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Tex_Maam
07-18-2012, 09:43 AM
So I woke up this morning, stumbled to the kitchen, and as I was pouring dairy creamer over my bowl of Bran Buddies, I thought to myself, "gee, being white sure is boring. I mean, I still need a pretty white girl for my paranormal romance - because duh, this is YA - but vampires and werewolves and angels and demons are so played out, and I just - "

Then my roving eye alit on the cereal box, and the colorful cartoon features of Kung-Fu Krunchee became my muse.

"-that's IT! I'll make her a ninja! No wait, a samurai, and she can FIGHT ninjas, because she's a reincarnated samurai! That's so girl power! And then I can give her some cool samurai name, like - oh, what was that one from Sailor Moon? SENSHI. That's awesome. Then her love interest will be easy, cuz I can just make him all hot and ethnic - like, a smoldering dojo-master with a Fu Manchu tache, the works - so he doesn't have to sparkle when he stalks her because he's EXOTIC, dammit. No need to fire up Google - I'll call him Kim. That's definitely Asian, because Star Trek always gets it right. Eat me, Smeyer - THIS is going to top the charts!"

So I fired up my computer to start writing Bushido Blonde -

- and was GUTTED to find out that somebody beat me to it (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11788440-katana).

So take it from me, friends: vampires are out, ethnic is in. Don't get caught behind the times: pick your favorite kind of takeout, or one of the ethnic Superfriends, and cram some color into your manuscript, STAT.

Sol Quince
07-18-2012, 09:53 AM
hmmm sorry to ask a dumb question, but what is "ethnic" ?

Kitty Pryde
07-18-2012, 10:02 AM
Huzzah for cultural appropriation...Though this book is far from the only fantasy about white people enjoying the mythological heritage of distant lands without bothering to be from them or have one's ancestors be from them or know anything about them or grow up learning of them or...

Sad times, that book is from one of my favorite publishers, who have quite an awesome record of promoting all sorts of diverse characters in their novels.

thebloodfiend
07-18-2012, 04:35 PM
Wow ....

You really had me going for a second there.

Lhipenwhe
07-18-2012, 04:47 PM
Is it weird that the first thing I comment on isn't the appropriation of my culture, but the fact that holding those swords like that is really, really stupid? Because it is.

Filigree
07-18-2012, 06:00 PM
Yes, that's just an art director telling a model how to hold something they both think of as a stick. Neither of them could be bothered to talk to a weapons-master.

Anyway, why stop? It won't be the same story.

Xelebes
07-18-2012, 07:02 PM
Is it weird that the first thing I comment on isn't the appropriation of my culture, but the fact that holding those swords like that is really, really stupid? Because it is.

You're telling me they are not flowers?

Rachel Udin
07-18-2012, 08:29 PM
TT Kim? That's Korean, not Japanese. Seriously. Kim? What? That's not a given name either. That's a surname. (Unless they got it from Kim Jong-il because they are that stupid to not notice that the whole pennisula is filled with people with a "first name" of Kim.) Behindthename.com wasn't working that day? Google was down for the entire time they were writing the book?

*sighs*

Filigree
07-19-2012, 03:17 AM
Yep, basic Cultural Research Fail. I wish I didn't see it so often in urban fantasy.

Silver-Midnight
07-19-2012, 03:31 AM
TT Kim? That's Korean, not Japanese. Seriously. Kim? What? That's not a given name either. That's a surname.

I wasn't going to say anything at first about that but since you brought it up.....

Yeah, Kim is Korean. It's a Korean last name(or surname. Just like Lee or Choi. As far as my research goes anyway.


Yep, basic Cultural Research Fail. I wish I didn't see it so often in urban fantasy.

This happens a lot in UF? I mean I hate to sound dimwitted but really? I see the Cultural Research Fail more in Romance than in Urban Fantasy. Then again, I'm still "new" to the genre and the people I've read are "big" in the genre (Patricia Briggs, Jeaniene Frost, Jim Butcher).

Rachel Udin
07-19-2012, 05:56 AM
I wasn't going to say anything at first about that but since you brought it up.....

Yeah, Kim is Korean. It's a Korean last name(or surname. Just like Lee or Choi. As far as my research goes anyway.


Despite the Jewish name, my Korean name (as in the one I was born with) has Kim as a surname. Part of the Kimhae Kim clan, the biggest clan by number in Korea. There are other Kim clans too.

