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INTEREST: Queer Japanese Vlogger Discusses Boys-Love in English-Subtitled Video


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Altorrin



Joined: 24 Dec 2007
Posts: 300
Location: Florida, United States
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 9:58 pm Reply with quote
So... is there any reason you insist on referring to as "they" someone who speaks English fluently as you link to his video on his opinion entitled a "A gay man's opinion on BL"? And to his website, which links to a profile on him that repeatedly refers to him as "he"? That's a little rude.
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R. Kasahara
Collector ExtraordinaireCollector Extraordinaire


Joined: 19 Feb 2013
Posts: 135
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 10:05 pm Reply with quote
Altorrin wrote:
So... is there any reason you insist on referring to as "they" someone who speaks English fluently as you link to his video on his opinion entitled a "A gay man's opinion on BL"? And to his website, which links to a profile on him that repeatedly refers to him as "he"? That's a little rude.

On his Twitter he has "he/him/they/them" in his profile, so it seems like he's fine with that pronoun...
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Lord Oink



Joined: 06 Jul 2016
Posts: 663
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 10:13 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
the Anime Feminist website


Because of course that's a thing that exists.
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#Verso.Sciolto



Joined: 17 Feb 2017
Posts: 325
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 11:10 pm Reply with quote
Lord Oink wrote:
Quote:
the Anime Feminist website


Because of course that's a thing that exists.
The Anime Feminist website has existed as such for about a year and the people who run the site have existed for a lot longer.

Reposted here is the link for the (Interview) Masaki C. Matsumoto, queer and feminist activist, as hosted on the Anime Feminist website, to affirm their existence.
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Nitsugalego



Joined: 25 Apr 2015
Posts: 62
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 11:26 pm Reply with quote
Who?

Anime "News" Network, everyone
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Crimson Queen Zora



Joined: 18 Jun 2017
Posts: 24
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 11:32 pm Reply with quote
I really enjoy the Anime feminist website and this video. I have lots of issues with BL mainly because it objectifies the hell out of gay men. And the power dynamics in the relationships are unsettling . I get it straight chicks find it hot but as a queer lady the idea of fetishizing a gay person doesn't sit right with me. It's a broken mirror of what being lgbt is like. I'm am happy that more manga written by lgbt people is getting published and I find that super empowering like our voices are finally being really, truly heard.[/quote]
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fencer_x



Joined: 28 Jul 2011
Posts: 210
PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2018 12:25 am Reply with quote
Crimson Queen Zora wrote:
I really enjoy the Anime feminist website and this video. I have lots of issues with BL mainly because it objectifies the hell out of gay men. And the power dynamics in the relationships are unsettling . I get it straight chicks find it hot but as a queer lady the idea of fetishizing a gay person doesn't sit right with me. It's a broken mirror of what being lgbt is like. I'm am happy that more manga written by lgbt people is getting published and I find that super empowering like our voices are finally being really, truly heard.
[/quote]

Sounds like you've just been reading bad BL *shrug emoji* I'd say 85% of the genre is indeed the trash you speak of, but there are absolutely endearing stories that have comedy and sweet romance and no power dynamics or problematic content as well. You just have to be a bit more persistent in your search--it's work, but it pays off.

I'm happy, though, that more and more artists and authors are realizing that they CAN tell stories about gay folks and romances involving people of the same sex without having to label it BL and shove it under some 'other' genre rather than letting is sing as the romance it is, as if 'romance' only applies to het relationships, and if you want to write about anything else, it needs a special label because it's ~not normal~.
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Crystalyn



Joined: 16 Oct 2009
Posts: 390
PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2018 12:39 am Reply with quote
Altorrin wrote:
So... is there any reason you insist on referring to as "they" someone who speaks English fluently as you link to his video on his opinion entitled a "A gay man's opinion on BL"? And to his website, which links to a profile on him that repeatedly refers to him as "he"? That's a little rude.


R. Kasahara wrote:
On his Twitter he has "he/him/they/them" in his profile, so it seems like he's fine with that pronoun...


