mjj (flemmings) wrote,

September stats, now with Bechdel and Johnson ratings


1) Nihonjin no Shiranai Nihongo

--passes the Bechdel test (the Swede and the Frenchwoman talk like samurai and yakuza to each other, or talk about talking like samurai and yakuza-- 'Sensei said we mustn't use those phrases--' '--but we can use them with each other!!' And of course it passes the Johnson test (not me-- the published Johnson): the Japanese teacher talks to her Chinese, Taiwanese, Thai, middle eastern and South American students about Japanese, and why one mustn't write a letter in Japanese the same way you'd write it in Chinese. I don't know anything about phrasing in Chinese but to go by this episode you're a *lot* more indirect and elegant in Chinese. 'Look, there was a time when we used these flowery phrases even in army dispatches-" (this rang a faint bell: something that must have come up in kanji study) "--but really, now we just *don't*."

Marvellous manga. I hope she comes out with another volume. No, I didn't know there was once a whole slew of variant kana derived from different kanji, and that the present kana set didn't get standardized until Meiji.

2) Komahoshi 7-11

--passes the Johnson, naturally, and may just possibly squeak past the Bechdel if you take those talks on friendship among the girls to be 'friendship' generally even if the girl they're talking to is thinking about friendship with a specific guy.

3) Akatsuki no Ryuuouji/ Dragon Prince of the Dawn
4) Hakuchou-gawa no Honoo/ Conflagration on Swan River

--two light fantasy novels, 1&2 in the Soul of the Dragon King series, which is much less fascinating than it sounds. Fails the Bechdel stunningly- one female character per volume who exists as quasi-love interest to die or be spurned, as the case may be (though the charas are pretty cool in themselves, the homoerotesis of the series keeps them sidelined.) As for the Johnson-- this is a Japanese fantasy where some people have silver hair and purple eyes, and others have brown and blue, or red and green, or blond and blue-grey, and you name it. As with manga, I'm not convinced that the blond-haired blue-eyed characters are intended to be western and foreign and not-Us. They're blond blue-eyed Japanese. So yeah, pass.


Amelia Peabody-

5) Crocodile on the Sandbank
6) Curse of the Pharaohs
7) The Mummy Case
8) Lion in the Valley

Ah well. Passes the Bechdel, just. Talking to the subsidiary love interest of the moment about dodging a murder charge is still not talking about men. Passes the Johnson on a technicality, since various shady antique dealers talk to their minions and whatever; but since it's a) a first-person narrative by a white woman, and b) a murder mystery, once again the characters are sacrificed to genre requirements.
Tags: japanese, manga_09, reading_09

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