Japan, So Narrowly Defined

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The new issue of Weekly Pureiboi offers us an epic dichotomy to titillate our senses: “Japanese Idols vs. World Sexy”

On the cover, the issue’s featured women are organized into two distinct groups:

Japan Idols World Sexy
Ishii Meguru
Terada Yuki
Ohtomo Sayuri
Suzuki Reona
Kuriyama Chiaki
Paris Hilton
Beyonce
Ozawa Maria

The left-hand column makes sense: all four of the girls are Japanese race-queen/idol types with proper Japanese names. (Although “Leona” sounds like she could be half-Jewish.)

The right-hand group, however, is extremely problematic. Ignoring the fact that no one finds Paris Hilton “sexy,” Beyonce and Paris at least fit the most basic description of being global celebrities. Why then is purely Japanese actress and model Kuriyama Chiaki — the magazine’s cover model — part of “World Sexy”? This affiliation seems like an implicit acknowledgment that Kuriyama’s popularity stems solely from her appearance in Kill Bill. Objectively speaking, she does not fit the normal profile of a “hot girl” in Japan, and Pureiboi appears to feel the need to legitimize lust towards her from the perspective of popularity abroad.

Ozawa Maria’s inclusion in the “world sexy” group, on the other hand, boils down to question of nation-state being strictly defined through racial homogeneity. Ozawa is a 21-year old half-Japanese, half-Canadian porn star and Christian Academy in Japan graduate whose career is based exclusively in Japan. You may know her from such films as 2006’s Barely There Mosaic and 2007’s Popular Fashion Model Maria Ozawa Nakadashi Raped for 20 Consecutive Times! Ozawa is not especially known outside of the Japanese adult video market. Unlike Kuriyama, she has no feet on the global stage. Pureiboi consciously or unconsciously placed her outside of the “Japan” group only because she has what amounts to impure blood and semi-Western features.

So here, being a “Japanese idol” requires popularity originating in the Japanese market — unless you are half-Japanese, which makes “Japanese” categorization impossible. Even in matters of objectifying women, “Japan” remains so narrowly defined.

Marxy wrote a lot of essays back on his old site Néomarxisme. This is one of them.

23 Responses

  1. Carl Says:

    This Just In!

    Skebie Japanese Old Dudes Kinda Racist!

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  2. marxy Says:

    You’re just feeling overempowered from that fancy Typekey.

  3. Dennis_Mahon Says:

    Objectively speaking, she[Kuriyama] does not fit the normal profile of a “hot girl” in Japan, and Pureiboi appears to feel the need to legitimize lust towards her from the perspective of her popularity abroad.

    Is Chiaki really so unpopular in Japan? As for myself, I thought her acting in Last Quarter showed real promise.

  4. Dennis_Mahon Says:

    Damn–I guess italics don’t work w/ typekey.

  5. marxy Says:

    Italics don’t work because this site is totally broken.

    Kuriyama has been on a super push ever since Kill Bill. There is no reason that Pureiboi had to justify their decision to put her on the cover unless the editors themselves felt weird about it.

  6. Adamu Says:

    OK I feel really bad but “Popular Fashion Model Maria Ozawa Nakadashi Raped for 20 Consecutive Times!” just made my day.

    And now that I think about it there’s no efficient way to translate “nakadashi rape” There are English words for the opposite though (coitus interruptus, the pullout method). Anyway…

  7. Muri-yari ni reading inclusion as reverse exclusion? Says:

    Maybe they thought that an excessively non-Japanese “sekai sekushii” line-up would alienate readers, and used all the (reader-)familiar girls with (reader-)plausible “internationality” that they could find.

    Or is your main hypothesis that they wanted to put Ozawa and Kuriyama in the issue, but couldn’t have unless they made up a way (the “Vs!” theme) to circumvent insufficient Japaneseness?

  8. marxy Says:

    “Maybe they thought that an excessively non-Japanese “sekai sekushii” line-up would alienate readers”

    They only had a “sekai sekushii” line-up because they named it that. They could have just put in Kuriyama and Ozawa and no one would have ever thought there was any kind of internationalist taste going on.

  9. Muriyarikun Says:

    I reiterate: that Weely Playboy editors think “sekai sekushii” is an acceptable heading for pictures of Ozawa and Kuriyama doesn’t lead to the (as yet unsubstantiated) conclusion that WP editors think the pictures would be unacceptable without such a heading.

    You say “being half-canadian is enough to be refused ‘Japanese’ classification”

    When the evidence says “being half-canadian is enough to be given ‘World’ classification”.