Yes, this is the reason why we decided to use "they." We made an editorial decision after looking at previous articles (including Deb Aoki's interview (http://4NN.cx/.99515) on ANN with Graham Kolbeins where Kolbeins uses "they" for Matsumoto) and looking at Matsumoto's Twitter account profile on pronoun preferences.
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TsukasaElkKite



Joined: 22 Nov 2005
Posts: 2941
PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2018 1:34 am Reply with quote
Interesting. I’ll check out the video.
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katscradle



Joined: 05 Jan 2013
Posts: 443
PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2018 1:46 am Reply with quote
I reccomend following Masaki if you have an interest in LGBTQ issues in Japan.

I’ve always felt a good deal of prejudices against LGBTQ people is rooted in sexism and heteronormativity. So, some of that can carry over to anything seen as queer or feminine. Therefore I think it is good to recognize when those ideas are cloaked in criticism.

On the other hand as a bi woman I’ve found some queer readings in BL but, 95% of it I find unattractive, some examples quite offensively so. Masaki admits to finding some awful BL too. So critiquing BL and the more people with diverse perspectives doing so is also a very good thing.

I think the problem is more toxic fandom than the actual fact whatever fantasies exist and are shared. I’ve seen and experienced so much embarrassing, delusional, and bad behaviour over the years I understand why many people have big issues with the genre (or some other categories that can include erotica) as harmful. But, to quote My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness "...the problem isn't the stuff in fiction. It's the fact that we're never given the correct information."
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Cetais



Joined: 02 Feb 2012
Posts: 478
PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2018 3:36 am Reply with quote
Nitsugalego wrote:
Who?

Anime "News" Network, everyone
Someone here doesn't know what the "INTEREST" in the title means.
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marshmallowpie



Joined: 22 Sep 2009
Posts: 119
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2018 7:35 am Reply with quote
Interesting of this article for emphasising the queer part of Matsumoto's identity, over the fact that he is a gay man, which is a lot more relevant to the topic of BL manga. There are a lot of people under the queer umbrella whose opinions on this subject wouldn't really mean much of anything, myself included (although queer sure ain't my label).

fencer_x wrote:

I'm happy, though, that more and more artists and authors are realizing that they CAN tell stories about gay folks and romances involving people of the same sex without having to label it BL and shove it under some 'other' genre rather than letting is sing as the romance it is, as if 'romance' only applies to het relationships, and if you want to write about anything else, it needs a special label because it's ~not normal~.


You make it sound like such categories are a bad thing, but I'd rather not have to sift through thousands of straight stories to find what I want. I also can't hold anything against straight people who have no interest in works about queer characters, even if these stories are much less common.
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Songster01



Joined: 05 Nov 2016
Posts: 71
PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2018 8:22 am Reply with quote
Crimson Queen Zora wrote:
I really enjoy the Anime feminist website and this video. I have lots of issues with BL mainly because it objectifies the hell out of gay men. And the power dynamics in the relationships are unsettling . I get it straight chicks find it hot but as a queer lady the idea of fetishizing a gay person doesn't sit right with me. It's a broken mirror of what being lgbt is like. I'm am happy that more manga written by lgbt people is getting published and I find that super empowering like our voices are finally being really, truly heard.
[/quote]

A question, how are people, including yourself defining BL? Is it fiction with m/m written in Japanese largely by and for Japanese straight women? Are m/m fanworks of non-BL media still BL? Or does your/their use of the term refer to m/m made anywhere? I ask because the contexts, content, and members of the communities can differ, sometimes in important ways. For example, I find slash here in North America has evolved (still far from perfect but man oh man the 1990s vs. now) and it's not hard for me to find quality slash fic in big fandoms in which the queer men are treated as human beings and female characters too much much less of the nasty female who blocks my OTP sob sob stereotype). Why has this happened? One partial answer may be that that the old chestnut that slash is made primarily for and by straight women may no longer be wholly accurate. Multiple studies of slash readers and writers demonstrate that the largest group of readers and writers are bi- or pansexual. Check out this massive survey of @10,000 people who use the Ao3 archive: http://centrumlumina.tumblr.com/post/63208278796/ao3-census-masterpost Why is this? I suspect some of them found more resonance in same-sex relationships than mainstream het. I was inundated with het from the 1970s on and let me tell you I now identify more with queer relationships in fiction, whether or not they are slash. And now I tend to hang out with older women (queer and straight) and non binary people in fandom and they are quite active in writing excellent m/m fic.