나는한국어알아수니까....

Second in Korea is Lee...

And... 日本語わかります。<-- But that's showing off. (Japanese)

This level of fail makes me feel less nervous about my own multicultural novel... I'm going nuts over here, tearing out my hair over getting the drape of the sari right for the time period and region. Did they even have a sari? How am I going to deal with racism v. the nudity at the time issue that's making me cry buckets over here. (Also putting effort into understanding Sanskrit and Prakrit (Tocharian is in there too), Indian History as a whole, food, religious beliefs of three religions at least, structure of the markets, the color of the dirt, Buddhist temples... TT)

And this author got published with a name that's wrong. Seriously. No excuse.

Cyia
07-19-2012, 06:20 AM
Kim is Vietnamese, too, isn't it?

I know I had friends in high school with that name. Lo An Kim (invariably called "Loan" as in "car loan" by our teachers), Qiu Chan Kim and Qiu Mi Kim

Filigree
07-19-2012, 06:50 AM
Yes, I do have to apologize, Silver. Now that I think about it, I've seen that kind of Research Fail more often in Romance and Paranormal Romance, than in Urban Fantasy.

Silver-Midnight
07-19-2012, 06:51 AM
This level of fail makes me feel less nervous about my own multicultural novel... I'm going nuts over here, tearing out my hair over getting the drape of the sari right for the time period and region.

If it makes you feel even further better, I also tend to worry about certain cultural aspects in my novels. I typically write interracial relationships in my WIPs. And while a good majority of my characters are very Americanized or from Western culture, I still worry about getting the names and other cultural aspects right, like really worry. Because of incidents like this.


Yes, I do have to apologize, Silver. Now that I think about it, I've seen that kind of Research Fail more often in Romance and Paranormal Romance, than in Urban Fantasy.

No problem. :) Besides, that was just in my experience.

Rachel Udin
07-19-2012, 10:44 AM
Kim is Vietnamese, too, isn't it?

I know I had friends in high school with that name. Lo An Kim (invariably called "Loan" as in "car loan" by our teachers), Qiu Chan Kim and Qiu Mi Kim
(Note the heavy sarcasm): But you know that Vietnam doesn't exist in Asia or have Martial Arts. Isn't Asia one country like Africa?

金 means gold in Chinese (Jin, Mandarin/kam, Cantonese.)

Korean and Vietnamese, Cambodia and China have that surname. You are correct in saying that Vietnam also has "kim" as a pronunciation. Incidentally there is a history of Vietnamese brides to Korea too. (Indian too... but that was earlier in the history--Mongolian princesses was later in history)

*shrugs* People in China told me that Cantonese did a lot of the trading, which would explain why a lot of the loan words outside of China have a Canto-like-pronunciation. (Also said something about Qing... but I haven't looked that up yet. It's a rarer dialect/language, so harder to compare for.)

Pretty sure the author meant Japanese, but ran into a Korean name...

If the OP was correct and they got it from Star Trek, why couldn't they have picked up "Sulu" or "Hikaru"? (Or a manga. Hey, Sailor Moon... Mamoru?) Takei...

No, I'm betting on Kim Jong-Il. That's near enough to Japan, right? Saw it in a news story about kidnapping Japanese. Didn't read it and picked the name Kim from that. Even lazier than watching Star Trek in any fashion.


If it makes you feel even further better, I also tend to worry about certain cultural aspects in my novels. I typically write interracial relationships in my WIPs. And while a good majority of my characters are very Americanized or from Western culture, I still worry about getting the names and other cultural aspects right, like really worry. Because of incidents like this.

Blech. Competition. ^.~ Katana clearly isn't... but you, who are educated and care to look things up, are.

L. Y.
07-19-2012, 12:24 PM
Is it weird that the first thing I comment on isn't the appropriation of my culture, but the fact that holding those swords like that is really, really stupid? Because it is.

Yes it is. No traditional style wields katana in that fashion. Total artistic misrepresentation.

frimble3
07-19-2012, 01:09 PM
No, I'm betting on Kim Jong-Il. That's near enough to Japan, right? Saw it in a news story about kidnapping Japanese. Didn't read it and picked the name Kim from that. Even lazier than watching Star Trek in any fashion.


