How do I say "bless you" in Japanese when someone sneezes? Why do Japanese people say "itadakimasu" (I shall take/eat it) before eating something? Well, language and culture are closely tied to each other. And to really speak a second language naturally, you need to learn the culture as well. But, what if that second culture contains something bad, like discrimination? (more…)
When someone confronts you and says you're racist, misogynous, homophobic, ableist, etc.... it's tempting to say "that's not what I meant." But let's take a moment and think about how discrimination works in a circular structure and how your words and action can constribute to it. In this bilingual (eng/jp) video, I explain why your intention doesn't matter. (more…)
An unofficial feminist sequel to Doraemon: Part 1 Well, it doesn’t bother me much any longer now, but when the series began, I felt a massive amount of fury deep inside and it rose from the bottom of my stomach up my heart and throat. I had never expected my name to be used that way. I had heard a rumor that Takeshi-san would write manga about his childhood, but the way he described our childhood memories gave me quite a shock. I immediately contacted Nobita-san and Suneo-san. Nobita-san sounded nothing but confused and at a loss. Suneo-san seemed to be trying very hard to suppress his anger toward Takeshi-san who hadn’t responded to his calls. I was just as sad and angry. Not knowing what else to do, I tried to call Takeshi-san, but to no avail. (more…)
As I was going through the daily routine of browsing Facebook & Twitter, I found a NYT article, Gay Couples, Choosing to Say ‘I Don’t’, the title of which caught my eye, as I oppose the institution of marriage, and the like-minded people who shared the link in FB/TW seemed content with anti-marriage opinions circulating at last in the mainstream media. Excited, I read on, only to be disappointed, but in a way that was quite unexpected, by the elitist tone of the article. (more…)
Edit (May 2): If you are using Google Translate or a similar service in order to read this, please do not trust the translation. If you think that Tokyo Rainbow Pride is the main topic of this article, that is not true. The main topic is English-language LGBT journalism.
Although this isn't intended to be an exhaustive summary of history of LGBT politics in Japan, which I cannot possibly provide given my limited knowledge, I just couldn't take anymore the shittiness of the news articles written about LGBT politics in Japan. The most typical, all-too-common article written in English never fails to make the followings clear:
- Japan lags behind the West. There's nothing legal about gay partnerships, and people there are afraid to come out.
- But things are changing. And such changes are welcomed with enthusiasm by all LGBTs in Japan.
At SWAAY I found out about this new campaign calling for a moratorium on arrests etc. of sex workers until the end of the Olympics.
Stop the Arrests Campaign is calling for a moratorium on arrests, detention and deportation of sex workers in London with immediate effect until the end of the Olympic Games.But what happens after the end of the Olympics? (more…)
Yesterday I was invited to Prof. Miho Matsugu's class at DePaul University entitled "Queer Japan" to discuss with the class as well as Prof. Yuki Miyamoto "Honey Pie", a Haruki Murakami short story. The class was composed of students with various backgrounds and motivations for study of Japan, and the discussion turned out to be quite an opportunity for me (and for Yuki, as she later told me) to explore many other possible readings of the story than ours. Since the class session didn't last long enough for all of us to fully share our interpretations of the story, I'm sure some of the students had a lot more to say than we got to hear. I myself left out some of the points that I had in my notes. My expertise is queer theory and feminist critique (although that's got more to do with literature, not my official discipline sociology). Queer theory and feminist critique are, you know, things that some people like, some others loathe; some people need them to make sense of the gendered/heterosexualized world, some people don't need them because the world already makes sense to them. So here I am, trying to share my reading of "Honey Pie," so that some of the class who may find this example of queer reading interesting——or at least worth-thinking about——can get a glimpse of what is queer about queer-reading. (more…)
When we queers feel loved and accepted by our families, we often see it as a beautiful thing, maybe even as one of the most desirable moments that can happen in a queer person's life. We usually feel happy for the queer kid when we hear stories like the book by Cheryl Kilodavis. And, yes, indeed, I'm happy for queers whose parents are understanding. And I am very grateful to my very own mother who is super cool with my queerness and is an organizer of the monthly drag pub event. But I hate the stories of understanding parents——especially mothers——, the typical narrative of them being shocked at first and then gradually becoming tolerant and understanding of their kids. (more…)
How is it that just because I am sexual minority my understanding mother must be a “wonderful mother” to whom I “should be grateful”? I AM grateful to her not because she knows some queer theory and feminist thoughts which may make others believe that she’s studied for the sake Read more…