That which survives

“Major Strasser has been shot. Round up the usual suspects”
– Captain Renault (Claude Rains), Casablanca

The ch 82 preview up at Ogiue Maniax has the fujoshi tribe discussing raunchy stuff, including the provenance of a random plastic thingy which is immediately assumed by one of the crew to be Hato’s lost buttplug. A further discussion of authorial voice and appropriation will have to wait until (All Hail ***** , bringer of light!) brings forth his translation.

Yipes! I have been doing this, waiting for the next chapter and fanning on this brog for over a year! Somehow Genshiken and the community around it has held my interest; and while I have yet to get up a enough courage to put a blogroll up and try to further push my idwitz notions on the word wide interwebs, at least I have stopped lurk-posting long strange tangents on other folks’ sites – so that’s an improvement. And the occasional words of encouragement from senior bloggers has helped too.

“A very small degree of hope is sufficient to cause the birth of love.”

One day, this mess will be nothing more than stored pages at archive.org that some grad student will dredge through, as I have dug through the scraps of long-deleted fan forums and blogs in search of fodder and insight. In the meantime it is a heap of fun!

So, one more time: this blog is about the way desire, especially libidinized desire (hawt secks, to gender roles and personal identity issues) is reflected in a distorted form in Genshiken and other artifacts in modern Japanese visual culture. Because Genshiken is a meta-manga, it functions as a great pied-a-terrre for excursions into the wilds of otaku and fujoshi territory. And it is always a safe place to return to.

As the Genshiken fujoshi crew will soon demonstrate in ch82, this kind of speculation and chatter is as old as humanity, and now that we can more easily feed ourselves, pretty much all that’s left to jaw about around the cook fire. Strange how we need to go looking at manga and anime to be able to talk about this stuff. I guess without the structure and distance provided by a narrative form, everything turns into /b on 4chan – or worse.

I too like a good story.

And I think that the stories told in a society say something about that society.

And I am curious to hear about others’ motivations for their stories…

I think I have found a few more entries for my “fujoshi files”. Unlike Ogiue Maniax’s catalog of fujoshi characters, I have been collecting real-world fujoshi correspondents, impressions and testimonials, and the often painfully labored theory that gets cranked out when academia notices the fuss – compelled to work off the still shocking realisation that a small but significant minority of women in Japan and the industrialized west have come up with a deadly funny response to the age-old problem of the objectifying “male gaze”. I salute the elegance of their solution (Duh! the women are using us as sex objects, sounds like… OH SHIT!!!), even as I still recoil in mild horror and recurring disbelief.

Added to the mess is the way yaoi/bl for Japanese women is a whole different thing than for western enthusiasts. The only studies I have found point out that the audience for the stuff is over %90 female in Japan, where it grew organically out of female fan interaction, parody and production. The diaspora “western audience is %50 female, %50 male and your guess is as good as mine on the “orientation” of the respective readerships.

Am I link-stalking web fujoshis?

chasing shadows

Time for another Survey and Research Methods link dump!
(long post warning!)

Here we go…

By 1995- 2002, there already was Western interest in the genre, posted and thrashed about on usenet groups, forums and fan sites, all before web 2.0 blogging made this stuff easy and careless. Already there was a heady mix of “enthusiasts”, amateurs and gender theory/ gay/ queer theory academic types circling the whole unruly mess. What is surprising, is how some of his early “fieldwork” went on to become “lore” within the western/ english-speaking community, and how small the group the “experts” were.

Take for example this popular typology of the yaoi sex scene, which used to be at ggymeta.wordpress.com/that-japanese-bl-sex-scene-page/ and is saved on archive.org at:

http://web.archive.org/web/20081222062411/http://ggymeta.wordpress.com/that-japanese-bl-sex-scene-page/

Turns out that it was a retread of an earlier comedy work by one of the regular writers at the legendary western rotten-girl festering pit of depravity site Aestheticism. Now preserved at:

http://web.archive.org/web/20080907090527/http://www.aestheticism.com/visitors/editor/jeanne/yaoifieldguide/yaoifieldguide.htm

The correspondent Jeanne Johnson who later self-identified in her posts as a lesbian, also posted the following brilliant defence of yaoi. Further posts construct her as a Japanese reading, dojin-binging early adopter of the genre; another o-kifujin.