That makes appalling sense. She saw something about Japan, and picked the most Western looking, easiest to spell, name. Probably didn't even recognise the name, let alone the nationality of the guy who bore it.

BigWords
07-19-2012, 02:17 PM
Is it weird that the first thing I comment on isn't the appropriation of my culture, but the fact that holding those swords like that is really, really stupid? Because it is.

There's a TMNT promo image (or a cover, though I couldn't point to the exact issue without digging through three or four longboxes) of Leonardo crouching, his katanas held behind him like that. Might be one of the Savage Dragon pieces... Regardless, there are enough films with decent poses for the designers to know better.

ETA: Dammit, I forgot Poison Elves - there's a full-page ad from... Previews? It might have been back when it was still called I, Lucifer, but he's totally standing with the blades just like that, though the image is drawn facing the reader. And I have thought about this waaay too much.

Silver-Midnight
07-19-2012, 05:09 PM
(Note the heavy sarcasm): But you know that Vietnam doesn't exist in Asia or have Martial Arts. Isn't Asia one country like Africa?

金 means gold in Chinese (Jin, Mandarin/kam, Cantonese.)

Korean and Vietnamese, Cambodia and China have that surname. You are correct in saying that Vietnam also has "kim" as a pronunciation. Incidentally there is a history of Vietnamese brides to Korea too. (Indian too... but that was earlier in the history--Mongolian princesses was later in history)

*shrugs* People in China told me that Cantonese did a lot of the trading, which would explain why a lot of the loan words outside of China have a Canto-like-pronunciation. (Also said something about Qing... but I haven't looked that up yet. It's a rarer dialect/language, so harder to compare for.)

Pretty sure the author meant Japanese, but ran into a Korean name...

I think Kim, like many words and names, is one of those cases that crossed multiple languages but may(or may not) have specific meanings in each language(while still having the same general meaning).


If the OP was correct and they got it from Star Trek, why couldn't they have picked up "Sulu" or "Hikaru"? (Or a manga. Hey, Sailor Moon... Mamoru?) Takei...

I read a book one time that had a character named Ichigo. I didn't get it but I did read the blurb. :tongue I also read a book blurb that had a character named Raiden I think. :ROFL:



Blech. Competition. ^.~ Katana clearly isn't... but you, who are educated and care to look things up, are.

Well, that makes me feel better. :D

Tex_Maam
07-19-2012, 09:47 PM
hmmm sorry to ask a dumb question, but what is "ethnic" ?

Around my neck of the woods, it's the new-and-improved "colored" version 2.0. Like, I go to the grocery store, and one of the little placards hanging above aisle 18 says "ethnic hair care" - cuz that's where they put all the texturizers, relaxers, weave glue, etc that whitefolks don't use. (As if to say, "do you have an ethnicity? Here, let us help you with that.") I don't think that's a good use of the term, though - I'd defer to Wikipedia for the better definition (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethnic).


Huzzah for cultural appropriation...Though this book is far from the only fantasy about white people enjoying the mythological heritage of distant lands without bothering to be from them or have one's ancestors be from them or know anything about them or grow up learning of them or...

See, I know that this kind of thing is still all over the place, and that you totally cannot count on an agent or publisher to catch it. But I guess what really amazes me is that the *readers* (well, the Amazon and Goodreads reviewers, anyway) don't seem to notice or care. Yeah, it's YA, but so was "The Last Airbender," and there was MASSIVE fanrage over the whole racebending mess. It's a hell of a thing.

Dawnstorm
07-20-2012, 12:36 AM
Do we actually know the character Kim is supposed to be Japanese? The link doesn't say so, and after a bit of research I'm none the wiser, except that....


***Spoiler****


***If you intend to read this master piece for suspense, don't read on.****


...our handsome martial arts instructor is also possessed by a Samurai Spirit (or is his re-incarnation, I'm unsure on the particulars).

Rileigh (= "Senshi", female) and Kim (="Yoshido", male)

The spirits hail from the 15th century, if that's any help. I stopped researching the book at that point; I already spent more time on it than I ever intended to. I never found out Kim's heritage, but from the information I do have I could imagine him being Korean.

fireluxlou
07-20-2012, 01:04 AM
Do we actually know the character Kim is supposed to be Japanese? The link doesn't say so, and after a bit of research I'm none the wiser, except that....


