Archive for the ‘Visual Culture’ Category

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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Regarding the education system and social “common knowledge” that leads to ignorance and erasure, check out this post on the causes and effects of the ANA commercial from the perspective of a writer who doesn’t fit neatly into the “gaijin-san” stereotypes. Reblogged with permission and my gratitude.

Lucky Hill

This is a very long post. To summarize for the TL;DR crowd, what I’m getting at is that the stereotype of “Gaijin-san” doesn’t exist in a vacuum, that there is a host of racial problems in Japan and that’s part of what makes Gaijin-san so aggravating.

Recently I found out about All Nippon Airways’ unfortunate decision to air an ad featuring a man in Japan’s ubiquitous “Gaijin-san” costume: a large nose and a blond wig. Honestly it left me stupefied because 1. the nose used was extremely large even by Gaijin-san costume standards, and 2. I had come to believe that the Gaijin-san costume was fading out of use. I remember seeing it in the variety shop InCube, being sold with Halloween costumes in 2009, but never again after that year in that store. I’d always check for it because the first time I saw it I was blown away…

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For my history-buff readers: the city of Matsue is looking for photographs of and documents about Matsue Castle’s main gate, torn down in 1875, to help reconstruct a historically accurate version of it. This is a great project, and best of luck to them.

San'in Monogatari


Hello, Followers and Visitors! I’d like to ask for your help in sharing this image/request. The City of Matsue is on the hunt for early Meiji era material that will be helpful in reconstructing a historically accurate main gate (Ootemon) at Matsue Castle, and is offering a short-term financial reward. Please dust off your history books and see if you have something hiding in there, or send it to your academic communities to get some students on a hunt through the university collections to see what they can uncover. We appreciate it!

Please help us share it around Facebook (especially)!

You can click the image above to see it larger, but here is some text for good measure:

WANTED: Photos of Matsue Castle’s main gate
REWARD: 5,000,000 YEN
Matsue Castle was completed in 1611 and is one of Japan’s remaining original castles, but the main gate (Ootemon 大手門) was…

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In this gender reader: more on Abenomics, Disney dimorphism, video games before gendered marketing, and more.

I have never met a person who could completely cover my hands in theirs. I'd be making that face, too. Image from Frozen via Family Inequality.

HULK SMASH YOUR DELICATE LADY HAND. Image from Frozen via Family Inequality.


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Pre-holiday rush and year-end sexism burnout got you down? Let’s bring in some warm fuzzy feelings with an adorable mascot. We’ve got to take a cute break before continuing on our fun-ruining rampage through pop culture, right? All sarcasm aside, let me introduce you to my favorite Ishikawa mascot, Wakutama-kun, the soft-boiled onsen egg (温泉卵) of Wakura Onsen (和倉温泉).


Image from Wakura Onsen's website.

Image from Wakura Onsen‘s website.



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“It’s not that these colors are actually masculine or feminine…. The CIL paint campaign is a great example of how our collective investment in understanding gender and gender differences as natural and timeless is often casually presented in ways that reinforce our belief in that fiction.”

Inequality by (Interior) Design

By Tristan Bridges and Peter Rydzewski*

Colors are one way that the gender of different spaces can be communicated.  Pink and blue are the most identifiable, and recent research shows that men do seem to prefer blue (though, so do women).  Men’s aversion from pink, however, is stronger than women’s (though it’s also true that pink can be framed as masculine for select groups of men).  While this can feel timeless, like most aspects of gender, it hasn’t always been around.  And even when we began assigning gender to colors, pink was not always associated with girls.

Screen Shot 2013-11-14 at 9.47.02 PMJo B. Paoletti’s incredible history of children’s fashion in America—Pink and Blue: Telling the Boys from the Girls in America—is a beautifully written and carefully researched examination this strange issue.  Prior to the 1900s, children in America were dressed in ways that illustrated their age rather than gender (and…

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The spiritual companion of the Geek Girl Con panel “Changing Culture in Mainstream and Alternative Spaces” was a discussion of the problem of bullying in the cosplay community and possible solutions.

Via George Takei and Fandoms and Feminism.

Via George Takei and Fandoms and Feminism (full text).
Image: meme-maker accuses Duela Dent cosplayer of “trying too hard” in a “steampunk gender-swapped Joker in a Willy Wonka hat.” Tumblr users give the OP what for.

“A Community Divided: Bullying within the Cosplay Community and How to Solve the Problem”
From 4chan to Tumblr, the Internet has created an anonymous forum where belittling and trash talk have become the norm, and standing up for someone isn’t noble. In this panel we will be discussing the types of bullying prevalent in the cosplay community, the concept of “white knighting,” our own personal experiences with bullying, and how bullying is affecting attracting potential cosplayers. With panelists Christopher Vance, Erin Gose, Katie Murphy, Lauren Crosson, and Son Young Yu; moderated by Stephen Wilson.


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