FROM SEXUALIZATION TO STANDARDIZATION
Manga has always been a field where everything is possible. Although Japanese society can be so restrictive with some subjects (such as LGBTI), the graphic arts have always been a world of possibilities and for all tastes. One such issue is homosexuality, especially yaoi or BL (relations between men) and yuri (relations between women). Although in Japanese society there is still a long way to go. A good example of them is The Poem of Wind and Trees ( Kaze to Ki No Uta ) by Keiko Takemiya.
However, this type of themes from its origins and also today, have a strong sexualizing component. They show idealized relationships where they tend to objectify their main characters. Therefore, it is a popular genre, mainly for its attractiveness or sensuality. So some of the first works represented this line of yaoi where violence and sexuality were very present. As it is the case of works like Zetsuai 1989 and Bronze, both by Minami Ozaki.
In these works the characters were beautiful and always involved in situations of entanglement and very passionate loves. Although not all of them belonged to this aspect, they were intermingled with other themes such as Fake by Sanami Matoh or authentic dramatic stories such as Kizuna by Kazuma Kodaka. Possibly this aspect of the yaoi was the most interesting to go beyond the mere sexual relationship (and the topics of the genre) and represented more objectively the reality of the LGBTI + collective. And so they were arriving little by little until 2012, popularly known as the year of the bursting of the manga bubble in Europe.
With the arrival of the 2012 crisis, one of the main genres affected was the yaoi, as it is a type of works aimed at a minority audience. However, manga readers were changing and wanted new works that went beyond mere entertainment. Works with which to empathize, and be represented.
After the bursting of the bubble, the manga market was in somewhat unstable ground. This did not prevent the appearance of new publishers who bet on a style of different works. Works with a realistic style, framed within the slice of life, but with which they sought to capture the attention of readers through naturalness. Within this vein, in 2014 Editions Tomodomo was fixed in the yaoi sort from a first moment with works like Seven Days of Rihito Takarai and Venio Tachibana or In the same class by Asumiko Nakamura. Later, we see the appearance of a more traditional side of the genre with titles like Junjou Romantica by Shungiku Nakamura and Young Boyfriend’s Love Management Habit by Hashigo Sakurabi. All of them were very well received by the public.
However, it is worth noting that, although it is true that the most topical yaoi (sexualized, entangled …) was the most successful, the public also saw with good eyes the more realistic yaoi.
Thus we can find At the Corner of the Night Skies by Nojiko Hayakawa and I Hear the Sunspot by Yuki Fumino, faithful to that realistic aspect of the genre. But above all it should be noted that they are works that explore the complexity of the homosexual relationship beyond the sexual act, especially in the case of Fumino. It is this type of works that, in the end, represent and visibilize the collective objectively and with which the reader most connects. Other publishers that would join this wave with Shoko Hidaka’s Blue Morning, within its Kigen line dedicated to LGTBI + titles, and Sakura Gari from Yuu Watase. After this awakening of the genre, yaoi works of diverse themes arrived and always moving between both tendencies. To mention some of the most successful we find Koi ni mo Naranai, Twittering Birds Never Fly , Requiem of the Rose King, among others.
Although there are some works that dare to go further and perhaps are the most interesting in terms of representation of the LGBTI+ group. Mangas that dare to visualize the complex reality such as Shadows on Shimanami or the most recent Smells like Green Spirit. Both reflect the problems faced by people of different genders and sexual orientations. However, they always leave a door open to hope and that best represent the ideal that is claimed today: Stories that encourage the reader to accept oneself, regardless of gender, orientation and sexual identity.
2019: THE YEAR OF THE REVOLUTION
Currently, the yaoi is well established in our market with practically a new volume every month. However, it seems that 2019 will be a special year for the LGBT + collective in terms of manga representation. New licenses for this market: Girlfriends or Fandogamia, autobiographical manga of a trans author.
Another one of the most talked about licenses is My Brother’s Husband by Gengoroh Tagame. A work that addresses the homosexual reality from an unusual perspective, within the family environment and intermingling two different cultures: the American and the Japanese.