Her defense of the genre, as amateur produced artifact…

http://web.archive.org/web/20080820030543/http://www.aestheticism.com/visitors/editor/jeanne/10_things/index.htm

…should be a classic in western fan field studies. An excerpt:

“Yaoi isn’t like other fictional writing. It’s a private vision written for personal satisfaction, and to apply the standards by which we judge ordinary literature to yaoi is to willfully ignore this private element. You can say ‘Male pregnancy stories don’t do it for me’ if you like, but to say ‘Male pregnancy stories are stupid and childish and people should stop writing them’ is not only arrogant, it’s dangerous. All fantasies are legitimate or none are, and to discredit the male pregnancy fantasy is automatically to discredit your own fantasy of mutual empowerment and non-penetrative sex. As for trashing a fanwriter’s style, it’s like shooting the piano player. Chances are she’s doing the best she can. The only way you get to play the piano better is by playing the piano more. And quite possibly she writes that way because she likes writing that way, typos and all, and belongs to that huge group of people (of whom Word’s Spell-check is one) who really believe that its should be written it’s on all occasions.”

All of her Aestheticism site stuff:

http://web.archive.org/web/20080723192026/http://www.aestheticism.com/visitors/editor/jeanne/index.htm

She gets interviewed in sequentialtart in 2002 :
http://www.sequentialtart.com/archive/may02/johnson.shtml

Hobby horses aside, she is a damn fine writer, with a “voice” that will reappear many times among other passionate online defenders of outre genres. First popping up in a web reference in 1997 (as a “lemon” fanfic writer) she seems to vanish without a trace after 2002-3. She was a self-professed early scanlator of jp yaoi – perhaps things got hot and she had to ditch her non-de-plume

Here is something else of hers; an interesting take on the appropriation of christian themes and images in Jp pop culture:

http://web.archive.org/web/20080517082242/http://www.aestheticism.com/visitors/editor/jeanne/DesignerChristianity.htm

A take away quote from her writings on slash/ y/bl:

“Yaoi exists, in Tom Stoppard’s phrase, to do onstage the things that most people do off.”

[more.......]

“Pull out all the costumes from the yaoi dress-up chest and try them on for size. How does Servis look in the tears of a Helpless Uke? ‘Boku wa, nii-san no mono da.’ (I belong to my Big Brother.) Nahh, I like him better in the coolness of a Sardonic Seme. ‘Fuku wo nuide, Shin-chan. Zenbu.’ (Take your clothes off, Shin-chan– all of them.) No, no, put him in the ijiwaru (malicious) smiles of a Snotty Uke. ‘Takamatsu-yon-man en, kaese! Shinai to, yarasete kurenai zo.’ (Takamatsu, pay me back my 40,00 yen or I won’t let you screw me.) No, NO, he’s gotta be Pure Love: ‘Jan! Aishteru zo, Jan!’ (Jan I love you Jan!) Such richness! This is why I prefer a regular series with a yaoi fandom to an actual yaoi series. Djs [dojinshis] give you a million Servises and all of them are the manga Servis and none of them are. June, where Izumi is Izumi is Izumi and can never be anyone but Izumi, seems immensely flat by comparison. Sex isn’t just a variation on a theme there, it’s the theme itself, and most of the action as well.”

Here she is again in a sequentialtart article that mentions the history of the Aestheticism site:

“It’s hard to tell in a mass movement like this just where it all began over here. I believe yaoi came to the west largely thanks to the efforts of Chinese and Korean-American fans, who had come across it translated into their mother tongues and wanted to make it available in English. The Taiwanese translations of Japanese manga (pirated, of course) often included twenty-odd pages of (equally pirated) Japanese doujinshi at the end for fun. That’s where Susan Chen, who founded Aestheticism, first ran across the amateur genre. She began the paper zine of Aestheticism in 1996 that went into a web version the next year. Not much later Monica Shin began a Bronze web page where Ozaki’s decadent and high-temperature illustrations made people sit up and say ‘What’s *this?!!’ Many early fans got their introduction to the genre through Bronze, which for them was the series that defined what yaoi is. (Unrealistic, overdone, melodramatic, featuring semi-insane characters – like that. ^_^).”  A Brief History of Yaoi – by M. J. Johnson