***Spoiler****


***If you intend to read this master piece for suspense, don't read on.****


...our handsome martial arts instructor is also possessed by a Samurai Spirit (or is his re-incarnation, I'm unsure on the particulars).

Rileigh (= "Senshi", female) and Kim (="Yoshido", male)

The spirits hail from the 15th century, if that's any help. I stopped researching the book at that point; I already spent more time on it than I ever intended to. I never found out Kim's heritage, but from the information I do have I could imagine him being Korean.

Well the book is about her and him having a former life together in Japan in the 15th Century. So I assume Japanese. As he tries to convince her that she's his reincarnated soulmate Senshi.

Rachel Udin
07-20-2012, 02:00 AM
I read a book one time that had a character named Ichigo. I didn't get it but I did read the blurb. :tongue I also read a book blurb that had a character named Raiden I think. :ROFL:


If she named him Ichigo, I would have laughed my head off. It's a girl's name... and it means strawberry. Uhh... makes a great samurai there.
Ha! Daimyo! What would you have me do?
Slice strawberries with your katana.

Maybe she should have named him Kamehameha instead. Though if she was into Street Fighter... there is Ken ( Americajin no kinpatsu...)... Ryuu and Raiden. Ken does work as a Japanese name....


Well the book is about her and him having a former life together in Japan in the 15th Century. So I assume Japanese. As he tries to convince her that she's his reincarnated soulmate Senshi.
Or why you shouldn't watch Kill Bill, anime and manga and base Japanese culture off of that. Read Kokoro by Natsume Soseki. At least that had samurai and in his times there were samurai. And even then it didn't focus on the "exotic" parts of Japanese culture. (which I also get tired of in multicultural books... when it's about only the "exotic" but not cutting into how we are the same. The shoe clerk, for example. Why not a Japanese shoe clerk in Japan rather than the Geisha?)

Zoombie
07-20-2012, 04:40 AM
I use multiculturalism for TWO things: One, to get lots and lots of cussing through the censor and to show people that the world is a complex, vibrant place with thousands on thousands of interesting cultures, thoughtforms, social constructions and other human artifacts.

But mostly for the swearing.

This book actually sounds like it could be kind of fun, in the same way that Lollipop Chainsaw is a Japanese view of American cultural thingies. Of course, that kind of re-contextualization of other cultures requires a certain kind of grace, intelligence, or at the very least, an insane amount of balls to go ALL IN.

But then I remembered that there is also the problem that there is an uneven amount of exposure: American culture has lots and lots of stories told about it, so that you can examine the oddities without the oddities becoming the whole damn thing. Japan - while also being fairly "broadcasted" to the world - doesn't QUITE have the same level of omnipresence.

So...I guess...what I'm trying to say is that this book sounds terrible.

Silver-Midnight
07-20-2012, 07:03 AM
If she named him Ichigo, I would have laughed my head off. It's a girl's name... and it means strawberry. Uhh... makes a great samurai there.
Ha! Daimyo! What would you have me do?
Slice strawberries with your katana.

Maybe she should have named him Kamehameha instead. Though if she was into Street Fighter... there is Ken ( Americajin no kinpatsu...)... Ryuu and Raiden. Ken does work as a Japanese name.... For some reason, Ryuu sounds worse to me. :ROFL:



Or why you shouldn't watch Kill Bill, anime and manga and base Japanese culture off of that. Read Kokoro by Natsume Soseki. At least that had samurai and in his times there were samurai. And even then it didn't focus on the "exotic" parts of Japanese culture. (which I also get tired of in multicultural books... when it's about only the "exotic" but not cutting into how we are the same. The shoe clerk, for example. Why not a Japanese shoe clerk in Japan rather than the Geisha?)Or at least if you do use those for inspiration only take it so far.



I use multiculturalism for TWO things: One, to get lots and lots of cussing through the censor and to show people that the world is a complex, vibrant place with thousands on thousands of interesting cultures, thoughtforms, social constructions and other human artifacts.

But mostly for the swearing.

This book actually sounds like it could be kind of fun, in the same way that Lollipop Chainsaw is a Japanese view of American cultural thingies. Of course, that kind of re-contextualization of other cultures requires a certain kind of grace, intelligence, or at the very least, an insane amount of balls to go ALL IN.