    The latter doesn’t prove the former.

  10. marxy Says:

    Okay, but their active use of the title when no title was necessary shows that they are INTERESTED in placing Kuriyama and Ozawa IN OPPOSITION to normal Japanese idols.

    “When the evidence says “being half-canadian is enough to be given ‘World’ classification”.”

    Look, the dichotomy is very, very simple: Japan vs. the World. So, how do we choose sides, Haikara? If someone has any amount of non-Japanese blood – despite the fact that they have grown up in Japan, speak Japanese, and work only in a Japanese market – then they are in the “World” side. Being half-Japanese doesn’t get you into the “Japan” side.

    One of the two groups is much more exclusive, no? I mean, Kuriyama can’t even get in the Japan side.

  11. rei Says:

    if they wanted to add to their “world sexy” list, why didn’t they add Leah Dizon???

    perhaps it is more of a “kawaii”-passive thing VS a “kakkoii”-assertive thing.

    (not that I’m defending the pervs at weekly playboy)

  12. marxy Says:

    “Leah Dizon”

    Yes, so obviously “Sekai Sexy.”

    And the Japanese booby idol girls don’t seem so “passive.” They seem pretty aggressively sexy rather than coy.

  13. Mulboyne Says:

    I haven’t read the article but is it possible that the dichotomy they are drawing up is between typical idol types who are popular in Japan and unconventional types who are also popular in Japan? Popularity overseas not being relevant. That would make more sense of Maria Ozawa’s inclusion since she has a limited profile overseas while the other three “world sexy” names are all well-known in Japan. The article would be less “we like these girls but they like these ones” than “we like all these girls”.

    With that reading, the odd one out would be Kuriyama rather than Ozawa since she is 100% Japanese and so unconventional in a different way. It’s not as if Tarantino lifted her from obscurity. Although her Kill Bill appearance was a big career boost, she had already made an impression in Battle Royale and had some decent modelling contracts.

  14. randomcommenter Says:

    Maybe the editor reads overseas Japanese oriented pron sites? Maria Ozawa is insanely popular on JAV sites.

    If anything, I’d say Paris Hilton and Beyonce are the weird choices. I’m guessing the original idea was “Japanese considered sexy in Japan vs. Japanese considered sexy overseas”, but they just realized that there aren’t enough known well enough to make an article about, so their objective got muddled.

  15. Chuck F Says:

    What This really brings up in my mind and makes me wonder is who and what / why do they choose to market a star as half or not.

    I’m saying looking at someone like Ozawa and perhapes even people like Becky to a degree vs someone like Kimura Kaela where it isn’t evident at all in her marketing/ almost ignored. Would a Kimura Kaela be considered a world star? I’m sure there are plenty of other examples out there of folks that are half and they just don’t really bring it up that often and they certianly aren’t marketed that way.

  16. marxy Says:

    Becky and Kaela don’t do booby-stuff, so they aren’t included anyway.

  17. r. Says:

    hey, speaking of P.H. check this out:
    http://www.fundamentallysound.org/blog/2007/05/el_ley.html

  18. marxy Says:

    Hey, r. Nice to have you back.

  19. Laotree Says:

    “no efficient way to translate ‘nakadashi rape'”

    “intravaginal ejaculation” is a little too clinical, but I think the industry term is a “creampie”.

    Well he doesn’t do “booby stuff” either, but Wentz Eiji would be an example of someone who can be successful as a half-Japanese in Japan without people being too weird about it. (Maybe it helps that he’s a man and also doesn’t speak fluent English.)

    My unborn half-Japanese kid already has a modeling career; the clinic is using one of his ultrasound pictures on a poster!

  20. marxy Says:

    Wentz is Burning. I never would have guessed. That explains why WaT is so HoT.

    A few years ago Nikkei Entertainment had a side-bar asking “Why are the helpers on Waratte II tomo all foreigners?” They aren’t foreigners. They are half-Japanese kids raised in Japan who probably can only speak Japanese.

  21. r. Says:

    wasn’t one of the 1/2 guys on waratte ii tomo like, fired a while a go for drug-related stuff? you probably already wrote about that.

  22. r. Says:

    oh, and speaking of the whole “sekai sexy” thing…next time you run into m. ueda, you’ve got to get her to explain her whole “showa sexy” idea. very interesting stuff.

  23. Adamu Says:

    Ah, and here I was thinking creampies only applied to anal. And speaking of anal creampies, Adult Video News has a very important announcement:

    http://www.avn.com/index.php?Primary_Navigation=Articles&Action=View_Article&Content_ID=82799