Harumi at desk web
Odd points of terminology for those who care to dig through the preserved Aestheticism site: They used the word “fen” as plural of fan, whereas earlier use in the western sci-fi community reserved it for female fan(s), when activities suggested a female gendered interest. I guess it makes sense if “your” many fans are almost all female.

Other category terminology is anachronistic; such as the term “june” used for BL (and or original character fanfiction with a bl theme)

see fer example:
http://web.archive.org/web/20090504174649/http://www.aestheticism.com/visitors/reference/jpnse_def/index.htm

and

http://web.archive.org/web/20081223145103/http://www.aestheticism.com/visitors/reference/aestheticism.htm

More archeology:

the ggymeta site, now in Archive.org land advanced the curious, defiant claim that yuri does not exist in Japan, only “Hentai”.

http://web.archive.org/web/20090305140207/http://ggymeta.wordpress.com/the-time-i-wrote-about-yuri/

A noted gender theory writer in the field subscribes to a modified view of this, with an interesting twist:

“There is a subgenre of manga and anime called yuri, which depicts female-female romance. Female homosexual desire was part of the early male-male romance fandom, and James Welker (2011) suggests that perhaps male forms were preferred among such women to avoid lesbian identification. Mizoguchi Akiko (2007) has also worked on lesbianism among yaoi fans and has stated that she “became” a lesbian because of exposure in adolescence (Mizoguchi 2008, vi). Yuri still exists, but as a genre it is mostly enjoyed by adult men. ” (Galbraith Signs Vol. 37, No. 1 (Autumn 2011) (pp. 219-240 see footnotes)

What (!) Mr Galbraith? Yaoi (and/ or yuri) made Mizoguchi-sensei a lesbian???

An article from Aestheticism on the stylistic similarities between cheesy yuri (which they call..) and yaoi

http://web.archive.org/web/20061220065410/http://www.aestheticism.com/visitors/editor/guests/yaoiInHentai/index.htm

“Women in hentai cry like ukes, you see. They cry when circumstances seem to be demanding that they have fun. They blush too, and stutter denials, and are rubber- doll helpless in the face of whatever’s being done to them: as often as not non- consensual and involving machines like the one in Barbarella, not to mention tentacles. They self-lubricate, but they have a good excuse for that, so the physiological weirdness is taken up by their breasts, which are really more sensitive than water balloons have a right to be. (If jello has a jiggle factor of five, hentai boobs have a jiggle factor of ten — and the boys don’t mind if you quote them on that.) At a touch they send up a stream of dove-like moans — oh, those lovely tense Japanese vowels! Oh, those glottal stops! — that make me think of the proverbial housewife who tends the phone sex hotlines while ironing or cutting coupons. Quick seiyuu cash. And when it’s all over, they ask for more in the gag panel at the bottom.”

Ok, so cheap pr0n is the same everywhere… Your point?

Stuff like this strangely mirrors my pet idiot assertion that “there are [almost] no lesbians in Japan” But I am doing mine with one finger pulling my lower eyelid down. Ain’t blogging wonderful? We can redefine terms to suit our purposes and hobby horses.

OK, I’ll stop it..

There are real-live lesbians in Japan! (as opposed to “just” a whole pile of women who love other women and wish everyone else would mind their own effing business). I recant! I drown my books and break my pencil! Ouch!
For a quick survey on “out lesbianism” in contemporary Japan, see:

TELLING HER STORY: NARRATING A JAPANESE LESBIAN COMMUNITY – by James Welker
http://www.dijtokyo.org/doc/dij-jb16-welker.pdf

Gasp! Our eyes met!

Gasp! Our eyes met!

