Venus was an Asian woman?
At the end of the 20th century, Japan exported to the Western world a design language that seemed naïve and a long way from the graphic nature of Ukiyo-e tradition. Cute icons such as Pokemon and Hello Kitty have been openly adopted by Western youth that grew up with manga and Nintendo. They even started to create their own. A slant-eyed, large-headed girl mascot was even adopted by London’s Selfridges department store for its ‘Tokyo Life’ theme. Young designers started to incorporate their own characters into their design work and cute mascots have become a fashion trend in the West. The newness have been embraced by consumers worldwide, before it’s bound to be replaced by the next thing. In East Asia, however, cute will continue to flourish because it is a part of the culture developed through history, rather than mere consumption craze. The popular taste for doll-like cuteness is rooted in traditional aesthetics and continues to play an important role in their everyday lives.
For one, manga targets everyone – men, women and children – with a wide range of topics from comedy and romance to philosophy and history. The “doll complex” goes much deeper than youth culture and offers clear identification. The safe and tender appearance suggests the wish to be protected. And you are being protected by not showing an opinion, which is an indication that you know “respect”. You don’t openly express what you really think and want is because you put others’ opinion and need before your own. And this “respect” keeps you safe and tender and certainly for a Westerner, it gives a child-like impression. Here is the difference. If you are called “cute”, say in Tokyo, this should be understood the same as being called “cool” in California.
For the Chinese, the young fans upload and remix Japanese anime videos in a genre called AMV (Animation Music Videos). They sample and edit together their favourite Japanese animation scenes and add soundtracks of their choice. The Chinese youth tries to develop their sexuality within the boundaries of commodity culture, where people’s sexual fantasies are affected by the passionate censorship politics of PRC. Young people identify with a Japanese-style openness and branding as an escape from the stigmas within Chinese sex culture prescribed by a mix of state control and Confucian ethics.
Then there is also Japanese pornography, which is successfully exported to the West and might have added to the White male imagination. For example, mainstream Japanese porn cinema spends considerable time on kissing and fondling the woman’s body. It seems to “like” women more than they are merely “exploited” in the Western product.
Next time I want to about the female-driven porn called ‘Boys Love’, BL, which shows gay love and adventure stories. The subgenre is currently very popular on video sharing sites such as Youtube.com.
I end with Motörhead Lemmy’s word: “You can’t be just one color. If this bloody thing ever going to work out properly, we all have to intermarry and screw each other blind and get to be coffee-ish.”
When you face racism next time, you can think these words.
Another town, another place, another race. Hasta la vista.
A dark romantic story about a writer and a photographer who collide in a battle of wills on an alien planet. Inspired by Oscar Wilde’s philosophical work.
Book launch September 2017