But then I remembered that there is also the problem that there is an uneven amount of exposure: American culture has lots and lots of stories told about it, so that you can examine the oddities without the oddities becoming the whole damn thing. Japan - while also being fairly "broadcasted" to the world - doesn't QUITE have the same level of omnipresence.

So...I guess...what I'm trying to say is that this book sounds terrible.

That's an interesting way of thinking about it.

BenPanced
07-20-2012, 08:02 AM
Bad poses for funny webcomics make. (http://www.superstupor.com/sust01252012.shtml)

Silver-Midnight
07-20-2012, 10:25 AM
Bad poses for funny webcomics make. (http://www.superstupor.com/sust01252012.shtml)


:roll:

_Sian_
07-22-2012, 04:56 PM
You know something that's odd? I used to wish for books like this, with a white heroine in an Asian culture, because I spent the ages of 15 and 16 in Japan, and it would have been totally cool to imagine myself as such.

Invariably though, I would go pick up the book after getting all excited, then end up throwing it across the room because it was full of stereotypes. And not even Japanese ones.

So yeah, this sucks.

crunchyblanket
07-22-2012, 05:18 PM
What bugs me a little is the apparent wealth of glowing reviews on that Goodreads site - it might be a decent book, which is fine, but don't any of those readers recognise how problematic the whole 'cultural appropriation' issue is? Particularly when you throw the "Kim" thing into the mix...

fireluxlou
07-22-2012, 06:07 PM
What bugs me a little is the apparent wealth of glowing reviews on that Goodreads site - it might be a decent book, which is fine, but don't any of those readers recognise how problematic the whole 'cultural appropriation' issue is? Particularly when you throw the "Kim" thing into the mix...

Well if they're white they probably think it's ok and don't see the problematic issues, because well white people tend to think that everyone else's cultures are for their use that they can just plant themselves into. It's why at Halloween you get so many dressed up in Native American dress or in African dress such as the dashiki and a taqiyah, fez or kofia and kaftan. White people don't really see their own privilege and they like to think of themselves as 'colour blind'.

Tex_Maam
07-22-2012, 07:13 PM
Well if they're white they probably think it's ok and don't see the problematic issues, because well white people tend to think that everyone else's cultures are for their use that they can just plant themselves into. It's why at Halloween you get so many dressed up in Native American dress or in African dress such as the dashiki and a taqiyah, fez or kofia and kaftan. White people don't really see their own privilege and they like to think of themselves as 'colour blind'.

Your generalization is uncomfortably broad, but it's true that ignorance is a big issue, especially in the age group that this book is aimed at. Seeing the reviews for this book has made me realize how far the "diversity in YA" movement still has to go - it's good to be saying 'yes' to authors and protagonists from more diverse backgrounds, but we also need to be saying 'HELL no' to this stuff here.

crunchyblanket
07-22-2012, 07:40 PM
Well if they're white they probably think it's ok and don't see the problematic issues, because well white people tend to think that everyone else's cultures are for their use that they can just plant themselves into. It's why at Halloween you get so many dressed up in Native American dress or in African dress such as the dashiki and a taqiyah, fez or kofia and kaftan. White people don't really see their own privilege and they like to think of themselves as 'colour blind'.

Not all of us do, to be fair ;)

But it's a valid point in some cases...perhaps since "white western culture" is so ubiquitous and therefore free from appropriation since it is the dominant culture....many white people fail to comprehend why it might be seen as offensive rather than complimentary.

Kitty Pryde
07-22-2012, 08:38 PM
What bugs me a little is the apparent wealth of glowing reviews on that Goodreads site - it might be a decent book, which is fine, but don't any of those readers recognise how problematic the whole 'cultural appropriation' issue is? Particularly when you throw the "Kim" thing into the mix...

Perhaps the readers who would be put off by the troubling cultural appropriation and write bad reviews were ALREADY put off by the white "samurai" on the cover wielding some swords in a manner likely to lop her own hands off at the wrists.

fireluxlou
07-22-2012, 08:47 PM
Your generalization is uncomfortably broad, but it's true that ignorance is a big issue, especially in the age group that this book is aimed at. Seeing the reviews for this book has made me realize how far the "diversity in YA" movement still has to go - it's good to be saying 'yes' to authors and protagonists from more diverse backgrounds, but we also need to be saying 'HELL no' to this stuff here.

