Ex-Army has returned to his anime-loving ways by posting plenty of moe girls and links to SanCom. Therefore the time is right to discuss whether what effects a love for anime has on right-wing viewers.
Well, much as I’d like to, I just can’t please otaku and right-wing fanatics at the same time, except for where they overlap, and I’m not sure there’s a lot of overlap.
Contrary to this view, there is in fact a huge overlap. The question is whether it should be celebrated or denigrated. Is anime good for the right wing? Will reactionaries become more effective reactionaries if they watch more anime? Or will they become apathetic shut-ins?
Let’s start by shamelessly copying a picture of Hinomoto Oniko. Hinomoto-chan is a brilliant example of counter-propaganda. Japanese leftists might be vulnerable to internationalism and self-destructive tendencies. Chinese Communists stir up anti-Japanese hatred by the epithet “Japanese Devil-children.” By reading those characters as a Japanese personal name, the Japanese interpret this epithet as a girl’s name – Hinomoto Oniko. (She is often depicted with a naginata, a traditional woman’s weapon that shows respect to reactionary sex roles.) This is a classic example of puncturing the self-important self-righteousness of a self-anointed, self-absorbed propagandist. Japanese artists can defend their national pride by using art as a weapon. So artistic skills can definitely advance right-wing nationalism.
It is noteworthy that 2ch is a central point of Japanese geek subculture. 2ch is widely imitated by stinking gaijin such as the denizens of 4chan and SanCom. 2ch’s right-wing otaku content is repackaged by a more navigable site called Alfalfa Mosaic.
Alfalfa Mosaic … is also famous for its right-wing political bent. In this, Alfalfa Mosaic’s “taste culture” — defined as “clusters of cultural forms which embody similar values and aesthetic standards” — seamlessly combines the otaku love of manga, anime, lolicon, and games with populist right-wing politics.
Despite a slew of topics that mainstream society would consider “marginal,” Alexa has the Alfalfa Mosaic listed as the 117th most visited in Japan, …
The majority of Alfalfa Mosaic posts would fall under the category otaku culture. This includes video games, anime series (especially involving young girls), manga (especially involving young girls), cosplay, vocaloid music, collectible card games, and tokusatsu series.
The next most common category could be broadly defined as politics. The current controversy is the universally conservative worry about welfare benefit fraud (i.e., the Komoto Junichi incident). Alfalfa Mosaic readers also are interested in China, North Korea, and South Korea — usually highlighted in negative news about the countries. (Taiwan, in contrast, is commonly portrayed in a positive light.)
In general, 2ch’s brand of conservatism is mostly an identity politics based in populist resentment against other minorities — women, zainichi Koreans, Asians, gays, new religions, the poor, outcast populations — who are seen to be given an unfair attention from the government and society. They are obsessed with the idea of a conspiracy where broadcasters like Fuji TV are “forcing” (gori-oshi) Korean content onto the Japanese public. 2ch posters see themselves as the protectors of traditional Japanese values, the arbiters of “common sense.” They are the very angry “silent majority.”
In the realm of domestic politics, this translates into being against expanding the welfare state but since 3/11, they have also become anti-TEPCO. In foreign affairs, they are strongly against North Korea and China, as well as suspicious of South Korea’s recent economic success.
But aren’t most subcultures in Japan politically conservative?
Yes, true subcultures now skew right — but in different ways. Yakuza are the traditional manpower for uyoku organizations. Yankii/gyaru exhibit archetypal working class/lower middle class values of early marriage and traditional gender roles. 2ch, on the other hand, exhibits views of populist conservatism often labeled “net uyoku.”
The best comparison for otaku, however, may be with other consumer segments, which are almost wholly apolitical. Fashion magazines do not have anything that could be construed as “political” content.
Are you saying that moe media has conservative themes?
Not at all. Most of these series are made for pre-teen girls or made to look like they are made for pre-teen girls. They too have nothing that could directly be called “political content.”
The creators of so many classic anime and manga media series come from a background in left-wing politics! Otaku can’t all be right-leaning.
Yes, but Alfalfa Mosaic is not particularly interested in the anti-war messages of Gundam and other classic anime. The curation focuses on series featuring adorable little girls, nominally not made by the great post-Leftist manga writers. We’re also talking about the consumers of moe content — not the artists themselves.
So are you saying that moe makes you conservative or that conservative politics make you want to read about fictional little girls?
I don’t think these two interests share a causative relationship. I would suggest they are correlated, but even if you don’t believe that, they do appear to sit happily within the same subculture.
Explaining the link between the two requires some level of psychological analysis, which gets messy when you assign motives to an entire segment of people. That being said, being openly interested in “little girls” — especially when done in tandem with berating feminism and modern Japanese women — suggests the desire for more traditional gender roles, male dominance, or at least a disinterest in maturity among the opposite sex. Hard not to see this as a reactionary position in the context of the female gender’s steady (but slow) progress in the last half-century.
For a Western analogy, consider the 16-year-old man-children who lurk on 4chan. Their romantic lives are mostly miserable. They are socially disenfranchised, sexually frustrated, and not gainfully employed. They like violence – at least in video games – and they would love a chance to be genuinely chivalrous with the sort of pure, idealized maiden that one can find in many anime shows.
This is the “net right-wing,” the “net uyoku.” They wish that they could have adventures and glory and old-fashioned sex roles. The important question is: Will devotion to anime make these otaku into right-wing activists, or apathetic slackers? Certainly they can make transgressive art, and they can practice huge amounts of Alinsky-style media propagandism to dominate discourse about right-wing history. Consider, for example, the profoundly subversive aspects of fan service anime Asobi Ni Iku Yo!
This anime showed a pretty blonde girl doing Hitler-style oratory. That would never get the green light in Hollywood. That is the kind of right-wing theme that will never be allowed in the USA.
Anime is of particular interest to the manosphere because it embraces a great many anti-feminist themes. I suspect that when Western women start to abandon feminism, they will signal their loyalty to a new patriarchy by imitating anime girls.