WildWill comments

Posted in: Court rules against divorced parents seeking access to children See in context

I agree with Chip Star's comment: "Be forewarned before you marry a Japanese person and decide to live in Japan." And JJ Jetplane's comment: "For some, this could mean living in a constant state of fear and anxiety."

Some time back there was a report on Australian TV (7:30 Report) about this issue (non-Japanese man with Japanese ex-wife?) and while it was somewhat incomplete in terms of details, the segment exposed how a Japanese spouse (typically the wife) can for whatever reason take the child/ren from Australia move back to Japan and deny the husband/father from access to the child/ren, usually by not disclosing her address. I can understand this when there's DV involved but in other cases?

So what does this say about marriage and having children under Japanese law? Um, don't get married (stay single no children...that's what is being encouraged in times of decreasing population!!!) or if you are planning to, do your (legal) homework before you get hitched whether you're a non-Japanese or a Japanese it doesn't seem to matter! And what does this say about the Japanese legal system and other Japanese social institutions?

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Posted in: Major Japanese companies turn their eyes to LGBT consumers See in context

Why am I not surprised when there's money to be made that certain companies target a particular group such as 'the gays' with their pink yen, yet simply gloss over the rampant discrimination embedded in a range of Japanese institutions against the LGBTI+ community. These companies now need to pressure the Japanese government to enact marriage equality (for a start). This would then allow my Japanese partner (of 12 years) and I to get married in Australia (which has recently changed the law to allow same-sex marriage) and for that marriage to be recognised in Japan. Having said this, I admit there have been small advances such as the broadcasting of 「弟の夫」on NHK Premium, based on the Tagame Gengoro 'manga' of the same name. BUT whenever I visit Japan, I am suddenly reminded everywhere I go of the strong discourse of heteronormativity. I recently watched an episode of Downtown no Gaki no tsukai ya arahende (April 8th) in which the regulars and a few others were given ¥1000 to spend in a ¥100 shop to dress up as オネエ. Cheap right! In the climax, they all came together and bitched about who was the most beautiful, appropriating all the stereotypes of オネエ. Here we have a group of straight men doing gay-face. Am I surprised at that? Again, not really. It seems par for the course, but オネエ only represent one small part of the diversity within LGBTI+, yet it is the most visible, on TV at least. I've always wanted mainstream gay male Japanese celebrities to come out on TV and demand marriage equality. Hmmm, I can only dream, right?

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Posted in: Kumamoto assemblywoman causes stir by bringing 7-month-old son into chamber See in context

I would liked to have seen several Japanese male policians bring their children into the Diet for a changed rather than reinforcing the stereotype that child rearing is solely women's work.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward to begin legally recognizing same-sex partnerships See in context

@Yubaru

There are no religious hangups or zealots to deal with and Japanese (historically speaking) have been pretty open and honest with issues regarding "sex".

While this might be true, there seems to be an incredibly strong discourse around marriage, that is male-female marriage, here in Japan. It was only the other day in the hair dressers when I asked about my 'okusan'. The assumption is the default male equals straight male. When I said there no okusan, she suggested I find someone kawaii...hmmm I had to bite my tongue. What does one say in these circumstances? "I am actually a gay man with a partner who happens to be a man"??? Hmmm, I can hardly imagine the reaction that would create. Japanese language textbooks too need to be updated to reflect a family structure other than the on-going father, mother and two kids type scenario...

Until non-onee celebrities and idols come out as gay and lesbian and fight for equality before the law, Japan will linger in its fantasy of straightness. I wouldn't be surprised that once the debate heats up about same-sex marriage that there will be "zealots" who will argue against it.

Just the other night I was watching Okamura Takashi hosting a show about men who spend lots of money on their beauty regimes (skin and face mainly) to appear young and healthy. There was one guy in the guest line-up who just couldn't understand the reasons why men would do what was clearly, for him, something that women do. This guy's conception of gender was firmly set and I feel that performances of masculinity and femininity here in Japan also seem to be fixed into what may be stereotypes. Guys (and women too) like this one may be the ones who will come out against legalising same-sex marriage here in Japan.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Posted in: Abe defends security legislation See in context

Hi everyone...Yesterday I watched a long studio interview with PM Abe on TV (from 5pm until 6:30pm) in which he used a form of 'kamishibai' to explain his party's thinking and the reforms. Anyone who watches Japanese TV knows that the use of paper models and props is a commonplace, but it was interesting that the PM was using this way to directly explain the policy. He created a narrative using paper models to explain the changes. To make the policy credible he needed to directly appeal to Japanese citizens through this way of making it clear. Like how kamishibai was used during the Allied Occupation to 'teach' democracy, this much more hi-tech version still has a story teller, pictures and some text to engage the viewer. Times change but some things still linger. It was made quite clear throughout the program through snippets from the Japanese interviewed at the beach or amusement parks that Anpo wasn't something that really interested them. However, others on the street were either critical or supportive of the policy changes. It was actually a fascinating TV show that featured a studio panel of commentators.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan's population marks steepest decline ever See in context

While the numbers are most likely to be small, I wonder how many foreigners have become Japanese citizens in the same time frame?