It is but there's a lot of ignorance in this world and from real life and people are quite oblivious to it. I suppose a wood for trees kind of thing in that sense. But it's a long way to go, I feel the same in regards to women's rights and sometimes it feels like we're regressing :(.


Not all of us do, to be fair ;)

But it's a valid point in some cases...perhaps since "white western culture" is so ubiquitous and therefore free from appropriation since it is the dominant culture....many white people fail to comprehend why it might be seen as offensive rather than complimentary.

This is true, but ignorance is still a big issue, Joe Public is very ignorant and you can hear that ignorance if you go to a pub :P.

So many things to fight for. And people who do have a problem with this book won't be reviewing it and the few that do would probably give it a bad review but it doesn't look like those are the dominant reviews on the website.

ETA: when I am on the books page Ceilidh's review (http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/246340844) is first because I follow her reviews and it's 1 star. Wendy's review (http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/244478850) is 2 star because I follow her reviews as well.

crunchyblanket
07-22-2012, 09:37 PM
Perhaps the readers who would be put off by the troubling cultural appropriation and write bad reviews were ALREADY put off by the white "samurai" on the cover wielding some swords in a manner likely to lop her own hands off at the wrists.

Hah. Good point.

Bartholomew
07-22-2012, 09:42 PM
In my sci-fi & fantasy stories, the inclusion of different races and ethnic groups goes hand in hand with travel. There's nothing to learn at point B if the destination is the same Federation Base / Medieval European Towne that the characters had to leave at the story's start.

BenPanced
07-23-2012, 12:01 AM
Perhaps the readers who would be put off by the troubling cultural appropriation and write bad reviews were ALREADY put off by the white "samurai" on the cover wielding some swords in a manner likely to lop her own hands off at the wrists.
Considering the bad review bullshit going on over there at the moment, would YOU want to post anything that even remotely suggests It's Just Not A Very Good Book?

Rachel Udin
07-23-2012, 04:02 AM
It is but there's a lot of ignorance in this world and from real life and people are quite oblivious to it. I suppose a wood for trees kind of thing in that sense. But it's a long way to go, I feel the same in regards to women's rights and sometimes it feels like we're regressing :(.
And the lack of women's rights is kind of emphasized by the book... from the reviews. One has to be strong in body and mind.




This is true, but ignorance is still a big issue, Joe Public is very ignorant and you can hear that ignorance if you go to a pub :P. *sighs* Yes, the positive reviews are mainly from white women if you look at them, rather than from PoCs. It makes one wonder if they actually notice that no PoCs have given a thumbs up yet. But, I guess the bubble is strong.

I do wish the asiophilia wouldn't make me so sick reading the reviews. I don't mind people *liking a culture* but I do mind when they only like the things that make it different from their own and distance themselves from the people in the culture from being, ya know, human?

It's OK to like Samurai, Geisha, katana, kimono, tabi, yukata (though I doubt anyone knows what that is), summer festivals. But one should also examine the darker and also the more normal sides of ALL cultures. So for Japan... Hiroshima and Nagasaki... the salaryman, the office lady. The history of women's rights in Japan. The cool thing about cucumbers being pickled on a stick. (big ones) The importation of American culture. The structure of the modern Japanese school system. The Rape of Nanking. Comfort Women. The 10,000 types of Wasabi (OK, exagerated...). Japanese toilets. What makes a person in Japan cry (I know, it's surprisingly the same thing as other people around the world). The restaurant owner. The family business that's been around forever. Funeral Directors. The feelings of being at a wedding. Japanese humor (which ranges widely and is surprisingly similar in ways to American humor.), what makes someone angry (I know... surprisingly the same as everyone else.). And most of all the condition of being an individual in a society that sometimes you like and dislike, making one human.

All that loving Japanese culture to make it exotic, I can't agree with that. Cultures shouldn't be treated like trends. They are. They exist. *sighs*

And BTW, while Japan is behind in women's rights in some fields, I do think the representation of women's troubles in the media tend to be ahead by some spots, but that's another subject entirely.

And because it came up... the creator of Sailor Moon (Naoko Takeuchi) said this: (Better translated):


The people of the world, all of them, whether they have a different race or a different language or a different lifestyle, tend to only think about what we cannot share. But our brains are all the same. We are the same people. With everyone’s strength, we can all share the same feelings. That much is obvious. But it won’t come easily.And I'm pretty sure she did a better job than Katana did. (BTW, that quote gets to me every time.... It's one awesome quote.)


