High School Girl?

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Spoilers ahead, watch the video first ;) 

If you watch the ad again, you can appreciate the quiet subtlety with which it shows its hand: It’s less of a reveal than a call to be more attentive. The opening scene, for example, focuses not on the teacher but on what she is holding: An image of a piece of art depicting a woman. This image is flipped at the end to reflect how easily we can be fooled once we’ve looked at something, decided what it is, and moved on.Here’s the making-of video:

Periodical Political Post *68

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Go For It, Nakamura!

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It’s almost like we’re in a modern renaissance of queer anime and manga. Titles like My Brother’s HusbandMy Lesbian Experience With Loneliness and Yuri!!! on Ice have broken out to become mainstream hits. The latest release that has us excited is Go For It, Nakamura!, a manga about a young gay teen who tries to work up the courage to befriend his crush.

The English-language edition of Go For It, Nakamura! came out on July 3, and it’s already been getting positive reviews. The book collects the original story, published in the Boyslove manga anthology Opera.

Go For It, Nakamura! by Syundei, tells the story of Nakamura, a shy high-schooler who falls in love with Hirose, his classmate. Unfortunately, they don’t know each other, and Nakamura would desperately love to change that — but he’s worried that his klutziness might turn Hirose off. Also, Nakamura has a pet octopus. (That doesn’t really have to do with anything, it’s just awesome.)

Though when people think of BL manga, they often think of highly sexual works with dubious anatomy — in My Lesbian Experience, author Nagata Kabi refers to the “yaoi hole, a mysterious organ that doesn’t appear to be the anus is position, shape or function” — Go For It, Nakamura! isn’t even about progressing beyond friendship. While there are hints that Hirose might himself be gay, Nakamura is satisfied to start out as friends — and if things progress, they progress.

For Japanese readers who want more Go For It, Nakamura!, as of last year, a sequel, Go For It More, Nakamura!, is serialised in current issues of Opera. There’s no word yet as to an English translation of the sequel.

Practical & Queer-Friendly: Japan’s School Uniforms go Unisex

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An emerging number of Japanese schools are introducing unisex uniforms or flexible uniform codes in an effort to support queer students. School officials hope the move will ease the mental anguish of these kids, who are usually required to wear gender-based uniforms typified by jackets with stand-up collars and trousers for boys, and sailor-type outfits with skirts for girls.

At Kashiwanoha Junior High School students can freely choose whether to wear skirts or slacks or ties or ribbons with blazers, regardless of their sex. Originally, the school did not intend to make students wear a uniform, but had to change course because nearly 90 percent of parents and prospective students surveyed wanted one.

A panel of parents, teachers, prospective students and education board members was set up to discuss the uniform designs. Some said consideration should be paid to LGBT students and that girls should also be allowed to wear trousers because they are more practical and warmer in winter.

“We thought it would be better to let students wear something they feel comfortable in if they have to struggle to come to school because of uniforms,” said Koshin Taki, the vice principal of Kashiwanoha Junior High. “We chose a subdued colour and check patterns so the uniform would be suitable for any student.”

Similar moves are spreading in Japan, with a junior high school in Fukuoka Prefecture preparing to abandon the stand-up collars and sailor suits for blazers that will let students mix and match with skirts or trousers when the new school year kicks off. In Tokyo, the Setagaya Ward Board of Education is set to follow suit, while boards of education in the cities of Osaka and Fukuoka plan to broach the topic in the near future.

Anri Ishizaki, who heads FRENS, a nonprofit organization supporting LGBT people, said trying to fit all students in gender-specific uniforms can be a burden to sexual minorities who are afraid to come out.

“Some students are embarrassed and cannot concentrate on their studies because of uniforms. In some cases, they stop going to school,” said Ishizaki. “Although uniforms are not the only factors tormenting them, it is a significant element as they are required to wear them all the time,” Ishizaki added.

In 2014, there were 606 cases of consultations related to gender dysphoria, according to a survey among Japanese schools. The following year, the ministry for education issued a notice encouraging schools to improve support for sexual minorities and pay consideration to their clothing, hairstyles, and bathroom use.

Tombow Co., the uniform maker picked by Kashiwanoha Junior High, said it began developing unisex uniforms after schools began making more inquiries about them around the time of the ministry’s 2015 notice. Ayumi Okuno, a designer at Tombow, said she found in interviews with LGBT students that many do not want to wear uniforms that clearly differentiate male and female shapes and silhouettes, so she tries not to highlight certain aspects, such as curves that emphasise femininity.

“We are also offering various suggestions to schools so they can select what works best for them,” said Okuno, noting that it can accommodate flexible dress codes like the one at Kashiwanoha Junior High, styles that suit the gender identity of each student, or even the frequent use of gym clothes except for ceremonies and formal occasions.

Although the two schools mentioned above allow female transgender students to wear skirts, Okuno believes such a product will be difficult to develop and market. “Even if schools and students accept such a uniform, it is likely to be frowned upon by many people in society,” she said.

While the introduction of a new dress code is seen as a positive step forward, it will be difficult to take such measures without accidentally outing sexual minorities, experts say. In the 2014 survey, only about 20 percent of the students in the 606 consultations on gender dysphoria had revealed their gender identities to their peers, and around 60 percent were in the closet.

Kashiwanoha Junior High’s Taki said he is carefully monitoring students’ reactions to the new dress code as some of the female students are fearful about drawing special attention for wearing trousers. He emphasised that the dress code offers options not only to transgender students but also to those who want to be practical.

“I hope it will help students choose what they want to wear without necessarily disclosing their gender identity,” he said. 

via The Japan Times

Backstreet Girls

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Back Street Girls, originally a Japanese manga series by Jasmine Gyuh that was released in 2015, will be turned into an anime.

There’s two sides to every story, and in the case of Back Street Girls there’s two sides to the leading men, too: yakuza and idols. After a trio of hapless yakuza make an unforgivable mistake, they have two options: Commit honourable suicide or go to Thailand for gender reassignment surgery so they can become a popular idol trio. 

Once a yakuza, always a yakuza, but these three are going to try their best to make their boss loads of money as idols. To get in the groove, two flavors of promos have been released. First up we have the hard-boiled (yet still bubbly) gokudo version (above), followed by the idol version /(below). The only real difference is the voice acting in the back half of each promo.

The series premieres on Japanese television on 3 July. It will air on BS11, Tokyo MX, and MBS. It will likely also be part of anime streaming service Crunchyroll.