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Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

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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Leah:

A look the concepts of “semi-adapting” and racial place in society and in immigrant communities for a Nikkei Peruvian who migrated to Japan.

Originally posted on JAPANsociology:

by Robert Moorehead

In all social processes, you have to have the word ‘inclusion’. … without that word, I’m not going to change the world, and they’re not going to change me, because they’re going to have that culture of defense [from me]. Not resentment, but defense.

Lately I’ve been working on a paper for a conference, and I’ve been fixated on an interview with an immigrant father. Juan (a pseudonym) is a Peruvian of Japanese descent who migrated from Peru to Japan more than 20 years ago. Juan expresses his frustration over what he sees as the lack of inclusion of Peruvians and other migrants from developing countries in Japan, in contrast to the greater openness to foreigners from the United States or Europe.

I don’t have a voice (in Japan), and I never will have it, because they (the Japanese) will never know what I think. But, in this…

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Ooku, Vol. 8, p. 188. Yoshimune and Hisamichi

Vol. 8, p. 188. Yoshimune and Hisamichi

I know most of my readers are familiar with Yoshinaga Fumi’s Ôoku, but in case you’re new here or would like to recommend the manga to a friend, I wrote a guest post over on Have You Nerd? introducing the English-version of the manga.

In 1716, Tokugawa Yoshimune, the great-granddaughter of the first Tokugawa shogun, become shogun herself, despite being the third daughter of a branch family and having a low-ranking concubine as a father. During her reign as Shogun, Yoshimune enacted a number of reforms, though she maintained Japan’s closed-country status for fear of a foreign invasion if anyone learned that the country was actually run by women.

Not the version of Japanese history you learned in school? Then get thee to a purveyor of fine manga, for you have much to study.

Full article: “History Lessons from the Tokugawa Matriarchy: Ôoku: The Inner Chambers” on Have You Nerd?

If you’d like to read my more in-depth analyses of the Japanese version, check out my Ôoku masterpost here on the blog.

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