For Notes on yuri, in Japan, for Japanese women, see:

The Sexual and Textual Politics of Japanese Lesbian Comics – Reading Romantic and Erotic Yuri Narratives – by Kazumi Nagaike

http://www.japanesestudies.org.uk/articles/2010/Nagaike.html

“”In this paper, I will examine the socio-cultural context of the widely popular yuri manga magazine, Yurihime, through an analysis of the historiography of Japanese lesbianism, especially in relation to the concept of girls’ romantic friendship which originated during the early 20th century period of Japanese modernization. To elaborate further on this issue, Adrienne Rich’s attempt to define lesbianism as a female-oriented community (a lesbian continuum) should also be discussed. Such issues as the sexuality of the yuri manga readership, the genre’s narrative patterns, and the characteristics of its characters also require critical and theoretical elaboration. As Ross L. Beck remarked, ‘sexually explicit images produced by and for lesbians challenge the barrier of sexual fear, inhibition, ignorance, and shame by unapologetically foregrounding lesbian desire'(2000: 300). Thus, it becomes all the more important to critically consider questions concerning the discursive nature of lesbian eroticism and desire in relation to yuri manga and its characters.””

The author Kazumi Nagaike also wrote the elusive ‘Perverse Sexuality, Perversive Desires: Representations of Female Fantasies and Yaoi Manga as Pornography Directed at Women’ (U.S.-Japan Women’s Journal 25, 2003, which also has an elusive early Mizoguchi text – JSTORE wants $15 for the article, the journal wants even more and I’m too cheap to buy it!) and the available, and previously refered to in this blog ‘Elegant Caucasians, Amorous Arabs, and Invisible Others: Signs and Images of Foreigners in Japanese BL Manga’ (Intersections: Gender and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific 20, 2009).

Have I mentioned my overpowering hatred of pay-walled journal articles lately?
see here, here and here.

Publishing your article to a paywalled journal is actually a really bad move! Those writers who publish in “open” web journals are easier to search, get quoted and linked more often, and become the de-facto “experts” in the subject.
More here.

Back to blog archaeology;

Eventually, ggymeta’s matron grew tired of the whole mess and shut it down..

“So I thought I’d write fiction – I considered gay erotic, and even m/m [gay romance that's indebted to slash/yaoi fandom and dominated by female writers] but the gay male audience got pissed off at certain female writers for appropriating their lifestyle in an unrealistic and exploitative manner, and declared critical open season on ALL m/m writers that were women. This caused a massive critical-sink hole of suck, that’s still sucking. The micro-genre is now a teapot of grudgery and attention-whoring. *sigh* That’s when I decided to still write fiction…but not m/m, gay, yaoi, or BL. I’m still on the net, my books are still out there for sale, but I’ve left the gay erotic and yaoi fandom.”

Culture wars… yup.

Another older introductory work on Fujoshi: the 2008 vintage bibliography on jp wimmens misbehaviour/y/bl at:

http://berribunzstudio.wordpress.com/2008/01/15/meandering-thoughts-the-fujoshi/

Survives, but on a dormant blog. The writer also moved on.

What else?

Galbraith 2009 paper on moe, (Galbraith again!)
http://www.japanesestudies.org.uk/articles/2009/Galbraith.html

Another argument for Comiket being fen driven, in a summary of a Jp book/history:
http://web.archive.org/web/20061220065114/http://www.aestheticism.com/visitors/editor/guests/aniparo_to_yaoi/index.htm

And now for something completely different:

Madarame needs a girlfriend really fast, lest he go berserk:

A long work on the Akiba rampage, and Otaku rage by Slater and (the ubiquitous) Galbraith:

