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Gougai! Gougai!

HOLY SHIT PEOPLE, IT'S NOT BAD ENOUGH WE'RE GETTING AN UTENA EXHIBITION RIGHT NOW

THEY. ARE. MAKING. A. NEW. MUSICAL. NEXT. YEAR. START LOSING YOUR SHIT RIGHT NOW

#51 | Back to Top08-07-2013 10:45:25 PM

cherrybonbon
Banned
Registered: 07-27-2013
Posts: 10

Re: Utena and racism?

Yasha wrote:

cherrybonbon wrote:

How am I typing that is "superiority and disdain"?  I don't have any ill will to anyone, I'm just typing out my thoughts (please post specifically what I did to merit a ban threaten).

For evidence, please see almost the entirety of your last post. "Lol" "Ohhhh, it's cuz she's a Rose Bride." "I just find it interesting that people can write a whole essay on a statue referenced in an episode, but they just can't find it in themselves to comment on skin color besides "lol thats just saito, she just loves the brownies!!".  Enlighten me?"

If you don't realize that that reeks of condescension and ridicule directed at the other posters in the thread, consider yourself "enlightened."

As to your arguments, honestly, I didn't read the last bunch. Why would I bother if you can't carry on a conversation without insulting the people you're conversing with?


Edited to remove unnecessary aggression. Too much meat in my diet, I think! emot-keke

Edit 2: I just caught this part:

cherrybonbon wrote:

And the fact you're threatening me with a ban already has me thinking this conversation is making you uncomfortable.

Actually, you know, it has a lot more to do with your disrespectful attitude. There might be points worth discussing, as the two below me have shown, but I'm not willing to wade through your attitude to get to them. If you can post respectfully, do so-- it's in the rules. Did you read them?

Okay, you can not like how I type, but then why aren't you calling out racist memes on your own forum like this one?
http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b136/Angel_Apathy/anthytechsupport-1.jpg

Like, really?  Your title is "Bitch Queen" but you can't tolerate someone's syntax?  I hardly think what I said was offensive towards anyone.  How is "Lol" hurting anyone?  Or saying "Ohhhhh"?  Maybe you are reading far too into it and applying a tone that was not there.  Yet you are more than willing to allow people to be racist on your forums.

I totally understand your rules now, thank you.  It's wrong to say Lol or Ohh or ask to be enlightened, but it's okay to make racist memes and laugh about how Indians/Asian people are stereotyped.  Gotcha.  Or is saying gotcha against the rules too?

Oh, and how you cannot even engage in my arguments that have remained relevant to the topic at hand since I started posting in it?  You're just proving my original points and that talking about race relations in SKU in this particular forum is a moot point when the language is so strongly policed that it's almost as if you are wanting to silence any engagement at all.  It's very interesting.

Last edited by cherrybonbon (08-07-2013 10:48:14 PM)

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#52 | Back to Top08-07-2013 11:54:44 PM

Yasha
Bitch Queen
From: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Registered: 10-15-2006
Posts: 6018
Website

Re: Utena and racism?

So I see that you didn't read the rules. If you had, you would have seen:

10. Hate Speech – We will ban people for hate speech (nigger, faggot, etc.), but that is up to our discretion and the context of the post. If it is clearly meant to be a joke, we will take the action we believe to be appropriate. If it is clearly not a joke, it is a bannable offense. Keep in mind that your interpretation may not line up with ours, and feel free to ask us about any decisions we make.

Go back to tumblr. Or did they kick you out for being too much of an asshole even for them? Either way, good riddance.

Seriously, anyone whose biggest contribution to the forum in ten posts is that they can't even pretend to common decency doesn't deserve a place here.


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#53 | Back to Top08-08-2013 10:33:20 AM

motorwaymurderer
Saionji Slapper
From: Finland
Registered: 09-25-2009
Posts: 28

Re: Utena and racism?

Well, just so you know, the argument has spread to tumblr in a case any of you is willing to contribute to it here.

Yours, active stalker of SKU fandom in its every corner

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#54 | Back to Top08-08-2013 12:25:41 PM

BlackBeforeRed
Acknowledged Smart Person
From: The Nightosphere
Registered: 07-09-2010
Posts: 178

Re: Utena and racism?

