July 18, 2007

In class, we talked about superflat theory and the superflat artist, Takashi Murakami.

Turns out he did the cover art for Kanye West’s new single, “Stronger”!

Check out the news link:

from pitchforkmedia.com

How cool is that cover?!


integrating the differentiation

June 5, 2007

Emi’s second talk here entitled “Intersex at the Intersection of Queer theory and Disability theory” introduced me to a number of new ideas, as I previously was pretty unaware of much about queer theory, disability theory or intersex. One of the things that really surprised me was her talk of the different biases that the medical profession has in treating certain “abnormalities”–to the point of arbitrarily setting down rules to perpetuate other arbitrary societal norms.

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June 5, 2007

All of these posts about Nori and RubberTIT/tari&MASA make me wish that it were still the beginning of this quarter! It was awesome getting to know Nori a lot better when we were showing him around campus. I can’t believe he’s gone through so much at such a young age… To think that there is only a few years between us is crazy!

MASA’s saxophone performance during one of our class dinners was a definite highlight. I was so blown away by her playing! And then a week or so ago I went to the university’s Jazz X-Tet performance and watched them perform. They had a female trumpet player and she was great.

Overall, the Celebrating Protest Series brought in amazing speakers… And it was awesome to meet people who have done so much and are so passionate about what they have fought for and do for a living.

I really enjoyed Kiku’s presentation on techno and post-techno in class. That was truly a treat… I remember my jaw dropping the entire time because it was all so new to me.

Emi’s visit was great, too. We all remember the snail mating story, don’t we? Haha.

And, of course, Beryl & Addie. American otaku unite! That was a very fun class period as well.

MAPS scholarship

June 2, 2007

Midwest Animation Promotion Society has $500 scholarship for full-time college students majoring in Japanese language and literature!


Emi Koyama’s Visit: Class visit, and Her Lectures on International Adoption and Intersex

June 1, 2007

We were lucky enough to have Emi Koyama visit our class, and give two really interesting talks for the Celebrating Protest Lecture Series. I first met her when she visited our class and gave a introduction to intersex, and it’s common misperceptions. Emi is a really great speaker, she got our entire class hooked as soon as she shared with us her infamous snail story. Snails apparently dance around each other for hours, circling each other before they mate. Eventually when they decide they like each other, they swap by the neck and both parties are impregnated. These snails are what hermaphrodites are, never humans. She spoke of the mistaken identity of intersex people, mainly intersex children. I had not much previous knowledge about intersex and found her class visit very informational. She shared with us major shojo mangas and boy mangas that now feature intersex. They seemed interesting and hope to read them some day.

Her activist writing on children of intersex was really interesting. Until I read her articles, I had never thought about the negative impact the medical community could potentially have on intersex children. Because I studied biology at this school, and work at the University hospital, I only have views of the medical community as doing anything they can to help people. It was unusual for me to hear her speak on the negative impact medicine could potentially have on these children. The reason she sees this is because these children, due to their unusual physical appearance, are often times examined by an entire medical team. It is sometimes referred to as a “public stripping” where the children must undress in front of a team. Sometimes pictures are taken of their naked bodies. I am a bit torn on this issue, as it makes sense that the medical team’s purpose is to pursue further medical knowledge of intersex so that more can be done to help intersex children. However at the same time, the way things are done currently seem to be a bit extreme and very careless of the children’s emotions. Hopefully improvements can be made for the future.
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Prototype World Citizen

May 31, 2007

Given the increasingly global presence of anime/manga, especially in America, I had to ask week 10’s guest Beryl Turner—the head of ACEN, anime/manga aficionado and historian extraordinaire—whether he sees anime and manga in America losing its Japanese connection and become totally subsumed into mainstream American pop culture. His answer? Absolutely. According to Beryl Turner anime and manga will be a prototype for what globalization is touted to do in the best sense—create a sort of world citizenry. He believes that manga and anime as an art form will eventually lose its nationality, and I am inclined to agree. The one issue, however, is the nature of anime/manga fans in America in the past and at present. Even Beryl acknowledged, giving this breakdown of the road map to mainstream status—innovation/discovery, dissemination through the underground as a fringe movement, (re)discovery and tentative investment from Big Business and the explosion—that anime and manga has its roots in the underground. Furthermore, considering that anime/manga fans while extremely inclusive of fans of other genres such as science fiction, still refer to the collective other as “mundanes.” It is hard to see this group of people forgetting the history behind their beloved art form.

I suppose then, that the key to transforming anime/manga into a global commodity sans national boundaries, lies in the unwitting masses who never touch the underground and never make it to a convention like ACEN, those who flip to Cartoon Network and get their first glimpse of Bleach, then head to a bookstore like Barnes and Nobles or Borders and pick up a copy of the manga along with a title by an American author and never bother to dig further. Is this positive? Negative? I can’t say. I am all for the more prevalent exposure of anime and manga in the West and around the world, but then I am also one of those people who likes to stick to the facts, and for me one of the facts here is that manga is Japanese. Still, I would hate to see an authenticity debate rear its head in this quarter. Maybe I should say manga was Japanese, but today and in the future it can and will go in whatever direction its progressively more global fans pull.

Photos with Beryl and Addie

May 31, 2007