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Posted in: Cool Japan? With new resident system for foreigners, 'Cold Japan' fits better See in context

What are the ways for foreign gay men to get PR in Japan? A permanent job? A fake 'wife' (surely that must be really old hat)...My Japanese partner here in Australia has PR because the Australian Government acknowledges same-sex de facto relationships. He has basically the same rights as a citizen but since he's not a citizen he cannot vote or work for the public service (I am lead to believe). When will any Japanese government grant same sex couples similar rights?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Swedish translator of Japanese manga appeals child porn fine See in context

This is the same in many states in Australia too, if not all states. The legal wording in each state is somewhat different but in essence, I totally agree with Cletus: "one countries cuteness is another countries kiddie porn". I would certainly not support kiddie porn. However, any serious academic research done on manga in Australia is extremely limited. I never bring BL or yaoi back to Australia, for example. I am extremely careful advising students what they can and cannot research. I would disagree with Cletus though concerning the view that the manga in question are 'pornography' given the slipperiness of what that means. Since censorship is in place, then any exploration of how Japan manga artists depict sexuality is therefore stymied. On this topic, I would like to draw attention to the example of the card game Tentacle Bento (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1189988320/tentacle-bento-by-soda-pop-miniatures) developed in Seattle USA. Some observers construe that this game is merely representing rape.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Posted in: Japanese cities most costly for Asia expats: survey See in context

While the survey may not have included Australia (it seems to be left off so many surveys!), my guess would be that Sydney would be up there too for expensive living.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: 1,001-song Hibari Misora box set to go on sale from Aug See in context

Judy Garland?! I have seen her described as Japan's Shirley Temple, especially when she was a child talent. I suspect that like many Japanese pop stars she was a manufactured artist one that represented Shôwa Japan. In this respect she reminds me of Carmen Miranda as a stereotyped puppet of the Americans...a case of Latin-ism eprhaps? I was speaking with a Japanese colleague and she suggested that when she was growing up in the 1970s in Japan she was expected to be a Hibari fan since everyone else was...but she was being influenced by American soft power amongst others musical influences...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: 1,001-song Hibari Misora box set to go on sale from Aug See in context

@ asianTourist...yes that's one big set...amazing that there are so many songs yet to my knowledge no definitive biography in English of this mega-star...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Why do tourists continue to stay away from Japan, despite the fact that there are many places of interest far away from the crisis-affected areas? What should Japanese tourism officials do to promote See in context

Gosh with the planet experiencing wars, natural disasters, exchange rates issues, rising airline fuel charges, terrorist threats, political unrest, famine, terrible public transport and people with a lack of language proficiency, I'm surprised that there's any tourism anywhere. Perhaps Antarctica? It's melting but hey there's almost none of the problems listed above and no shopping so cheeeap! Bring on Moon flights...gosh I hope there'll be an Akihabara on the Moon.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Why do tourists continue to stay away from Japan, despite the fact that there are many places of interest far away from the crisis-affected areas? What should Japanese tourism officials do to promote See in context

I travelling to Japan in July and going to Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, around Shikoku, back to Kyoto then to Tokyo. I have travelled so many times to Japan this will be hmmm I forget over 10 times! But whoever does the nation branding, he or she may have a tough time bringing back the tourists. 'Yookoso Japan' was a pretty effective tourist campaign so may be it's time to revisit another campaign? But that's in the hands of Japanese not the likes of myself. Word of mouth may also help.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Tokyo elects first openly gay politician in the history of modern Japan See in context

I had a chat with my Japanese partner about the discussion here, in particular the use of 'homophobia'. We tried to work out the difference between intolerance, discrimination and homophobia. When I told him about my exchange with kittyjump, he sided with kittyjump because he reckoned the word 'homophobia' is being used as a general word inferring something quite different. Last night just by chance there was a discussion program on TV about being gay in school and we listened carefully to the ways that 'homophobia' was being used - a sort of in-context listening activity - and it seemed to be used to mean intolerant and discriminatory practices. The point of this? Rather than homophobia (I concede to kittyjump on this then), my hope (even as a complete outsider but not as an outspoken Westerner trying to promote and impose some neo-colonial agenda) is that Mr. Ishikawa helps to combat intolerance and discrimination that exists in Japan, in particular pertaining to gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual identifying people.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Tokyo elects first openly gay politician in the history of modern Japan See in context

Dear kittyjump...thanks for responding...i agree with much you have written but i also stick to my original post. Yes things are different in Japan and it might be unfair to compare it with Australia but to suggest there's no homophobia in Japan is naive. Despite the advances (if that's the correct word) in Australia, there's still homophobia: individual, social and institutional. I understand that there's is the notion of 'homo-gari' where (like in Sydney) groups of typically young men hunt gay men and bash them up. That's homophobia in its most violent form. While the word 'homophobia' seems to be culturally and linguistically problematic, negative actions towards gay men and lesbians can still be motivated through irrational fear and hatred despite the cultural milieu one lives in.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Tokyo elects first openly gay politician in the history of modern Japan See in context

There is so not homophobia in Japan.

Hmmm...I wonder if that's the actuality. I can hardly imagine performing a self-introduction at the office welcome party and announce my homosexuality like I could mention that I'm married to a woman. Japanese language textbooks when introducing family matters never mention gays or lesbians or transgendered persons. How does one cope in Japan when talking about family and say casually, 'I have two fathers'? My Japanese partner got his PR here in Australia based on our de facto gay relationship that we had to document (like a straight de facto couple too). I cannot get PR in Japan based on my de facto relationship (of over 5 years). This is a kind of homophobia. When I visited my partner's family in the country we had to remove our rings due to the so-called 'seken-tai' what would people think thing that's common in Japan. Again homophobia. Depictions of gay men on Japanese TV as effeminate over the top girlie types seems acceptable but if that stereotype is not broadcast, which means gay men can be the regular type of man you sit next on the train, this is also homophobia. Much homophobia is subtle and is rife in Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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