Yeah, saw that in the tag and came over here to give a heads up emot-aaa This person doesn't seem to get that what caused the ban was the way they were talking and not what they were talking about.  Looks like the one thing I hate most about tumblr, trying to sic followers on people when someone doesn`t agree with you.

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#55 | Back to Top08-08-2013 12:55:11 PM

MikoGalatea
Rose Bride
From: England, UK
Registered: 02-25-2012
Posts: 115
Website

Re: Utena and racism?

motorwaymurderer wrote:

Well, just so you know, the argument has spread to tumblr in a case any of you is willing to contribute to it here.

Yeesh, that's gonna end well... and this site isn't terribly well-liked on Tumblr as it is.

One thing that's come out of this mess that I appreciate, though, is that Akio is being discussed with regards to this topic as well. I've seen a couple of posts on Tumblr that touched on SKU's racial themes, but they focused pretty much exclusively on Anthy (not that it isn't important to talk about!) while Akio just gets a passing mention as "oh yeah, he has dark skin too". At worst, it feels a bit like some users on there mentally whitewash him just because he's evil and powerful and what-have-you.

Now that I'm thinking about it, is Akio a racist portrayal? Is it intensely problematic to have the main villain -- one who is a world-class manipulator and serial rapist at that -- with dark skin? Or on the other hand, is it a good thing to see such a powerful POC in an anime, regardless of his morality? I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts.

As for Anthy, it certainly is uncomfortable to see a young Indian girl like her being abused by Japanese people (i.e. the racial majority in the setting) but I think it's pretty obvious that we're meant to be uncomfortable with it; we're meant to see the way she's treated as horrible and rage-inducing. Let's also not forget that the primary axis of oppression in SKU is based in gender, and that most of Anthy's abuse is therefore mainly rooted in misogyny; Saionji smacking her around wouldn't be any better if she was white or Japanese, for example.

Finally, I just want to say that while I know Be-PaPas didn't intend any particular deeper meaning to Anthy's and Akio's skin colour, that doesn't mean that their choices can't still carry certain implications for some people. Cultural background can influence the way someone sees a piece of media just as much as personality and/or upbringing, and I think that's at least worth taking into consideration.

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#56 | Back to Top08-08-2013 01:10:33 PM

Atropos
Atropos Turretslayer
From: Hampden College
Registered: 10-22-2011
Posts: 906

Re: Utena and racism?

Well...he is depicted somewhat sympathetically. Not enough to save him from being the antagonist of the show, but he's at least shown to be as much of a victim as Anthy is.

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#57 | Back to Top08-08-2013 01:45:40 PM

Nova
Phoenix Down
Registered: 05-02-2012
Posts: 535

Re: Utena and racism?

motorwaymurderer wrote:

Well, just so you know, the argument has spread to tumblr in a case any of you is willing to contribute to it here.

Yours, active stalker of SKU fandom in its every corner

I'd sooner gouge out my own brain than have anything to do with Tumblr.


I have left this forum. If you wish to contact me, ask Ashnod or Satyreyes how I may be reached.

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#58 | Back to Top08-08-2013 02:15:21 PM

Yasha
Bitch Queen
From: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Registered: 10-15-2006
Posts: 6018
Website

Re: Utena and racism?

Not to be a jerk, but let's move the tumblr discussion to the drama thread where it belongs. I'd rather see people talking about racism in this thread. Thanks for the link, though, it was hilarious. emot-dance



MikoGalatea wrote:

One thing that's come out of this mess that I appreciate, though, is that Akio is being discussed with regards to this topic as well. I've seen a couple of posts on Tumblr that touched on SKU's racial themes, but they focused pretty much exclusively on Anthy (not that it isn't important to talk about!) while Akio just gets a passing mention as "oh yeah, he has dark skin too". At worst, it feels a bit like some users on there mentally whitewash him just because he's evil and powerful and what-have-you.

Anthy's female and gets constantly "victimized" (we all know it's usually on purpose as one of her plots) by other students. She lends herself to a victim role so it's easier to talk about her. Akio, on the other hand, is way more uncomfortable to discuss. He's got a lot of opposing traits and actions that don't make him slot into a victim role easily in discussion (although Atropos is right, he is one) so the question of his darker skin color, which is unfortunately conflated with victimization, becomes a pretty rocky one to navigate. It sucks that in many people's minds, race = victim status, when I think a lot of people would really object to being thought of as a victim because of the color of their skin.