http://www.japanesestudies.org.uk/articles/2011/SlaterGalbraith.html

“But while this might offer some alternatives to the hegemonic masculinity of Japan, Inc., neither Kato nor most otaku are “train men,” at least not as depicted in the romantic narrative. In 2005, Honda Toru published Dempa otoko, or “The Radiowave Man”, a manifesto condemning Densha otoko for depicting otaku as immature individuals who must “grow up” and accept social roles and responsibilities. Honda criticized the story for failing to understand the true nature of otaku, showing little more than how to participate in commercialized “love capitalism” (ren’ai shihon-shugi) by dressing nicely, buying gifts and going on dates to trendy spots; that is, how to engage in proper acts of consumption. What the franchise misses, according to Honda, is that otaku do not need to be redeemed or rehabilitated by romance with the opposite sex — or even with living creatures. Honda advocates finding love with two-dimensional characters, which offers a chance to achieve, or resuscitate, a “pre-social” masculinity.27 This love does not end in childbirth, marriage, sex or even courtship; its distinctiveness in part lies in its unconsummated fantasy potential. In this way it offers a way out of the “real,” or the “body politic centered by the reproductions of family” (Allison 2000, p. 173). Thus, for Honda, Densha otoko not only misses, but also jeopardizes one of the few truly counter-hegemonic masculinities available to young men in Japan today. “

[Honda quoted]

“Actually, when I look at the broadcasted personal history of Kato…it’s basically the same as me up until I was about 25. When I published The Radiowave Man, people came to me and said, “I’m a similar kind of person, but I can’t feel attraction for two-dimensional characters the way you do. What should I do?” I was really at a loss. … But, you know, I wish I had said, “Just take it easy for now!” … I think he [Kato] was extremely prideful, so he couldn’t put up with it [everyday life]. Probably since he was a kid. That’s also probably why he couldn’t just take it easy. … Certainly when you turn 25, stuff like occupation and income, that’s where the initial screening of people takes place. In The Radiowave Man, the idea was, “Love is an illusion anyway, so even if you aren’t popular with women you can be fulfilled in your own mind.” But if you don’t have the stability of basic economic security, you can’t even go otaku (Honda and Yanashita 2008, pp. 69, 72-73).” -Ibid

Please note that Satoshi Kon’s PARANOIA AGENTS (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paranoia_Agent) came out in 2004, one year earlier – Who can forget the young unemployed ex-policeman’s fall into madness as he becomes “radio wave man”? Hmmmm time to re-blog on PA as a play on male archetypes; all dancing the tune played by an introverted young woman chara designer.

…anonymous violent youth, manipulating sleezebag, pervert dad, grizzled oyajin cop, young otaku cop, suck-up-kick-down salaryman manager, tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor, rich man, poor man, beggerman, thief, doctor, lawyer, merchant, chief…

You should all have a relax…

Here is something by the elusive Rio Otomo (A room of her own riff) reviewing a contemporary Japanese woman writer’s novel. Not exactly fujoshi material, but a great backgrounder:

http://coombs.anu.edu.au/SpecialProj/ASAA/biennial-conference/2006/Otomo-Rio-ASAA2006.pdf

“The images of girls as ‘cute’ idols are fetishised to the extent that identifying the age group that fits the category is no longer effective in grasping their gravity. The otaku readers, the consumers of such images, are also spread from the first generation (born between late 1960s and 1970s) to the second generation (born after the 1980s). The term otaku was originally used among the middleclass housewives who identified themselves with their households. When nuclear families started to buy their ready-made house on the sub-divided block of land in the suburbs – bunj􀀀 j􀀀t aku – in the late 1960s, the women who lived there started to call each other otaku, addressing themselves ‘she who is her house’. Kotani Mari argues that the sons of these women grew up in a close relationship with their mothers who identified themselves with their house.’ The otaku boys, who excel in their ability to fall in love with imaginary objects, are therefore emulating their day-dreaming mothers who did not have a fulfilling reality of their own. What happens to the daughters of these housebound women in the suburbs? Have they turned into the yaoi girls who are the consumers of the cute boy images and their erotic stories? The participants of the otaku debate unanimously agree that in this context gender difference is asymmetrical. The girls who do not want to repeat the Mothers’ life have two choices; to embody their time-frozen images as a little girl in order to get men’s attention, or to live in the liminal space between such images and their own bodily actuality.”

This also inadvertently provides one more answer to a recent polling about Oshii’s Sky Crawlers…(1)

Another interesting thing in Otomo’s writing is the stress she puts on the advent of the word-processor for women’s writing (others will  mention its importance for dojin creation). Early fanworks had to have their dialogue handwritten in, which could really limit production.