Perhaps the readers who would be put off by the troubling cultural appropriation and write bad reviews were ALREADY put off by the white "samurai" on the cover wielding some swords in a manner likely to lop her own hands off at the wrists.
Because you know that women are helpless without men and want to do things like slice up their wrists.

Dawnstorm
07-23-2012, 10:25 PM
Particularly when you throw the "Kim" thing into the mix...

But what exactly is that Kim thing?

From Wendy's review linked to in fireluxlou's post:


It was also bothersome that there were wasn't an explanation behind Kim's Korean or Vietnamese name, even though most of the influences seemed to be Japanese.

What sort of character do we have here, then? A Japanese with a strange name? A Korean who's obsessed with Japanese culture because he's become aware of his past life? Maybe he's been taken over early in life?

Now, the only way for me to actually form an opinion on that is to read the book. The excerpts on google books I've read make this... less than appealing. But I don't think that the Kim thing gives us evidence of the author's ignorance or the name "Kim". (It's inconclusive.)

I'm white, and part of it is my own history of shallow cultural representation. I'm ashamed to admit it, but having a Korean being obsessed by Japanese is something that my teenage self would have found a clever way to introduce "diversity". You know, because they're both Asian. I wouldn't have spent much thought on the difficulty of a double reference (e.g. I wouldn't have researched Korean-Japanese relations, for example).

I'm thinking that there's a difference between I-don't-care-beyond-exotic-thrills and priviledge-induced inertia covering a general curiosity. A lot hinges on whether the author actually knows the origin of the name. Even the appropriation game has its intricacies.

I hope I'm making more sense than last time. The issue I'm having here is hard to pin down. I don't want to insist on a minor detail for the sake of it.

Silver-Midnight
07-24-2012, 02:27 AM
The only sad part about all of this is that I've seen much, much worse. *shudder*

Rachel Udin
07-24-2012, 05:08 AM
The only sad part about all of this is that I've seen much, much worse. *shudder*
True that.

Sony wants to make Akira into a white movie.

I mean white as white can be.

And then you have the Kung Fu legends where they have a white guy play a half-Chinese dude, developed by Bruce Lee, taken from Bruce Lee. Why not cast Bruce Lee? Because he was not stereotypically serene enough. Yay.

Whitey Samurai Tom Cruise. 'nough said.

or this Gem from Conquest of Space:

Sergeant Imoto: Some years ago, my country chose to fight a terrible war. It was bad, I do not defend it, but there were reasons. Somehow those reasons are never spoken of. To the Western world at that time, Japan was a fairybook nation: little people living in a strange land of rice-paper houses... people who had almost no furniture, who sat on the floor and ate with chopsticks. The quaint houses of rice paper, sir: they were made of paper because there was no other material available. And the winters in Japan are as cold as they are in Boston. And the chopsticks: there was no metal for forks and knives and spoons, but slivers of wood could suffice. So it was with the little people of Japan, little as I am now, because for countless generations we have not been able to produce the food to make us bigger. Japan's yesterday will be the world's tomorrow: too many people and too little land. That is why I say, sir, there is urgent reason for us to reach Mars: to provide the resources the human race will need if they are to survive. That is also why I am most grateful to be found acceptable, sir. I volunteer.

General Samuel T. Merritt: Thank you, Sergeant Imoto. You're not a little man. And I'm not even getting into black facing, yellow facing, brown facing and making people play stereotypes or forcing them to play white people in order to be accepted. (See Once Upon a Time for that one. I have a LOOONNNGGG rant stored up for Once Upon a Time. Long.)

So yeah, I've seen worse... but I keep hoping for better.

Anna L.
07-24-2012, 10:14 PM
I can only hope my Japanese mythology novels aren't as ill-conceived as that one.

I think I did my research, but the last word rests with the readers (especially readers familiar with the source culture).

BigWords
07-25-2012, 03:13 AM
Sony wants to make Akira into a white movie.

FWIW, based on the ongoing (and increasingly vitriolic) backlash they are experiencing from fans, we might yet be spared that travesty.

Anna L.
07-26-2012, 09:13 PM
FWIW, based on the ongoing (and increasingly vitriolic) backlash they are experiencing from fans, we might yet be spared that travesty.

The backlash didn't work for The Airbender movie...