I've actually got a lot more to say about your post, but I'm busy baking a cake for my mom's birthday so I'll have to continue later if y'all don't mind emot-frown

Edit: There's a thread for the drama here.

Last edited by Yasha (08-08-2013 02:37:08 PM)


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#59 | Back to Top08-08-2013 04:59:46 PM

BlackBeforeRed
Acknowledged Smart Person
From: The Nightosphere
Registered: 07-09-2010
Posts: 178

Re: Utena and racism?

MikoGalatea wrote:

As for Anthy, it certainly is uncomfortable to see a young Indian girl like her being abused by Japanese people (i.e. the racial majority in the setting) but I think it's pretty obvious that we're meant to be uncomfortable with it; we're meant to see the way she's treated as horrible and rage-inducing. Let's also not forget that the primary axis of oppression in SKU is based in gender, and that most of Anthy's abuse is therefore mainly rooted in misogyny; Saionji smacking her around wouldn't be any better if she was white or Japanese, for example..

I think this is key here. If you really want to make a commentary on something the way SKU does, you kind of have to portray the thing you're making a commentary on. The intent isn't racist, it's just illustrated within the setting.

I know Ikuhara's word isn't usually worth shit, but he has said in the past he wanted to portray the feeling of being a minority. So I do think it was a little more than just an aesthetic choice. I think an argument could be made that the character difference between Akio and Anthy is a statement on how misogyny can at times have a greater impact on PoC. And seeing as how Ikuni made the statement about minority in reference to his portrayal of U&A being a couple, it makes me think of the big three for privilege and discrimination, the White Heterosexual Male (In the context of Japan that would be the Asian Heterosexual Male) Anthy being none of those things makes her the lowest on the totem pole. It's pretty symbolic for her role as the Rose Bride.

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#60 | Back to Top08-09-2013 03:20:24 PM

Yasha
Bitch Queen
From: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Registered: 10-15-2006
Posts: 6018
Website

Re: Utena and racism?

Bleah, I got beaten to the stuff about Anthy. etc-saiowank

MikoGalatea wrote:

Finally, I just want to say that while I know Be-PaPas didn't intend any particular deeper meaning to Anthy's and Akio's skin colour, that doesn't mean that their choices can't still carry certain implications for some people. Cultural background can influence the way someone sees a piece of media just as much as personality and/or upbringing, and I think that's at least worth taking into consideration.

I think that's what I've been trying to get at all along. I absolutely don't believe that Anthy and Akio's skin color was chosen with the intent of exploring racism. We can, however, view it through the different lenses of cultural and personally experienced racism because SKU is just that kind of show. There's a lot of opportunity to talk about it but that wasn't what was on Saito's mind.

BlackBeforeRed wrote:

I know Ikuhara's word isn't usually worth shit, but he has said in the past he wanted to portray the feeling of being a minority. So I do think it was a little more than just an aesthetic choice. I think an argument could be made that the character difference between Akio and Anthy is a statement on how misogyny can at times have a greater impact on PoC. And seeing as how Ikuni made the statement about minority in reference to his portrayal of U&A being a couple, it makes me think of the big three for privilege and discrimination, the White Heterosexual Male (In the context of Japan that would be the Asian Heterosexual Male) Anthy being none of those things makes her the lowest on the totem pole. It's pretty symbolic for her role as the Rose Bride.

Ha, I don't remember him saying that, but then I don't pay much attention to him.

You're right, it does put Anthy symbolically lowest spot as compared to the big three. Akio, on the other hand, gets at least one out of the three-- I only say "at least" because I'm not sure whether he deserves the 'Hetero' tag. I think he probably fakes it for the public. That puts him in a higher spot on that totem pole than Anthy, but it doesn't explain his position as the most obvious power behind the duels and in the school.

Then again, he does have to kiss a little ass (or other things) to stay in that Chairman spot. There are a few ways that you can interpret his little liaison with Mrs. Ohtori, and one of the ones that accounts for his race puts him, on the surface, in a servile position. He's subverting that by making himself irresistible to have there and ultimately being the one in control.