In short, LGBTI + is increasingly having a greater representation in manga. Something that is not a whim or trend, but a reflection of the society we live. Because manga not only entertains and excites us, but it can also reflect part of ourselves in its vignettes. In it lives the greatness of manga and, above all, of our manga market in constant evolution. Therefore, today more than ever one must be proud of our manga market.
If you still want to have more LGBTI and Manga titles to decide, here is a compilation.
The present of Japanese culture includes issues related to manga and anime for some decades now.
Manga and anime lovers enjoy a whole series of elements that complement the tastes for these arts, from places where stories are set, places of pilgrimage or simply the best and most varied places to buy manga and souvenirs.
1. Ghibli Museum
Studio Ghibli is the best anime production film studio in Japan, which released numbers of award winning films, such as “My Neighbour Totoro”, “Princess Mononoke” and “Spirited Away”.
Its one and only museum is located in Mitaka, Tokyo, which can be accessed within 30 mins from Shinjuku Station.
Visitors must purchase tickets in advance which can be booked online. The last minute booking is usually hard to make as it’s pretty popular and only limited number of visitors can enter at once. So make sure to book your tickets in advance or some website provide last minute booking service if you haven’t got enough time.
2. Fujiko·F·Fujio Museum
Fujiko F Fujio is the creator of the long-beloved Japanese manga/animation, Doraemon, and his museum is located in Kawasaki, just outside of Tokyo. Fujiko F Fujio Museum a.k.a. Doraemon Museum exhibits numbers of precious works of Fujiko, mainly Doraemon and its original artworks and short films. English guide is also available.
The museum can be entered only with an advance reservation, so make sure to purchase tickets in beforehand.
3. Pokemon Center MEGA Tokyo
Pokemon has been one of the most popular things on the planet for a couple of decades. It’s still pretty fresh in our memories that the whole world had gone crazy about Pokemon Go lately.
Pokemon Center is an official Pokemon store offering games and merchandise which every Pokemon fans would wish for, and currently located at 12 locations in Japan including three in Tokyo. Pokemon Center MEGA Tokyo is the biggest store located in Ikebukuro, Tokyo, and there is another store at Tokyo Skytree. In 2018, Pokemon Center TOKYO DX has opened in Nihonbashi, Tokyo with their first permanent Pokemon Cafe.
One of most popular districts in Tokyo, Akihabara is known as the paradise for electronic products and geek culture. They say anything related to Otaku culture can be found in Akihabara such as Anime, Gaming, Manga, figures, underground idols,etc. Stores like Mandarake and Animate are hugely popular as a wide variety of product range and many rare items can be found.
5. Nakano Broadway
Maybe it’s lesser known among foreigners, but just like Akihabara, Nakano is a popular area in Tokyo among Otaku and underground sub culture lovers. Nakano Broadway is a main hub of the area, which is a large shopping complex which houses numbers of shops including the famous Manga store, Mandarake, offering manga and anime related items. If you have already been to Akihabara, and could not get enough, Nakano Broadway is definitely your next stop. Nakano area is not far from Shinjuku area, only a few stops by train from JR Shinjuku Station.
If you are interested in the deep Otaku culture in Nakano area and keen on exploring hidden spots in this neighbourhood, I’d strongly recommend you to join the local guided tour!
6. Tokyo One Piece Tower
In the past two decades, ONE PIECE has become the best selling manga series in the history with over 430 million copies sold worldwide and the series is still on going.
One Piece’s only theme park, Tokyo One Piece Tower is located at the foot of Tokyo Tower. The indoor park offers various kinds of One Piece themed attractions as well as live shows, special events, themed cafe & restaurants and shops. One Piece fans can easily spend a whole day without getting bored.
7. Odaiba Gundam
Gundam is one of most popular animations in Japanese history, which originally started its broadcast nearly 40 years ago.
