School centric anime and their importance in current day Japan


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As Goodman (2011) points out, the Japanese education system provided a clear connection for both male and female workers between success in education and the quality of the jobs they could secure (Goodman, 2011; 52). Generally speaking Japanese school children are made aware from an early age of the direct correlation between the size of a potential employer and the job security, salary, and status that employer would be able to offer. From the early Post-War period onwards, top employers would choose their new workers from top universities, which in turn chose their intake based on high school hierarchies, that in turn took students based on scores of the high school entrance exam that everyone sits when they are 15. The entire education system of Japan is based on a meritocratic structure that engenders high competition amongst students, and produces what Ronald Dore (1976) describes as a ‘very expensive intelligence testing system with some educational spin-off, rather than the other way around’ (Dore, 1976; 48-49). Read more of this post

Loli and Lolita in anime (non-Hentai – Misused, Misunderstood, Misrepresented


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Please bare in mind that this post is far from definitive and I have barely even begun to explore the varied and complex issues surrounding Lolita in Japanese society, especially with regards to anime and more broadly speaking ‘otaku culture’. 

The Lolita or ‘Loli’ character has become ubiquitous in anime over the years, with numerous series employing younger characters or those dressed in Lolita fashion to varying affects. In a more general sense, Lolitas of ‘Lolis’ are young women and men who dress as anachronistic visual representations of Victorian-era dolls, covered from head to toe in lace, ruffles, and bows. This term in the west is most often associated with the title character of Vladimir Nabokov’s 1955 novel, depicting an adolescent girl who has a sexual relationship with her middle-aged stepfather; in Japan however ‘Lolita Complex (lolicon)’ also refers more generally to older men who are attracted to young girls. Part of the problem with these terms however is the way they are used an interpreted in conjunction with anime and the numerous ways with which the Lolita is represented in the anime medium. One of the interesting elements of Lolita in Japan is that they are usually young women (not girls), who dress in cure, childlike, and modest fashions without the overly sexualised appearance typically associated with Nabokov’s Lolita. This representation of the Lolita is further complicated by the broad nature of anime fandom’s description and understanding of the Lolita complex, with numerous fans referring to any young character as a ‘Loli’, whether they are dressed in Victorian-era clothes or not. This particular description makes the whole notion of the Loli far more complicated, as there is an implicit understanding amongst western fandom that Loli is linked with Nabokov’s character. Read more of this post

The portrayal of marginal groups and foreigners in anime


 

Marginal groups are quite problematic for Japan, and while they are used in anime and manga, we don’t see them used particularly often. What is so fascinating about the use of marginal or minority groups in anime is that their portrayal and the subsequent reactions of many other characters in the series bears a striking resemblance to the attitudes towards such groups in real life. Marginal groups such as the Zainichi Koreans and Ainu are central to the creation and maintenance of a Japanese national discourse about a shared identity and culture. As Wirth (1945) suggests, marginal groups, because of their physical or cultural characteristics, are singled out from the rest of society for differential and unequal treatment, and therefore begin to view themselves as objects of collective discrimination (Wirth, 1945:347). Read more of this post

Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai: How to make crazy friends


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