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#61 | Back to Top08-09-2013 05:27:24 PM

BlackBeforeRed
Acknowledged Smart Person
From: The Nightosphere
Registered: 07-09-2010
Posts: 178

Re: Utena and racism?

Yasha wrote:

BlackBeforeRed wrote:

I know Ikuhara's word isn't usually worth shit, but he has said in the past he wanted to portray the feeling of being a minority. So I do think it was a little more than just an aesthetic choice. I think an argument could be made that the character difference between Akio and Anthy is a statement on how misogyny can at times have a greater impact on PoC. And seeing as how Ikuni made the statement about minority in reference to his portrayal of U&A being a couple, it makes me think of the big three for privilege and discrimination, the White Heterosexual Male (In the context of Japan that would be the Asian Heterosexual Male) Anthy being none of those things makes her the lowest on the totem pole. It's pretty symbolic for her role as the Rose Bride.

Ha, I don't remember him saying that, but then I don't pay much attention to him.

You're right, it does put Anthy symbolically lowest spot as compared to the big three. Akio, on the other hand, gets at least one out of the three-- I only say "at least" because I'm not sure whether he deserves the 'Hetero' tag. I think he probably fakes it for the public. That puts him in a higher spot on that totem pole than Anthy, but it doesn't explain his position as the most obvious power behind the duels and in the school.

Then again, he does have to kiss a little ass (or other things) to stay in that Chairman spot. There are a few ways that you can interpret his little liaison with Mrs. Ohtori, and one of the ones that accounts for his race puts him, on the surface, in a servile position. He's subverting that by making himself irresistible to have there and ultimately being the one in control.

I can't remember exactly where he says it, but I know he did somewhere. More than anything it could just be his justification for yuri emot-tongue

As for Akio, he does kiss up a lot to get his position of power. He took on his fiance's last name, essentially he's given away his roots and culture (though his family name is pretty asian emot-tongue) he's sold himself out. Whereas Anthy still has a few cultural markers of her heritage, like the red Rose Bride outfit. In fact I think all the social markers pointing to their Indian heritage come from Anthy, excluding the bindis. So it could be just as much that Akio is more willing to confom to Japanese customs that gives him his position of power, in addition to the big three coming into play.

It moves into head canon territory, but I get the feeling Anthy's more reluctant to give up her culture, and as a result she pays a social price.

And it actually ends up coming across in Akio's eagerness to appear heterosexual, despite regularly hooking up with guys. When does Akio ever openly flirt with any male who isn't in the know about EOTW? Because he doesn't make any effort to hide his flirting with underage girls that's for sure emot-rolleyes Contrast this to Anthy, who's pretty aggressive (considering her circumstance of course emot-tongue ) when it comes to Utena. I think Akio is just overall a lot more concerned about wanting to be seen a certain way, and will hide parts of himself to achieve that, whereas Anthy stopped giving a fuck long ago. It is pretty hard to give a fuck when you have a million swords constantly impaling you school-eng101

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#62 | Back to Top08-10-2013 10:33:37 PM

Yasha
Bitch Queen
From: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Registered: 10-15-2006
Posts: 6018
Website

Re: Utena and racism?

You know, I really like your interpretation. That's a really interesting way to see it. From that perspective we get a different focus on Akio's behavior, and another potential explanation for his motivations in letting Anthy languish, pierced by the swords, while he goes out and has fun. You could definitely postulate that he's more than willing to chameleon himself in whatever way will best serve him, giving up bits of himself along the way.

That's.... almost too poetic to waste on Akio emot-keke


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#63 | Back to Top08-11-2013 07:28:53 AM

dlaire
A Whole Orange
From: Poland
Registered: 04-08-2007
Posts: 2322

Re: Utena and racism?

Here comes my Secret Antrophology Political Correctness Card.

Ruth Benedict said

No man ever looks at the world with pristine eyes. He sees it edited by a definite set of customs and institutions and ways of thinking.

. She warned Americans not to measure Japanese society by its standards and she found very etnocentric to use American culture instead of Japanese culture to interpret anime. So, actually, using American political correctness we would be... racists. Yeah, cherrybonbon, using non-Japanese perspective to interpret Japanese culture you treat your own culture as the better source of data than an actual source culture.

