|RL Japan stuff
||[Dec. 17th, 2009|06:08 pm]
I see you have learned to work the Google on the internet machine.
-Blades of Glory
When I heard NPR's report In Japan, 'Herbivore' Boys Subvert Ideas Of Manhood, I was fascinated but dubious. It just sounded like a silly trend piece media like to do, playing up what some people do into some big cultural shift. The comments were also rather critical. I decided to check it out more and came across a much MUCH better article in the Japan Times, Blurring the boundaries:As the future facing Japan's young people changes fast, so too are traditional gender identities. This was more nuanced and detailed, thus making it all seem a lot more plausible. For example, the NPR report made it sound like these guys aren't into sex at all but the Japan Times article mentions that they aren't interested in sex with other people and rely more on porn and toys. These "herbivore" boys (草食系男子, soushokukeidanshi) are, per an online dictionary, "young men who are not competitive as in tradition male stereotypes, including in the avid pursuit of money and sex, and who may also be kind, co-operative and family-oriented." I can't get the image of well-groomed cows mooing gently in the pasture, thanks to the word "herbivore" used to describe them. ^^;
In The Nine Fingered Economy, Jake Adelstein, an American journalist who covered the yakuza in Japan for ten years and the author of a new book called Tokyo Vice, is interviewed about the yakuza on NPR's Planet Money podcast. Since I read so many BL novels featuring yakuza members, it was really interesting learning about the real deal. I didn't know that they didn't always have very transparent front companies that did all kinds of things from construction and real estate to finance and trading. It was only after displaying their clan name/symbol for intimidation purposes was outlawed that they created companies and thus branched out from the traditional gambling/prostitution/extortion thing. Adelstein is also interviewed on Fresh Air.