Laputa: Castle in the Sky

May 31, 2010

Laputa: Castle in the Sky directed by Hayao Miyazaki, was created in 1986 and was brought to America in 1996. This movie revolves  a girl named Sheeta, who is kidnapped and chased after throughout the movie for having a mysterious power handed to her by her ancestors. With the help of her new friend Pazu, she is able to understand the origins of her power and dispose of it so that no harm is done to the world.

Miyazaki wrote this story to get away from the notion that the male protagonist must always save the damsel in distress. In this case, Sheeta is supposed to be the damsel in distress with Pazu being the knight in shining armor, but Miyazaki lays out their personalities so that this cliche is not exhibited. Pazu and Sheeta both have their roles in the storyline and neither is viewed to be weak or strong on the bases of their gender. In the beginning of the movie, Sheeta escapes from her kidnappers using her own strength. At another point in the movie, Pazu realizes that he is not strong enough to help Sheeta in her quest so he joins up with pirates to gain allies to help Sheeta. These examples show how the character designs go against the notion of the weak female and the strong male.  Thus, eliminating the damsel in distress cliche from his work, Miyazaki effectively creates an interesting movie that does not involve gender discrimination.

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Working!!

May 31, 2010

Doing a double post today to cover the labor day weekend.

Anyways, Working!! is an anime that is currently airing that revolves characters working at a family restaurant in Japan. It seems like a regular slice-of-life anime, but the unique personality of the characters make the show more than that. The story follows Sota Takanashi as he starts a part time job at a family restaurant, dealing with the strange co-workers that he meets. The most important people he meets is Popura Taneshima, a girl often mistaken for a elementary school student because of her height, and Mahiru Inami, a girl who is afraid of men and punches them on sight.

In a certain aspect the personalities of these characters can be proved to be controversial. Popura Taneshima can be seen as the ideal woman that otaku men are obsessing over, leading women to be viewed as small, cute, and weak.  Mahiru Inami is seen as a strong woman since she knocks out men on sight, proving that women are not weak and also proving that societal dominance given on males is threatening to woman. Sota Takanashi was raised to be a girl, which leads him to love cute and small objects. This type of personality breaks down the sexist notion that men are not able to like cute things without losing their power (masculinity), but when Takanashi works in the restaurant he proves to be a strong human being even with his interest in cute things.


Love Plus

May 28, 2010

Love Plus is a DS game only sold in Japan and is described to be a dating simulation. The game itself goes beyond the normal dating simulation because it incorporates a real time clock system and voice recognition to make the relationship more real. There are three girls to choose from in the game, each having their own personality, hobbies, and features.

The game sold over 45,000 copies in its first week and has become so popular that there is now an iphone app that allows you to take virtual pictures with your girl of choice. This type of game just further establishes what the ideal woman in Japan should be, as discussed in my yesterday’s post titled “3D Pig Disgusting”. It creates more competition for women in relationships while also causing sexist pressures upon them.

This clip shows just how obsessive Japanese men can be toward their “Love Plus” relationship.


3D Pig Disguesting

May 27, 2010

This is what one would hear from many anime otaku in Japan. The word otaku is defined as a person who has gone into the obsession of a hobby. In this case of anime otaku, these people drown their lives with anything anime related including their women. They believe that the perfect woman can only be in 2D, often referring to real women as 3D pig disgusting. This sort of perception arises because women in anime are illustrated as ideal women. The ideal women in terms of otaku men include characteristics of being pure, skinny, and cute. There are even reported divorce cases involving a man cheating on their wives with an anime girl.

The creation of such ideal women in anime brings about pressures to woman in Japan to become more toward this ideal. Japanese women will now not only compete with other women for companionship but will also compete with these fictional characters. Creation of such an ideal image is also quite sexist in the fact that a female must have all these characteristics exemplified by fictional characters to be more excepted in their society.


Women are Dominent

May 26, 2010

When I went to Japan last summer, a lecturer came to talk to the international students that were in Japan. I forget what the lecturer’s name was, but she was an anthropologist that was studying Japanese pop culture. One of her claims after living in Japan for her research for five years was that women were becoming the dominant gender. Since World War II men in Japan have been viewed to people in Japan as weak and worthless, and is one of the factors that caused the gender dominance switch. She explained that she found more men adopting feminine characteristics to try to regain their dominance over women. This type of thinking more or less seems to be caused by subconscious thinking stemming from society’s pressures from men. Such pressures include becoming a successful salery-man, attending a prestigious college, and the Japan depopulation issue.

In this picture one can clearly see the evolution of the Japanese man from masculine to feminine.

Skirts have recently been revered by men as being stylish as well.

Dominance really should not exist between genders, but each society will always view something (gender, race, background) as dominant or subordinate. It is up to the person to decide whether or not to coincide their views with their society such subjects.


Rapelay

May 25, 2010

Rapelay is a Japanese game where you are able to rape female characters in the game in an urban setting. A few months ago CNN did a story on it emphasizing how depriving it was for women. The Feminist group called “Equality Now” have pushed for bans for such games, and recently were able to pull the game off international shelves.

This type of ban is similar to the lolicon-ban that I discussed a few days ago. This type of expression, even though immoral, is a form of expression that should not be banned on the grounds that society does not see this type of art as normal. There are millions of people out there with millions of different fetishes, and I think that allowing people to play such a game as Rapelay is a safe way for them to do their business without harming an actual person. Restriction of this form of expression may lead to more actual forms of rape occurring to real people or the distribution of such outlawed games to increase via the internet. There will always be people who will demean women or other groups of people in some way, and the only way to get around it is to be confident in oneself and get through it.


Marriage in Japan

May 24, 2010

In my studies of of the Japanese culture, I have found that the reason for marriage is largely financial. The idea of marrying someone for love in Japan has just recently in the past view decades been the increasing, which is largely in part of western influences.

In Japan, a woman can achieve the same education as a man, but can not attain the same level of work or income that the man can in a traditional Japanese company. In most cases the highest a female can get in a company is a secretary position. If it is a female owned company, women can attain much higher positions, but these companies are still quite scarce. To support themselves and their buying habits, a woman will either work two to three jobs or marry someone with a high income. Thus, if a woman wants to live a life working only one job or a life only tending the the household, she must marry a rich man because the society she lives in traps her into doing so. This then leads to both males and females thinking that Japanese woman are only interested in money when thinking of marriage and nothing else. Which then leads to multiple pressures that are put on women in Japan that can come from women and men  from the initial act of sexism on salary in Japan.