Also, check out the history of slavery worldwide. You are clearly seeing this issue as limited to certain skin colours.

I think it's very racist that SKU, being an anime, has NO Polish characters. emot-mad emot-mad emot-mad

//God, that's so hilarious. emot-rofl

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#64 | Back to Top08-12-2013 12:06:06 PM

rhyaniwyn
Myth is my Bitch
From: Tallahassee, FL
Registered: 11-09-2006
Posts: 684
Website

Re: Utena and racism?

Ya'll, it's important here that Japan is a homogeneous society.  While they don't have the same issues of white privilege or the same history of black slavery and segregation, they do have their own racial issues.

What I'm saying is, no, all the nuances of a Japanese show with a primarily Japanese cast with 2 Indian characters are not precisely the same nuances as if it were an American show with an all white cast with 2 black characters.

And, yeah, it can be totally ethnocentric and, honestly, given the demographics of this forum as I know them, white-privilege-y of many of us to assume too deeply that our experiences are universal.  But, as predominantly Westerners, it's totally normal for us to draw comparisons to Western history and culture.  That's the stuff we know, and it's natural when we need to learn something new that we build on what we know.  We say: it's similar to this, but different from that, it reminds me of this other thing.

So it's different, but, then again, it's not completely different.  There are gonna be some parallels.  Even if it's just in-group/out-group behavior.  And I do think it's more than "purely" superficial that Anthy & Akio are the only dark-skinned, possibly non-native characters.  Even if all the creators thought the reasons were superficial they can still have racial tones (even aside from what we as viewers bring to it), because the creators' culture has problems with racism, too, and also because racism isn't just saying, "I hate [racial epithet]s".

Superficially choosing to make a character a different race to make them "exotic and mysterious", for example, is kind of racist.  It's not like I'm an expert on this, but even I've picked up that Japan has issues with xenophobia and marginalization of immigrants and ethnic minorities.  And they have tensions with China and Korea, for example, that stem in part from their historical imperial aggression.  Sound familiar?

This is really complicated and sensitive stuff, and Tumblr tends to have a vituperative style in talking about it that is very different from IRG.  So while I think was a bit of culture-clash between Tumblr and IRG here, a lot of the initial posts did come across to me like "nope, not about race", which is kind of dismissive toward a very difficult and serious course of inquiry.

There's a reason I didn't come into this thread, and that reason is I'm a white person in the US.  All I would bring to this discussion is whiteness and Westerness, and I didn't think I had anything particularly insightful to add, since I'm sure my point of view is more than adequately represented.

(That POV, btw, is "There's probably some race stuff here, but I don't know what, where, or why.")


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#65 | Back to Top08-12-2013 12:57:37 PM

gorgeousshutin
Bare Footman
Registered: 04-11-2012
Posts: 1312
Website

Re: Utena and racism?

Wow . . . rhyaniwyn, you might've offered the most fair and insightful post I've yet seen in this thread.

rhyaniwyn wrote:

Superficially choosing to make a character a different race to make them "exotic and mysterious", for example, is kind of racist.

If exoticism - even those without direct malicious intention towards the ethnic party - is technically considered racist, then much of what we see in anime and Japanese mainstream media is definitely guilty.

And they have tensions with China and Korea, for example, that stem in part from their historical imperial aggression.

This is a fact, too.  There've been numerous news articles citing immigrants from both races openly discriminated against in Japan; even the Japanese TV dramas addresses racism against Chinese and Koreans in Japan as an existing issue.

Though, as I've since stated upthread, Akio and Anthy being Indian still might have been because the BePapas are aware of the well-documented Sexism in India.

Last edited by gorgeousshutin (08-12-2013 04:49:46 PM)


(PSOH/SKU) Revolutionary Human Leon (Updated to Part 3 as of Sep 26, 2017) / (SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 43 as of Sep 08, 2017) / (NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016) / (BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

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#66 | Back to Top08-12-2013 08:15:40 PM

HonorableShadow
Cow Bellhop
From: Ohio
Registered: 11-03-2006
Posts: 471
Website

Re: Utena and racism?

Well, since this thread is so popular maybe I should give you an update. My friend liked the series in the end, and she felt better about Utena's role with Anthy once she watched the whole thing.


