Thursday, September 11, 2008

I have no idea how to title this post.

The first sentence in the linked article:

Anybody who doubts the rapidly growing influence of Japan's erotic cultural imports in the U.S. only has to spend a little time playing with a Hello Kitty vibrator while reading a fan-created pornographic Pokemon comic — or visit a “maid café” (now available near Los Angeles and Canada) where the waitresses all dress in costume — to realize it's not just a fringe subculture anymore.


XWL said...

First of all, the Hello Kitty thing is a "shoulder massager", any other use for it are strictly, 'off label', so to speak. Also, they've never been sold directly in the United States, so either you have to pick one up in Japan, or purchase through an importer (also, they were originally introduced in 1997, then pulled from the market to be re-introduced last year, so not exactly a new thing).

Second of all, the Royal/T Cafe in Culver City is more artspace than real Maid Cafe, Here's there description of themselves, "Royal/T is a playful collision of spaces—café/shop/art space—presented in stunning fusion. An eclectic mix of retail and contemporary art reimagined in the surrounds of LA's first Japanese-style cosplay café."

Its meant to be ironic and satiric, same with the Murakami art mentioned in the same article. His work is a critique of Japanese otaku culture, not a celebration of it.

Pretty much everything this 'journalist' uses as examples of Japanese echhi culture spreading to the United States are more or less ironic takes on that culture from people criticizing it's conventions rather than embracing them.

Superficially, his evidence supports his claims, but just barely scratch the surface and his thesis collapses.

The consumption of this stuff is for very different reasons by very different audiences in the United States and Japan, and even though there is a real subculture here that likes this stuff, it's never going to have a major impact, or be anything but a subculture.

(I'll believe 'japan's erotic cultural imports' have made a dent in the United States on a mass scale when an R rated (or more explicit) animated feature with sexual content grosses better than $10M in theatres or on DVD)

It's stuff like this that makes me distrust all article on all subjects. Whenever you see an article discuss a subject you yourself know something about, it's almost always distortive, misses the point, and stretches the truth beyond the breaking point, or tells outright lies.

justkim said...


I miss Sailor Moon. As I once explained to my dad, it's the perfect show for father-daughter bonding: It's created to appeal to 8-12-year-old girls and their 40+-year-old fathers.

And I still aspire to really great anime hair.

Icepick said...

XWL, I've known about the Hello Kitty vibrator for years. It's existence, while kind of weird, isn't really the problem here: It's thinking of the writer of the linked article "playing" with a Hello Kitty vibrator while reading Pokemon themed porn. There's a certain squick factor involved....