I've been reading up on articles on Japanese pop culture - & recent fandom buzz about costume decisions for Awake - Nagoya lives had me hunting around for other articles too. Some people find this talk annoying but I think it's great - We are living in an age of war & destruction with a media that seems to be asleep (perhaps in bed with the powers that be?) ~~ maybe taking a moment to talk about history, war, fairness &
While not quite the same - I found an article that talked about a campaign against Racism against Blacks.
In 1990, the Association to Stop Racism Against Blacks initiated a campaign to stop the publishing of “racist” manga. This tiny Osaka organization – essentially consisting of Mr. Arita Toshiji, his wife, and his son –was previously instrumental in getting the Little Black Sambo story removed from bookstores, and in discouraging the use of “racist” imagery of advertising.
The Arita family takes the hard-to-dispute position that the Japanese media contains too many negative stereotypes of people of African descent; that they are too often portrayed as grass-skirted, bones-in-noses-cannibals, servants, “jazz musicians,” and so forth, and that in manga they are often heavily caricatured, with rounded faces, fat bodies, big eyes, and thick lips.
Although the Arita family has laudable goals, their approach has unfortunately been rather dogmatic and formulaic. To make an analogy, they have often been like the Japanese censors who scratch out offending Playboy nudes, and ignore the real pornography. First the Arita organization presented manga publishers with strident demands for retraction of what it deemed offending material, and then, after enlisting scores of religious and civil rights groups in the United States in a letter writing campaign, it deluged the publishers. That the letter-writers were outraged was understandable; most cannot read Japanese, but had been shown isolated images taken out of context from long stories, even stories with a strong antidiscrimination theme.
To the shock of Japan, one of the main targets of the campaign has been Tezuka Osamu, the “God of Comics”. Tezuka is beloved in Japan in large part because of his humanism, and his compassion for all mankind. To accuse him of being a racist, it probably seems to many Japanese, is rather like accusing Mahatma Gandhi of being a child molester…..
….Manga artists particularly resent being told what is politically correct to say or to draw, or threatened with anything resembling censorship. In some genres of comics, moreover, the very purpose of the cartooning is to distort, to poke fun, and to ridicule. In this visual world, all the characters, including Japanese people, are drawn in what could be construed as an offensive style.
…The anti-racism campaign may ultimately sensitize the public, but its ham-fisted approach has exacerbated the paranoia many Japanese have of being unfairly criticized.
Little Black Sambo flies off the shelves
I remember seeing clips of popular Japanese acts of the 80s-90's, including some fellow who I swear was in blackface - 2 guys & one was doing the moonwalk thing. You could tell they didn't see this as offensive, it wasn't presented in that way - Well I didn't find them but my google search found a mention of mcvarmazi 's site - (referenced in a thread where Gackt is talked about) It's exceptionaly cringe-worthy but I thought you'd like to know the passing reference. I want to see Gackt naked