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#67 | Back to Top08-12-2013 08:31:01 PM

BlackBeforeRed
Acknowledged Smart Person
From: The Nightosphere
Registered: 07-09-2010
Posts: 178

Re: Utena and racism?

HonorableShadow wrote:

Well, since this thread is so popular maybe I should give you an update. My friend liked the series in the end, and she felt better about Utena's role with Anthy once she watched the whole thing.

Heh. All this drama and your friend ended up liking the show anyway emot-tongue I think most of the people I've shown Utena to got that it wouldn't be as it appears when it comes to Anthy because I tell them upfront that everything is not what you expect and it's subversive as hell. It's good to see you got your friend to stick it out emot-biggrin

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#68 | Back to Top08-12-2013 11:02:53 PM

Yasha
Bitch Queen
From: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Registered: 10-15-2006
Posts: 6018
Website

Re: Utena and racism?

rhyaniwyn wrote:

And I do think it's more than "purely" superficial that Anthy & Akio are the only dark-skinned, possibly non-native characters.  Even if all the creators thought the reasons were superficial they can still have racial tones (even aside from what we as viewers bring to it), because the creators' culture has problems with racism, too, and also because racism isn't just saying, "I hate [racial epithet]s".

To explain at least my insistence that it was a superficial choice, I wasn't trying to say that there were no racial issues there, but rather that Chiho Saito's intent wasn't to invoke racial issues, and that's how I took anyone else saying that as well.

That's kinda the flip side to your argument-- just because racial issues are there doesn't mean that those are the issues the creator means us to be considering. That doesn't mean they're invalid or irrelevant, and I seriously doubt anyone was trying to say that.


Editt: Herp. I forgot!

HonorableShadow wrote:

Well, since this thread is so popular maybe I should give you an update. My friend liked the series in the end, and she felt better about Utena's role with Anthy once she watched the whole thing.

This makes me warm and fuzzy. emot-kekeemot-kekeemot-kekeemot-kekeemot-keke

Last edited by Yasha (08-12-2013 11:27:45 PM)


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#69 | Back to Top05-24-2016 01:58:01 AM

Amasis
Juri Jeerer
Registered: 05-23-2016
Posts: 40

Re: Utena and racism?

Now, I don't want to get involved in any ~discourse~. And I certainly don't want to state my probably /pol/-tier headcanon.

[Namely that Utena is set in a world with a Napoléonic victory, and subsequent French cultural hegemony. Japan was then opened and integrated into the the global French empire.

Akio and Anthy are, or rather pose as, descendants of a Tamil prince who assisted the French in expelling British power from India.

The point is that in the earlier days of the French colonization the Japanese aristocrats starting dying their hair to emulate European fashions. However, the dyed hair ended up lookihng nothing like intended. However, instead of abandoning the practice, the nobles took it in stride, and started getting creative. Therefore everyone who makes a claim to status will invariably dye their hair a ridiculous color.

There I said it. Wait, no. Touga, Nanami, and Jury are the Japanized descendants of European colonists. Now I'm done.
]'

But if one's going to discuss the issue, shouldn't we be thinking not only of what India means to westerners (ancient, exotic civilization that became our bitch) but also of what it might indicate to Japanese? Something, perhaps, like: an ancient, exotic civilization that we got half of our religion and gods [and syllabary-order] from?

sorry y'all

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#70 | Back to Top05-24-2016 02:56:20 PM

DefineMask
Saionji Slapper
Registered: 05-14-2016
Posts: 26

Re: Utena and racism?

Amasis wrote:

Now, I don't want to get involved in any ~discourse~. And I certainly don't want to state my probably /pol/-tier headcanon.

[Namely that Utena is set in a world with a Napoléonic victory, and subsequent French cultural hegemony. Japan was then opened and integrated into the the global French empire.

Akio and Anthy are, or rather pose as, descendants of a Tamil prince who assisted the French in expelling British power from India.

The point is that in the earlier days of the French colonization the Japanese aristocrats starting dying their hair to emulate European fashions. However, the dyed hair ended up lookihng nothing like intended. However, instead of abandoning the practice, the nobles took it in stride, and started getting creative. Therefore everyone who makes a claim to status will invariably dye their hair a ridiculous color.