I mention this because MM was addressing a Japanese audience in which sexism and homophobia has an even greater chokehold on society. I've absolutely seen men in the anime scene use queer people as a stick to beat women with, and then turn around and give you the old predatory gay man/woman trope. So MM's message is quite appropriate.

That said. I don't call myself a fujoshi. I'm an anime/manga fan who's read a few unlicensed fan translated BL manga that other queer and/or feminist folks have recc'd that avoid consent issues and seme/uke and watched Doukyuusei, which I enjoyed (except for that tropey scene with the teacher). Ditto for GL (love Aoi Hana and enjoyed some manga that had well-written female characters, but have cringed at the GL/yuri anime titles coming out like NTR and Citrus that so often focus on assault and unhealthy relationships (which are fine when they are not the majority). I'd have to say that the closest thing to BL (but isn't) that I've actually loved as a queer person is the sports anime Yuri on Ice. But then Sayo and Kubo worked hard to move it sidestep and subvert stereotypes, normalize a slow-burn, incidental m/m romance, and make even the women lovable with their own lives and agendas. And I place that joyous work alongside the more serious LGBTQ+ manga like My Brother's Husband and My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness.

Anyway, I hope this is coming off as a "please clarify", because I'm often not sure in this thread if we are talking about just BL or just m/m fiction not created by gay men and it's important to recognize there are some differences.
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Usagi-kun



Joined: 03 Jul 2013
Posts: 770
Location: Nashville, TN
PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2018 12:44 pm Reply with quote
katscradle wrote:
But, to quote My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness "...the problem isn't the stuff in fiction. It's the fact that we're never given the correct information."


I would love to put emphasis on this quote. I am also interested how the concept of 'fudanshi' is designated. Is it one of those 'stereotypes' in anime and manga? A real demographic of readers? Or is this like finding a unicorn, never, but still respected?
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katscradle



Joined: 05 Jan 2013
Posts: 443
PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2018 2:41 pm Reply with quote
Usagi-kun wrote:
I am also interested how the concept of 'fudanshi' is designated. Is it one of those 'stereotypes' in anime and manga? A real demographic of readers? Or is this like finding a unicorn, never, but still respected?


I actually know several self-described fudanshi, straight, gay, or otherwise. For some titles I think fudanshi are a noticeable set of consumers. One of the first BL fans I got to know was a gay guy. I lost touch with him over the years and miss talking to him for one reason that he gave the best recommendations. Basically if someone calls themselves a fudanshi they’re a fudanshi. If not they’re not.

Same thing with fujoshi. I know people especially in the West think exclusively about BL when they use it but, I’d never call myself that even if I liked BL more since it has far too selfish connotations.


Songster01 wrote:
Multiple studies of slash readers and writers demonstrate that the largest group of readers and writers are bi- or pansexual.


Interesting that you bring up slash. Personally I’ve never taken an interest in it at all. But it was through a friend that was into it that I discovered m/m stuff from Japan.

If anybody's curious there are academics in Japan and other countries that have researched and written about BL and fandom:

Professor, translator and girl’s manga scholar Rachel Thorn has a paper from 15 years ago that talks about slash and yaoi.
https://www.en.matt-thorn.com/single-post/2018/02/17/Girls-and-Women-Getting-Out-of-Hand-The-Pleasure-and-Politics-of-Japans-Amateur-Comics-Community

The book Boys Love Manga and Beyond has several perspectives from across the globe including a translated paper from gender and comics theory scholar Dr. Yukari Fujimoto who is often quoted and somewhat taken out of context by others. Also there's a paper on fudanshi by Dr. Kazumi Nagaike.

Writer and Professor Dru Pagliassotti has several academic papers in Reading BL in the West about 10 years ago found through survey 41% of respondents speaking English identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or other or had no interest in sex. The Italian language survey had a little over 29%.
http://www.participations.org/Volume%205/Issue%202/5_02_pagliassotti.htm

Dr. Anna Madill has a number of papers. I’m not sure if she’s updated numbers of her BL survey she keeps open but last I saw numbers from one of her papers respondents identified 34% heterosexual, 22% bisexual, 13% poly/pansexual, 12% not sure, 10% other, 9% homosexual/lesbian/gay and also 8% chose other for gender.
https://leeds.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/blfandomsurvey
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