Black Masculinity as Performed in Japanese Visual Media

by Kendall Bazemore

Japan has long produced visual media that has captivated readers and viewers for decades. Manga and anime are two classic mediums through which fantastical worlds and profound characters come to life. Of all the hundreds of thousands of characters that exist in these worlds, there are a handful that share a close resemblance to African Americans. Though these characters are not always explicitly identified as black, they are heavily coded as black or Afro-descended. The aesthetic of black coded characters in anime and manga reflect the same ideologies of black males in U.S media and society. Popular series like Naruto and Samurai Champloo both use tropes of black males and demonstrate common ideas about their masculinity and how they are read by others. Hip hop is the vehicle through which Japan understands American blackness which manifests itself in various ways in Japanese media.

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Nipponbashi Street Festa: Cosplay Invades Osaka

Japan. The land of anime and manga. When those two are brought up, usually the district of Akihabara in the city of Tokyo comes to mind. Sure, Akihabara still is the mecca of countless arcades with floors full of games, stores full of anime merchandise, and tons of specialty stores that will probably have what you are looking for. However, Akihabara is not the only area where these things can be found.

Nipponbashi, otherwise known as Den Den Town, can be seen as the Akihabara of Osaka. While not the size of Akihabara, Den Den Town still caters to the needs of many nerds, myself included. The laidback and easygoing pace of Den Den Town is a lot more relaxing than the hustle and bustle of Akiba. Den Den Town is also home to one of my favorite events of the year: the Nipponbashi Street Festa.

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NOCs of the Roundtable: The Darkest Timelines

I guess Bryan Singer has a complex about Marvel movie announcements that aren’t about the X-Men. Back in October, on the same day Disney/Marvel released the long-awaited trailer forĀ Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Singer and Fox Instagrammed a teaser vid of their own X-Men: Days of Future Past trailer. So last week, when Sony debuted their trailer forĀ The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Singer took to twitter to divert the attention of those fans who might have been willing to give Marc Webb’s sequel a chance:

https://twitter.com/BryanSinger/status/408707930116980736

Also because the internet has a short attention span. If the X-Men eighth-quel is indeed about the classic “Age of Apocalypse” storyline from the 90s — in which a mutant time-travels to the past and accidentally kills Xavier, thus setting off an alternate timeline in which Magneto assembles the X-Men, only to have Apocalypse choose that moment to launch a war that places mutants at the top of the food chain because he slaughters humans by the millions (holy run-ons, Batman!) — then that would mean back-to-back alternate timeline movies for the X-Men. But it got the Nerds to reflect on other media that took advantage of the alternate timeline/evil twin conceit. So we took to the Roundtable once again.

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