There I said it. Wait, no. Touga, Nanami, and Jury are the Japanized descendants of European colonists. Now I'm done.
]'

But if one's going to discuss the issue, shouldn't we be thinking not only of what India means to westerners (ancient, exotic civilization that became our bitch) but also of what it might indicate to Japanese? Something, perhaps, like: an ancient, exotic civilization that we got half of our religion and gods [and syllabary-order] from?

sorry y'all

Wow Amasis, you know your history. I applaud you in your findings!! Yes this story definitely takes place in France. The words on the coffins are in French, and it's a known thing that a good chunk of fairy tales (with princes, especially) have been told by the French. The fencers also use rapiers, and the design and name of Juri (Julie when romanized) kinda give it away as well.

And to answer the question of the OP, no this show is FAR from racist... It's a deep and meaningful tale in which Anthy and Utena learn to accept one another. Also Anthy is not depicted in any malicious way... She is in fact a victim to her brother, who is also Indian lol. Akio is a charismatic Chairman, how would that be racist?

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#71 | Back to Top05-24-2016 03:15:36 PM

Amasis
Juri Jeerer
Registered: 05-23-2016
Posts: 40

Re: Utena and racism?

DefineMask wrote:

Wow Amasis, you know your history. I applaud you in your findings!! Yes this story definitely takes place in France. The words on the coffins are in French, and it's a known thing that a good chunk of fairy tales (with princes, especially) have been told by the French. The fencers also use rapiers, and the design and name of Juri (Julie when romanized) kinda give it away as well.

I'm inclined to regard this as mockery, which I'm neutral towards; however the idea is ridiculous enough already that to misrepresent it in the mocking would be strange. Therefore I wish to clarify that no part of said headcanon in fact denies that the story takes place in an independent Japan; indeed it's a requisite element.

Last edited by Amasis (05-24-2016 03:16:00 PM)

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#72 | Back to Top05-24-2016 04:44:57 PM

pesimistamente
Anthy Assailer
From: Barcelona [former epi]
Registered: 01-12-2016
Posts: 70

Re: Utena and racism?

DefineMask wrote:

And to answer the question of the OP, no this show is FAR from racist... It's a deep and meaningful tale in which Anthy and Utena learn to accept one another. Also Anthy is not depicted in any malicious way... She is in fact a victim to her brother, who is also Indian lol. Akio is a charismatic Chairman, how would that be racist?

Well PoC are hypersexualized and depicted as vile (rapists, manipulators, liars, while being sexy somehow and exotic), it's part of the brown stereotype. Anthy being in the need to be saved is also part of the "White Savior" trope. Even if they just used the different race in Anthy and Akio to make them "exotic", it could have a negative impact in the audience and in the lives of PoC.

I'm not really saying the show IS or ISN'T racist, I think it's a more complex question and answer than simply "I like the character therefore is not racist" logic. Personally I don't position myself since my point of view is very western, but if Utena had been made here, I would think racism was definitely a topic the authors intended to deconstruct. If their intention matched the impact, is a very difficult question to answer. But it wasn't, so I lack information about the context.

We also talked about this here, in case anyone wants to read some more.

Last edited by pesimistamente (05-24-2016 04:48:50 PM)

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#73 | Back to Top05-28-2016 11:18:47 PM

DefineMask
Saionji Slapper
Registered: 05-14-2016
Posts: 26

Re: Utena and racism?

Amasis wrote:

DefineMask wrote:

Wow Amasis, you know your history. I applaud you in your findings!! Yes this story definitely takes place in France. The words on the coffins are in French, and it's a known thing that a good chunk of fairy tales (with princes, especially) have been told by the French. The fencers also use rapiers, and the design and name of Juri (Julie when romanized) kinda give it away as well.

I'm inclined to regard this as mockery, which I'm neutral towards; however the idea is ridiculous enough already that to misrepresent it in the mocking would be strange. Therefore I wish to clarify that no part of said headcanon in fact denies that the story takes place in an independent Japan; indeed it's a requisite element.

What? Lol no I was agreeing with you. Read my whole post. Not everyone who writes "Wow I agree" is being sarcastic.