Her web site: http://rio-otomo.net/

How bad was it for women in Japan way back when?

Resistance to Difference: Sexual Equality and its Law-ful and Out-law (Anarchist) Advocates in Imperial Japan – Hélène Bowen Raddeker
http://web.archive.org/web/20040803223711/http://wwwsshe.murdoch.edu.au/intersections/issue7/raddeker.html

“Not unusually, tradition in Japan held that femaleness and an individual identity and destiny were oxymoronic. Thus, when the Tokugawa (1603-1867) authorities chose to execute a woman, she would be given a man’s name. This was not unlike the view of progressive medieval Buddhists that enlightenment was not, after all, out of the reach of women. In male bodies, transformed at the point of death through the grace of Amida Buddha, they might gain immediate entry to the Pure Land. Either style of ‘annihilation’ meant dying a ‘man’. However, after the Meiji imperial restoration of 1868, Western-style modernity brought with it a new view of women as modern citizens. The Meiji Constitution, Civil Code and political assembly laws fell far short of according them equality in terms of their rights or duties to the nation, yet the new criminal code promulgated in 1880 spelt a certain equality for women in granting them equal access to criminality.”

YIKES! Note that the pogrom of lefties, troublemakers and Koreans right after the 1923 earthquake was a major event in Japanese history that still resonates today. Some folks will still spit at the Daily Yomiuri newspaper and those who used to control it because of their alleged roles in this pogrom. The term “class A war criminal” also pops up now and again. Echoes and fears of a repeat (that thankfully never materialized) resurfaced briefly after the 3/11 earthquake.

Here is some typical academic gender-theory churn, derivative because it uses ONE western sci-fi slash book as its example:

(Un)gendering the homoerotic body: Imagining subjects in boys’ love and yaoi by Mark McHarry
http://journal.transformativeworks.org/index.php/twc/article/view/257/250

A few useful footnotes..

“2. Over the 30 years up to 2008, women have represented 71 percent of those selling dojinshi at the Comic Market (men, 29 percent) and 57 percent of attendees (men, 43 percent) (Comic Market 2008, 21). However, preliminary data from a survey carried out in August 2010 at Comic Market 78 by the Contents Research Team of Tokyo University and Tokyo Institute of Technology show that 60 percent of respondents reported themselves as male, 33 percent as female, with 7 percent not answering the question (Nakamura 2011).”

He does much better in another piece; a much linked early pop survey of yaoi, slash, fujoshis, etc. for the Boston-based gay magazine The Guide, (November, 2003) with an extremely enthusiastic review of the genre, a surprising number of links and references and a quick historical survey of Japanese m-m literature and tradition (which make all of Japan sound very very gay for the last 1000 years – he ain’t writing for the Christian Science Monitor)

http://www.guidemag.com/temp/yaoi/a/mcharry_yaoi.html
now archived at:
http://web.archive.org/web/20040815054437/http://www.guidemag.com/temp/yaoi/a/mcharry_yaoi.html

Here is the fore-runner of Hato, hanging out with the rotten girls:

“A discourse has arisen as male readers react to female representations of male-male eroticism. McLelland (2000a:249-250) discusses letters boys write to BeBoy. He reports on their ambivalence:

One high-school boy says that “It’s not that I’m gay”…. He goes on to say that he and a group of two or three girls buy these magazines and share them. The girls ask him “Ma-kun [his name], how about turning gay (homo ni nachaeba?)”, to which he replies “they say such irresponsible things but, basically, if it’s beautiful than either is OK,” a statement which is followed by the character warai, signifying laughter (presumably the speaker is suggesting an ironic stance to his last statement).

Males who read such fiction, he observes, do so in a context which brings them into proximity with women (as in the reading circle described above). These men are exposed to very different constructions of masculinity than those they would find in a reading circle comprised of other men. Moreover, the images of masculinity present in shōnen’ai fiction are obviously attractive to many women, so a man who is sexually attracted to women, may, either consciously or unconsciously, seek to cultivate them.