The gigantic statue of Gundam has been standing in front of DiverCity Tokyo as a symbol of Odaiba area. The current statue is a second model which is replaced in 2017, called Unicorn Gundam. Next to the statue, there is a Gundam themed cafe offering special food and beverage in Gundam theme.
8. Sanrio Puroland
Hello Kitty, Rilakkuma, Pompompurin, etc.. Sanrio has created numbers of characters beloved in Japan and abroad. Sanrio Puroland is their one and only amusement park where visitors can enjoy themed attractions, games, shows, shops and restaurants. Several seasonal events are held through the year such as Halloweens and Christmas and you can find your favourite characters in special costumes as well as limited goods.
In Japan, it is customary that on Valentine’s Day only women give gifts (usually chocolate) to men, either as an expression of affection, courtesy or social obligation. On the other hand, at the White Day (March 14th), the men who received chocolates at Valentine’s Day thank them for offering a gift to the woman to return the favor.
Traditionally, the most popular gifts for this day are cookies, jewelry, white chocolate, or other objects of the same color.
The White Day was held for the first time in 1978 in Japan.
It was started by the National Confectionery Industries Association as a “day of response” for Valentine’s Day, under the argument that men should return them to women who gave them chocolate and other gifts. In 1977, a candy company in Fukuoka, Ishimuramanseido, marketed marshmallows for men on March 14, calling it Marshmallow Day (マ シ ュ マ ロ デ ー Mashumaro Dē).
Soon, the candy companies began marketing white chocolate. Currently, men give away black and white chocolate, as well as other edible and inedible gifts, such as jewelry or objects of sentimental value. Flowers and other gifts are also given on this day. Eventually, this practice spread to the neighboring countries of Japan: South Korea, China, Taiwan and Vietnam. In those cultures, White Day is celebrated in a similar way for the most part.
Keep in mind some details:
Men are expected to return Valentine’s gifts with objects of greater value than the ones they received. And of course: the white color is the hero!
If the gift that is received is of the same value as the one that was given for Valentine’s Day it is common to think that something does not work in the relationship. It is also to be expected that the most expensive and personal gifts are made only to the couple or person you like. To your friends or co-workers the most usual thing is to give them sweets or chocolate.
The term sanbai gaeshi (三倍 返 し, return triple), tends to be used to represent the rule in which men must return a gift that is two or three times the value of the one they received on Valentine’s Day.
If you are a boy and you received gifts on Valentine’s Day, then you know what you have to do: give gifts back to all the girls from whom you received chocolate. You can give anything, but you have to make sure it’s nicer, better, or more expensive than the chocolates you received for Valentine’s Day.
On December 12, the Kanji of the Year 2018 was announced: 災, whose reading is wazawai or sai and means “disaster” or “misfortune”.
The Kanji Fitness Examination Foundation announces each year in December the “kanji of the year”, chosen through a popular vote to reflect what the last 12 months meant. The citizens voted through the postal mail, on the official website or in ballot boxes to choose a single character, in some cases adding an explanation with the reasons for their selection.
The kanji chosen this year, wazawai, refers to the multitude of natural disasters that affected Japan during 2018: severe earthquakes in the prefectures of Osaka, Hokkaidō and Shimane, a series of typhoons that hit the coast of the country, torrential rains that caused landslides and floods, and high historical temperatures during the summer. The press release from the Kanji Fitness Examination Foundation notes that “As the new year approaches, many expect the next imperial era to bring fewer disasters to bear.”
Wazawai clearly rose as leader with more than 10% of the 193,214 votes counted.
In second place was 平 (hei or taira), a kanji meaning “peaceful” or “flat”, chosen by many for its position in 平 成 (Heisei), the name of which will end when Emperor Akihito abdicates from the throne to end of April 2019. Relying on this “end of an era”, the character of 終 (shū / owaru), whose meaning is “final”, was in third position.
Voters looked at events that took place around the world when choosing a winning character. Some of them took into account the eruption of the Fire Volcano of Guatemala in June and the devastating forest fires that affected Greece and the western United States.
