel by Rosalie Lamorlière.
(Joyce Farmer discovers Ingrid Bergman’s Joan of Arc in No Straight Lines, p. 25.)

In this section, my co-author and I explore cross-dressing in the theatre, specifically all-male kabuki and all-female Takarazuka Revue, how these productions queer our views of the gender binary, and how the main character of The Rose of Versailles disrupts tropes about women cross-dressing as men. Part 1 here.

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Today I’m pleased to bring you an essay version of the panel I gave with Dr. Kathryn Hemmann of Contemporary Japanese Literature on cross-dressing in anime and manga at Sakura-Con in Seattle on April 19, 2014. Because we’re no longer limited to 70 minutes and a projector, we’re able to include more notes, resources, and a proper discussion of Ôoku, which we unfortunately had to cut short at the panel. Enjoy!

Oscar Françoise de Jarjeyes: cross-dressing BAMF. Ikeda Riyoko, The Rose of Versailles, vol. 3, p. 296.

Oscar Françoise de Jarjeyes: hero, soldier, noble, woman of the people. Ikeda Riyoko, The Rose of Versailles, vol. 3, p. 296.

Introduction

Gender bending is often cited as one of the defining themes of contemporary anime and manga, which are filled with examples of handsome women and beautiful men, not to mention cross-dressing characters who never fail to steal the spotlight. What is cross-dressing? How does it challenge and reinforce gender roles? What role has cross-dressing historically played in popular entertainment in Japan? Does a female character cross-dressing as a man mean something different than a male character cross-dressing as a woman? In this essay, we’re going to discuss ideas about gender, provide some terminology, and examine a few examples of how cross-dressing is used by characters in anime and manga as a means of exploring gender issues in contemporary Japanese society.

This essay is divided into seven parts in four themes. In the first part, we’re going to outline several terms and issues related to gender fluidity. In the second part, we’ll discuss Japanese theatrical traditions, specifically those of kabuki and Takarazuka, which continue to inform contemporary popular culture in Japan. In the third part, we’ll talk about cross-dressing as it appears in comedies, romantic or otherwise, to demonstrate how laughter can both undermine and bolster personal agency in choices relating to gender identity. In the final part, we’ll move on to cross-dressing in anime and manga that are more serious in tone and content in order to explore the more transgressive and more potentially transformative aspects of gender fluidity.

Content note: This essay contains minor spoilers for the anime and manga series we discuss. Although we’ll be focusing on stories and characters we love, our discussion will include issues relating to transphobia, misogyny, sexism, and bullying.

The Superpositionality of Gender

We’d like to start off our discussion with a serious topic: cats. And by “cats,” I obviously mean “quantum physics” by way of the famous thought experiment often referred to as Schrödinger’s cat. (more…)

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Speaking of geekery and gender, I’ve got a guest post over on Comparative Geeks about the feminist aspects of NBC’s Hannibal.

Image: the main cast of NBC Hannibal

Hannibal cast via The Huffington Post.

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Interrupting our regularly scheduled Japan programming for the roughly biannual geek-centric gender reader. In this reader: women DO read comics; arresting fanfic writers in China; open-source feminism, and more.

Image of an Emerald City Comicon poster: Costumes are not consent.

Emerald City Comicon via Comic Book Resources

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Yes, JET alum Tim Martin interviewed Jim Breen, creator of WWWJDIC, one of the most popular online Japanese dictionaries, which revolutionized Japanese-language learning technology. This was the first dictionary I used, and while I tend to use Space ALC for helping localize phrases (often to hilarious effect), WWWDIC’s multi-radical kanji and text glossing have been key tools for many of the English-speaking JSL learners of my generation.

Photo courtesy of Jim Breen. Via JETWit.

Photo courtesy of Jim Breen. Via JETWit.

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