Some males have not been ambivalent. A debate broke out in the Japanese feminist magazine Choisir after a gay-identified man, Masaki Sato, complained that yaoi’s characters had nothing to do with “real gay men.” Dubbed the yaoi ronsō (controversy), it lasted from 1992 to 1997. For Sato, says Keith Vincent (2002), “yaoi and its readers were violently co-opting the reality of gay men and transforming it into their own masturbatory fantasy.”

[Sato claimed that] The more confused images of gay men circulate among the general public the harder it is for gay men to reconcile these images with their own lives and the more extreme their oppression becomes…. When you’re spying on gay sex, girls, take a look at yourself in the mirror. Just look at the expression on your faces! [You look just like those dirty old men salivating over images of lesbian sex.] You can all go to hell for all I care!

Yes, they know it, and they are very, very sorry…

In the acknowledgements at the end of the essay, lookee at the list of correspondents!

“I thank the following people for generously sharing their ideas and insights: Dee Amy-Chinn, Meg Barker, C.M. Decarnin, Sarah Frederick, Erica Friedman, M.J. Johnson, Antonia Levi, Gaby Maya, Timothy Perper and Martha Cornog, Matt Thorn and James Welker. The errors and omissions are mine alone.” -ibid

The names by now are very recognizable.

More surprising is the suggestion of the influence of early 1970’s American feminist “new wave” sci-fi on Japanese writers:

“(48) Yaoi in Japan appears to have arisen independently of slash, though both genres were influenced, as Thorn says, “by a global questioning of gender and sexuality” (personal communication). Ebihara (2002) says Hagio cited Western science fiction author Ursula Le Guin as a major influence on her works in the mid-1980s. Other Western authors who influenced shōjo manga artists were speculative fiction writers such as Joanna Russ, James Tiptree, Jr. and Suzy McKee Charnas, especially their feminist-themed science-fiction stories, which Marlene Barr termed “feminist fabulation.” Thorn says Takemiya illustrated the covers for a paperback series of Le Guin’s works, and that Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness was translated into Japanese in 1972 and Russ’ “When It Changed” in 1974 (personal communication).” -ibid

Speaking of Western sci-fi, the archive.org links in the footnotes more or less work, which leads to some more footnote trolling. Lookie what turns up: an interview with Samuel R. Delany about the history of sex in science fiction:

http://web.archive.org/web/20040815095830/http://www.nerve.com/dispatches/Westerfeld/spaceCowboy/main.asp

For a lot of straight western male sci-fi readers, Samuel R. Delany was the token gay guy writer, and in retrospect (or comparison to current slash or yaoi), his stuff was not really that shocking. He knew his market well enough to frighten the horses just a bit – most of the mindfuck was in the wild detail of the settings, where all kinds of mad mischief could pop up, and he kept it readable with a sack full of modernist writing tricks. So to the interview: YIKES! Dude was/is very very promiscuous! That’s a lot of anonymous sex. Good that he’s still alive, with a knack for the bon-mot.

Chip Delany on Slash:

“Slash is usually written by straight women, yes, and I think it appeals to straight women in the same way lesbian sequences in commercial pornography appeal to straight men. I always say that if gay men and women didn’t exist, straight men and women would have had to invent us.”

I’m not going to think on that too much, it makes my head hurt.

“…to posit a gender, a God is necessary: guaranteeing the infinite.” – Luce Irigaray

Another echo:

“It begs the question, what does it mean that all of these female-authored stories – which, I’d wager, constitute one of the largest existing bodies of erotica written by women, for women – should hardly feature women’s bodies at all?

from

Audrey Lemon – How Slash saved Me
http://web.archive.org/web/20040804102800/http://www.goodgirl.ca/how%20slash%20saved%20me.html
Btw, she self identifies as a lesbian as well, and her defence of the genre is well written and heartfelt.

Shift POV…

Here is an oft quoted/ linked discussion on y/bl, with conclusions from interviewing 20+ jp fujoshi

Patrick W. Galbraith’s (he do pop up, don’t he?) Fujoshi: Fantasy Play and Transgressive Intimacy among “Rotten Girls” in Contemporary Japan found at http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/10.1086/660182.pdf?acceptTC=true
Quoted earlier for the funny footnote. Also; I haven’t seen anyone use Malinowski’s term “phatic” in ages.. wow!