In second place was 平 (hei), chosen by many people for its presence in the name of the current era, but also for being the first character in the hanja script of Pyeongchang, the city of South Korea in which the Olympic Winter Games, and for appearing in the first name of Los Angeles baseball player Ōtani Shōhei.
The third place was for 終 (shū; “final”), which reflects the closure of the Tsukiji fish market, according to one of the comments offered by the voters, in addition to the end of the current imperial era.
“We felt the need to mix it up: Japanese and hip hop culture” The six dancers were invited to take part in a traditional Bon odori dance festival.
The six dancers in the video — Katie Sachiko Scott, Christine Tolentino, Marina Watanabe, Asuka Tazawa, Yuki Sugimura and Momoe Teruya — were invited by fellow dancer Koki Kawashima (stage name: Ko-ki) to take part in a traditional Bon odori dance festival held in Tokyo’s Monzen-Nakacho neighborhood. The organizers of the event were looking for street dancers, youth into hip-hop and such, to take part and the six young women, all dance enthusiasts, answered the call. As part of the festival, they performed more traditional dances — but the streets were calling.
“We felt the need to mix it up: Japanese and hip-hop culture,” says Scott, whose stage name is KTea. “They’d dressed us up in kimono and we knew we’d never get a chance like this again. So, when we had some free time during the event, we decided we should do something street.”
With social media exploding in popularity this past decade, viral dance challenges have become a major part of hip-hop culture. Some standouts this year include BlocBoy JB’s “Shoot Dance” and, of course, Drake’s “In My Feelings” challenge, both of which have resulted in videos that have gone viral worldwide. “Switch It Up,” produced by Cub$kout, came out in the summer.
A few hours and some rehearsal.
Most remarkable about the Monzen-Nakacho version, though, is that the six women whose video has been viewed thousands of times on Facebook and Instagram only met each other for the first time hours before creating the video. They learned the choreography in 30 minutes before shooting.
“We searched through the popular challenges on the net and found the ‘Switch It Up’ challenge, rehearsed it together a few times and did it,” says KTea. “We had to do two or three takes because kids kept passing through or we didn’t like the background.”
They landed on a small traditional-looking structure for the background, with a hint of glass skyscrapers in the near distance. The group thought it was a good mixture of old and new, an ideal accent to modern dance postures, traditional clothing and the ethnic mix of the women themselves — three of the dancers are Japanese, two are of mixed heritage and one is Filipino but grew up here.
When the festival finished, the six went their separate ways and didn’t think anymore about the video until later when they realized it had started being shared on social media.
“Right now, we’ve split up,” says KTea. “But we’re hoping to get together and dance again soon.”
Source: BAYE MCNEIL for The Japan Times
The Emperor’s Birthday honors the Emperor of Japan and the Chrysanthemum Throne, but it is also a time for Japanese citizens to have fun and express their patriotism. On the Emperor’s Birthday, people can enjoy many festivities. Currently, the Emperor’s Birthday is celebrated on December 23. The date of the holiday changes to correspond with the birthday of the current Emperor of Japan. In Japan, the Emperor’s Birthday is known as Tenno Tanjobi.
Birthday celebrations for Japanese emperors date back to Ancient Japan. These celebrations were held to honor the Emperor as a person and Imperial ruler. Prior to World War II, the Emperor’s Birthday was called Tenchosetsu. Tenchosetsu corresponded with Chikusetsu, or the Empress’ Birthday. In 1948, the Emperor’s Birthday became a public holiday in Japan. During the same year, Chikusetsu was eliminated and Tenchosetsu was changed to Tenno Tanjobi. Tennor Tanjobi is a literal translation of the Emperor’s Birthday and matches the current form of Japanese used in Japan. Tenno Tanjobi was a celebration of Emperor Showa’s birthday. During the Showa period, Tenno Tanjobi was celebrated on April 29 each year. When Emperor Showa passed away in 1989, April 29 became Greenery Day.
