Posts Tagged ‘LGBT’

In this gender reader: how to discuss nonbinary genders in Japanese, gross anime tropes, a shôjo manga release and a 20th anniversary, and more!


Image: Chihiro from Spirited Away runs through the town as the spirits come out to go to the bathhouse


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In this Gender Reader: Japan and South Korea reach a “final” decision about the “comfort women” issue, Kensuke Miyazaki attempts to take parental leave, the real story behind the “can’t hide it forever” plastic surgery meme and the model whose career it destroyed, and more!


Copyright BBC. “Lee Yong-soo (centre) has taken part in protests outside the Japanese embassy in Seoul.” [Image: three protesters, including Lee Yong-soo, a former ‘comfort woman,’ protests at the Japanese embassy in Seoul]”


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If you need a palate-cleanser, I wrote a guest post about Welcome to Night Vale over on Have You Nerd?

Have You Nerd

All Hail the Glow Cloud:

How Welcome to Night Vale Won My Heart

By: Leah Zoller

I tend to describe the podcast Welcome to Night Vale as a surrealist fantasy version of Prairie Home Companion. Each 20-25-minute episode is narrated by Night Vale Community Radio host Cecil Gershwin Palmer (voiced by Cecil Baldwin), who gives community updates for the rural desert town of Night Vale, where John Peters–you know, the farmer?–grows imaginary corn; a floating cat hangs out in the radio station men’s bathroom; wheat and wheat byproducts may attack; and a five-headed dragon is running for office.

night vale

In addition to community updates, the weather report features music from an eclectic variety of artists, and the (fake) sponsorships have been targeted to serve the needs of the community:

Step into your nearest Subway restaurant today, and try their new 6-inch mashed potato sub! Top it with a delicious assortment of…

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I Want to Be a Man! My Boyfriend Used to Be a Woman (『男になりタイ!私の彼氏は元女』)
By Sachiko TAKEUCHI (竹内佐千子)
Published by Media Factory (メディアファクトリー)
Color; black and white
1100 yen

[Please note: this manga was published prior to a major shift in terms regarding trans experiences. “Born a woman” would now be “assigned female at birth,” etc.]

Hello, my name is Sachiko. I’m a woman.
Up until now, I’ve dated women. I’m a lesbian.
Recently, I’ve taken a new lover. His name is Kai, and he’s a man.
But Kai was born a girl. Kai’s body is female, but his heart is male. (p. 5)

The title of Takeuchi Sachiko’s third volume of autobiographical manga contains one of the best untranslatable puns I’ve seen in Japanese. 『男になりタイ!』 literally means “I want to be/become a man!”; however, Takeuchi has written the verb ending for “to want” (~たい, ~tai) as the katakanaタイ. In this case, the katakana refers to Thailand (Tai), the setting of most of the manga.

(This review contains spoilers for honey & honeyhoney & honey deluxe, Otoko ni Naritai, and Straying Love Game.)


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This post is an entry in the December 2011 J Festa “Christmas in Japan,” hosted at japingu.

Being in Japan for the holidays means that I can choose my own holiday music if I feel like listening to it. Even though the stores are all playing Christmas Muzak, Japan’s retailers seem to work from a more limited playlist than the US and even have some of the Santa-oriented songs in Japanese, which means I don’t feel encounter these songs often.

A lot of songs that get played around the holidays are meant to make listeners think about peace on earth and goodwill toward others, but how many make you think about your sexual health? For that, there is “Little Taiko Boy.”

Image from "Little Taiko Boy" by All Out Attack Films.

On the official youtube page for All Out Attack Films, the project is described as follows:

Little Taiko Boy’s soundtrack is a safer-sex parody of the American Christmas carol “The Little Drummer Boy” interspersed with the slow rumble of a traditional Japanese taiko drum that sounds like a massive throbbing heart beat. Against this backdrop, several men meet in [Ni-Chome, Shinjuku,] Tokyo’s bathhouses, love hotels and cruising spots for intimate encounters, watched over by a glamorous drag version of Amaterasu Omikami, the Shinto goddess of the Sun played by Japanese activist and artist MADAME BONJOUR JOHNJ. Like a queer Santa Claus, the goddess leaves each couple a condom in a bejeweled wrapper as a gift and blessing for the night.

Any video that contains the phrase “like a queer Santa Claus” deserves a watch, don’t you think? This video, embedded below, is not safe for work for partial nudity and language.


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Honey & Honey: A Girls’ Love Couple (『ハニーとハニー honey & honey: 女の子どうしのラブ・カップル』)
By Sachiko TAKEUCHI (竹内佐千子)
Published by Media Factory (メディアファクトリー)
950 yen

“Hello, my name is Sachiko Takeuchi. First of all, I have a lover, Masako. Masako is a woman….and, of course, I’m also a woman. So, basically, I’m a lesbian” (p. 4).*

Sachiko (left): Has liked girls since middle school. Favorite food: sweet potato yokan. Masako (right): Likes men and women. Favorite food: okonomiyaki.

I like to think that Sachiko Takeuchi’s Honey & Honey is for the lesbian/bi women/WlW population what Saori Oguri’s My Darling is a Foreigner (『ダーリンは外国人』)  is to those in international marriages. Both published by Media Factory, these manga take a humorous approach to life as romantic minorities, highlighting both the problems and the benefits to the author’s relationships and their interactions with Japanese society.


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