Another footnote from, on goggles;

“18 The term “filter” ( ) in fujoshi usage replaces the fu sound at the beginning of the Japanese pronunciation of filter with the fu in fujoshi. See also Meyer (2010) for a discussion of “yaoi me” (yaoi eye) or “yaoi megane” (yaoi glasses) as representative of the “destablizing reading practices” or “perverse readings” of “sexual and gender minorities” (232). I would, however, caution against aligning fujoshi with sexual minorities and sexual politics, as it misrepresents all three. My informants were very clear that for them “getting out of hand,” as Thorn (2004) puts it, was all in the name of play and had nothing to do with real gays or unsettling gendered identity or heteronormative relationships. This is a far cry from the very real struggles of sexual and gender minorities.”

Here is a discussion of what happened when an influential female-oriented literary/ culture publication in Japan “discovered” y/bl in 2007. Note time roughly coincides with the infamous Yaoi episode in the Genshiken anime. Also note in the summary of proceedings that Japan does have plenty of folks, including women, who write about/ study y/bl, but except for a few such as Mizoguchi-sensei, there is little crossover to the english language clerisy.

Eureka Discovers Culture Girls, Fujoshi, and BL – Essay Review of Three Issues of the Japanese Literary magazine, Yuriika (Eureka) by Tomoko Aoyama (2009)
http://intersections.anu.edu.au/issue20/aoyama.htm

A few more random resources:

An anthropology of western slash fen ca. 2004
Girls who like Boys who like Boys – Ethnography of Online Slash/Yaoi Fans – Sandra Youssef (May 2004), an undergraduate paper by a fen.
http://yuuyami.com/luce/thesis.pdf

Fans written up in Mechademia5 respond (ha!).
http://www.journalfen.net/community/wank_report/888.html?thread=6505848

More western fan manga studies:
http://ourspace.uregina.ca/bitstream/handle/10294/3092/QueenCityComics-4-June_Madeley.pdf

Finally: In all its glory: The English FAQ for COMIC MARKET/ comiket
http://www.comiket.co.jp/info-a/WhatIsEng080528.pdf

Conclusions:

In the english-language online literature about fujoshis and fujoshi desire, what appears to be lacking are fujoshis.

We have way too many Hatos and not enough Ogiues.

We have Westerners, gay males, Western lesbians, one Japanese lesbian, one or two undefined female sociologists, grad students, slash writers, “fanthropologists”, fans and enthusiasts, but no self-defined heterosexual female Japanese rotten girls. This is curious. I am just following the most readily accessible english links; perhaps a search of journals that hide behind paywalls would turn up an entirely different set of usual suspects. Knowing how to read Japanese would really help a lot too (grin!) For now, it is clear who “owns” the valuable virtual real estate in English google-space, and who will be repeatedly asked for expert opinion when opinion is required.

Are all the straight women are all hanging out here?
http://www.lovepiececlub.com/
per
http://www.japanesestudies.org.uk/articles/2008/Dales.html

Guess the whole fujoshi thing was all a mirage.

Tada haru no yo no yume no gotoshi.

random end notes:

(1) Ogiue Maniax was lately asking what other fans thought of Sky Crawlers – Great or too long/difficult/ boring??  Ok maybe I stretch things, but Sky Crawlers is a great movie because it is not about the boy! The boy looks like he’s the hero at the start, but it turns out he is just a serial, replaceable shadow of the Commander’s first lover, who -implied- left her with a child, against the rules, and then switched sides to the other team, and now is forever slaughtering his replacements, as she is condemned to perpetually seduce the next one of his clones that shows up. And the clones all get heroically crazy after she fucks them, and then they go after the original, and he erases them, and the next replacement shows up a few days later… And the wheel turns again. Meanwhile, she does her job and takes occasional r&r… Neither mother or ageless teenage girl, she holds her own place in the middle of the storm. It’s like Groundhog Day, with dogfight deaths and bored angst-ridden sex instead of Bill Murray… Sardonically funny when one finally gets the joke..

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