In 2007, April 29 became Showa Day. Today, the Emperor’s Birthday, Greenery Day, and Showa Day are all celebrated separately. After Showa’s death, Akihito ascended to the Chrysanthemum Throne. Today, Emperor Akihito continues to reign over Japan. Empero Akihito’s birthday is December 23. Because of this, the Diet changed Tenno Tanjobi to December 23 before Akihito came to power. Japanese law states that the Diet must change Tenno Tanjobi to the birthday of the current Japanese emperor, so the holiday will be celebrated on a different day in the future.
Tenno Tanjobi: life and accomplishments.
Tenno Tanjobi currently celebrates the life and accomplishments of Emperor Akihito. Akihito was born on December 23, 1933. His parents were Emperor Hirohito and Empress Nagako. Emperor Akihito was the first member of the Imperial family of Japan to marry a person from a lower social class. In 1959, Emperor Akihito married Michiko Shoda, a commoner from Tokyo. Throughout his life, Akihito continued to depart from the elitist ideals that the Imperial family had become known for throughout history. Emperor Akihito has also dedicated a large portion of his life to being a humanitarian. Akihito is credited for improving Japan’s reputation in East Asia. He visited many nations to apologize for Imperial Japan’s cruel actions. Emperor Akihito is also known to visit the sites of earthquakes, tsunamis, and other natural disasters. Emperor Akihito still continues to do what he can to promote peace and understanding throughout the world. Akihito is also a scholar with a genuine interest in science. Emperor Akihito has published a book on marine biology.
The Emperor’s Birthday is one of Japan’s most unique holidays, so Japanese people have many ways to celebrate.
Visiting the Imperial Palace
Many people use the Emperor’s Birthday as an opportunity to visit the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. On December 23, the Imperial Palace opens to the public. Normally, most of the Imperial Palace is restricted to regular Japanese citizens. On the Emperor’s Birthday, people can take a tour of the Imperial Palace’s inner rooms and courtyards. This is a rare experience, so people from across Japan often travel to Tokyo to enjoy the holiday. There is also a large ceremony at the Imperial Palace. Prior to the beginning of the ceremony, huge crowds of people gather in front of the Imperial Palace to await the arrival of Japanese Emperor. When the ceremony begins, the Emperor will look at the crowds from his balcony. He will often say a few words of gratitude while the visitors shout out birthday salutations. During the ceremony, the Emperor is accompanied by the Empress and other members of the Imperial family.
Since the Emperor’s Birthday is a patriotic holiday, many Japanese people hang the national flag of Japan on their homes. People also bring miniature flags to the celebration at the Imperial Palace.
During the week before the birthday celebration, many Japanese citizens write letters to the Japanese Emperor. Most of these letters are generic, but some people write messages that are quite personal. These personal letters often come from individuals that have been directly impacted by the Emperor’s actions. Emperor Akihito often receives letters from people who are appreciative of his dedication to humanitarianism. Before the Emperor’s Birthday, many street vendors sell parchment and postage to people who want to write a letter to the Japanese Emperor.
Since all of the events for the Emperor’s Birthday occur at the Imperial Palace, Tokyo is the best to celebrate the holiday.
The Emperor’s Birthday is a patriotic holiday that honors the current Japanese Emperor and his life.
Source: Public Holidays
This is the last part of Japanese Arts & Crafts
18. Japanese Cinema
20. Contemporary Japanese Art
21. Washi Eggs
22. Rice Paddy Art
Source: Japan Talk
We continue with the description of the main japanese Arts & Craft that we started in the previous post.
8. Japanese Fans
Japanese art evolved unique techniques, traditions and aesthetics as the country’s artists were isolated from the rest of the art world for centuries at a time. When Japanese art finally exploded onto the world stage in the 1860s, it changed everything. For example, Japanese art was one of the inspirations for the Impressionist movement in Europe and America.
The following are a few major Japanese arts and crafts:
Source: Japan Talk
This is a karaoke list that every otaku want. These are the best opening songs in Anime
Thanks to WatchMojo.com