Posts Tagged ‘culture’

Aaand we’re a day or two late. ぎりぎりセーフ。。。じゃない。

I collected a lot of articles on geeks and gender this summer and wanted to share them here on the blog. Japan Gender Reader will be back soon!

Image via Northwest Press.

Image via Northwest Press.


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In this Japan gender reader: Sailor Moon, sex and gender statistics, gender-equality Jizo, and more!

From Sailor Moon Wikia

Concept art by Takeuchi Naoko. From Sailor Moon Wikia

Warning: some links may be NSFW.


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Speaking of writing about studying another culture and having humility, check out Toranosuke’s excellent piece on the moment when you realize you how much you don’t know about your field over on A Man with Tea.

上り口説 Nubui Kuduchi

Whenever I’ve heard (or read) people say things like “the more you learn, the more you realize how little you know,” I always used to think it referred to a breadth and depth of detailed knowledge. The more you learn about Japan, the more you realize how little you know about England, the Netherlands, or Korea (not to mention Botswana or Guyana); at the same time, the more you learn about any given aspect of Japanese culture or history (for example), the more you realize just how many other castles, samurai lords, artists, events & incidents, works of literature, or whatever it may be, that you still don’t know about. Plus, even within any given topic, the more you know about Hokusai or Danjûrô or Saga Castle, for example, the more you realize just how much more about that same topic you still don’t know. That’s all certainly…

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Laura Kina "Gosei" oil on canvas, 30x45 in., 2012 on view in Under My Skin. Via Laura Kina's blog.

Laura Kina “Gosei” oil on canvas, 30×45 in., 2012 on view in Under My Skin. Via Laura Kina’s blog.

As a fellow Japanese-Studies scholar, I feel I ought to comment on Maggie Thorpe’s “You don’t have to be mixed-race to have a mixed identity” in The Seattle Globalist. Although the article begins as a review of the Under My Skin exhibition at the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience in Seattle, Thorpe, a white grad student at University of Washington, uses the themes of the exhibition to discuss her personal identification with Japanese culture:

I became infatuated with Japanese culture when I was 8. Growing up in the southwest, I was like many white American youth, feeling “vanilla” and “boring” because I did not have a culture that was easily definable. So I found something else that appealed to me. These days, my co-worker announces frequently that I am the most Japanese at the Japanese restaurant I work at. The restaurant owned by a Japanese man, and staffed by mostly Japanese-American workers. When a Japanese pop song comes on the radio that I admit I don’t recognize, or there’s a reference to an anime I don’t know, I’m teased for not living up to my Japanese-obsessed reputation.

The article is problematic, to say the least, (more…)

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Dove’s “Real Beauty” Campaign‘s latest attempt to engage consumers has gone viral, and you’ve likely seen some of the criticisms about it. The video “Real Beauty Sketches” depicts a group of women being asked to describe their physical appearance (faces) to an FBI profile artist who couldn’t see them; afterward, the women were described by strangers, including each other. The punchline is that the drawings on of the women based on their own descriptions are far less conventionally attractive than those based on others’ descriptions, and the tagline is “You’re More Beautiful Than You Think.”

Not buying it.

“A Social Experiment”

From Dove’s Youtube page:

Women are their own worst beauty critics. Only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful. [Ed: Where are your citations, Dove?] At Dove, we are committed to creating a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety. So, we decided to conduct a compelling social experiment that explores how women view their own beauty in contrast to what others see.

Several other writers have already taken the campaign to task. (more…)

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“Deeply Ingrained Advantages”: American Media Discovers Kyûshoku

Reblogged from I’ll Make It Myself:

Can Japan solve America’s food identity crisis? Japan’s relatively low rates of obesity have caught the eye of the American news media, particularly in light of our own new government controls on junk food and measures intended to prevent childhood obesity. In January, The Washington Post ran the article “On Japan’s school lunch menu: A healthy meal, made from scratch” by Chico Harlan; NPR followed up article/radio segment on bento called “In Japan, Food Can Be Almost Too Cute To Eat” by Audrey Carlsen and Daniel N.M. Turner, featuring a radio interview for All Things Considered with host Audie Cornish and author Debra Samuels.

While it is true that the content and presentation of Japanese school lunches (kyûshoku, 給食) and boxed lunches (bento) are quite different from their stereotypical American counterparts, both articles oversimplified the topics. I’d like to focus on each article separately as my criticism for each deals with distinct rather than overlapping issues. First, I’d like to discuss The Washington Post piece’s failure to address some of the negative aspects of the Japanese diet, and, in a separate post, how the NPR piece misses the mark on the “cute” issue and ignores the gendered social issues behind the bento.

Read more…

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