Last edited by DefineMask (05-28-2016 11:19:39 PM)

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#74 | Back to Top08-12-2016 07:07:23 AM

ordinary.day
New Student
Registered: 08-12-2016
Posts: 3

Re: Utena and racism?

i don't know if i'm digging up old bones with this, but i have to agree with rhyaniwyn's idea:

rhyaniwyn wrote:

Superficially choosing to make a character a different race to make them "exotic and mysterious", for example, is kind of racist.  It's not like I'm an expert on this, but even I've picked up that Japan has issues with xenophobia and marginalization of immigrants and ethnic minorities.

i am not japanese, but i've been living and working in japan for five years and want to share my ideas about what the japanese perspective of anthy and akio's character designs might be based on my impressions and experiences living here. i think there are two ways to theorize about anthy and akio's character designs. we can assume that:

1) chiho saito (i am assuming she was chiefly responsible for their design), with the intention of making akio and anthy "look non-japanese (ie, a race other than japanese)," gave them darker skin than the other characters and bindis (which we can assume was her impression of how certain groups of non-japanese people "look")

or

2) chiho saito gave them darker skin than the other characters and bindis, without the intention of making them "appear non-japanese"

if we assume theory 1, i very much agree with rhyaniwyn's above statement that superficially choosing to make a character a different race (or, to the original designer, what "appears" to be a different race) to make them "exotic and mysterious" is kind of racist in that it is definitely "othering." there is a lot of othering of non-japanese people in japan, and taking into consideration that it is based on the idea of japanese people being the "norm" or "standard," it can definitely be construed as racist and/or xenophobic within the context of japanese culture/society (as numbers of people of all different races are being legally allowed to live and work in japan).

even if we assume theory 2, with regards to giving only two characters darker skin than the other characters, it would be difficult to assume it was done without the intention of making them "appear non-japanese," as even though there is skin color variation among japanese people and if we assume the characters of sku to reflect that, there is no additional skin color variation among the other characters (excluding mamiya, who also wears a bindi and in my interpretation is actually anthy, and touga, who i've noticed seems to have a slightly different skin tone than the other characters). also, bindis are not commonly worn by japanese people in japan, as a fashion accessory or with religious meaning. so i don't think it's very plausible that akio and anthy were designed to be japanese characters who have dark skin and wear bindis as fashion accessories, though this could still be true.

and if we assume theory 1, i must comment that it is also very othering in that akio, anthy, and mamiya all wear bindis (and mamiya and akio, erroneously, as they are meant to be worn by women), which are connected to hinduism and jainism, yet those characters are never shown to be practicing either of those faiths. in addition to this, akio and anthy never speak any other language than japanese, and never engage in any non-japanese cultural practices nor are shown to have cultural backgrounds and ways of thinking that differ from those of the other characters (to my knowledge). perhaps they do and it is just not touched upon in the series, but the fact that it is still never shown reinforces the idea that chiho saito intended to simply make them "look non-japanese" in order to merely make them seem "exotic and mysterious," thereby stripping them of the non-japanese cultural and religious identities that would come with being of a different race and cultural background, and in effect not only "othering" but also, to an extent, disempowering and invalidating the cultural background of non-japanese people living in japan who have dark skin and wear bindis.

i am not trying to villainize chiho saito, and i love sku, but i think it is important to be aware of prejudices and consider the experiences of all different kinds of people. what i would really like to know is a hindu/jain person who is living in japan's perspective about sku and anthy and akio. but all that being said, i think it is great that there is ethnic diversity in sku (especially in the roles of the main characters), however much the cultural identities of the characters may be under-developed.

Last edited by ordinary.day (08-12-2016 07:17:52 AM)

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#75 | Back to Top08-14-2016 11:46:20 AM

ShiningSanctum1
Touga Topper
Registered: 11-23-2012
Posts: 57

Re: Utena and racism?

This series is far from racist. Anthy and Akio are very complex, possibly two of some of the most mysterious, interesting characters in the show. Plus, Anthy is the one who chose this path for herself. She's making herself seem like the meek girl so she could keep her identity as Akio's right hand undercover, and manipulate chivalrous people who would want to help her. Plus, why would they make a brown person a chairman if they were racist lol. Doesn't make sense. Would you prefer that the girl getting pushed around was white??? What you are claiming is more racist to me. I would rather have a diversity of interesting characters. Also, whites get their share of racial remarks too... Don't assume that white folks always get the longer end of the stick.


Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why it is called the present.

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