This is a particularly Asia-centric edition of What I’ve Been Reading, and also a particularly serious one.

  • This one’s from back in 2016. It’s often said that characters in manga and anime look “white.” Writing for her personal site, Japanese media scholar Rachel Matt Thorn explains that that is an attribution of the Western “default” category to Japanese media, where the same default does not apply.
  • This one’s from 2018. Writing for Foreign Policy, journalist Joanna Chiu tells of how sexual misconduct in foreign bureaus is harming female journalists and media employees and also affecting the coverage of women’s issues in East Asia.
  • Finally, a Twitter thread from @diefenbackerj from back in 2018. Some context: shortly after YouTuber Logan Paul’s ill-fated Japan trip, a number of commentators made videos about the subject, including media personality Reina Scully. This thread is a response to that video, linking Paul’s behaviour to the wider dehumanization and stereotypical essentialization of Japanese people in Western commentary. I think @diefenbackerj somewhat exaggerates how severe those attitudes are in the mainstream, but I think he touches on an important point: people reacted negatively to Paul because of the severity of what he did, not because of the underlying attitudes themselves.

That’s all for now. I’ll try to collect lighter articles next time.