Tag Archives: america

Compensated Dating in the USA

As part of a series on getting by with little money, Business Insider ran an article detailing how a Manhattan twenty-something uses dating website Match.com to get free dinners and booze. Jessica Sporty’s progression from merely being frugal to using sex appeal to obtain material goods unleashed an utterly predictable storm of reactions from all corners of the political spectrum.

Really, though, this isn’t anything new. Putting aside invocations of “the oldest profession,” the more moderate phenomenon of compensated dating has been around for quite some time. Called “enko” in Japan, or “enjo kosai,” it involves paying for a woman’s company more than her body, though depending on where the buyer and seller fall on the spectrum of sexual permissiveness, sex is not out of the question. Naturally, a “reverse” version exists as well: in The Great Happiness Space, a male host at an Osaka club describes the emotional toll of having sex with several paying women each week.

Perhaps the telling part is that unlike in Japan, most of the US seems to labor under the illusion that such practices are a thing of the past.  “What woman does this sort of thing?”  America had compensated dating in the 1920s, along with flappers and financially liberated women, but it just as surely had attempts to legislate these out of sight and out of existence.  According to an ABC News survey, 30% of single men above the age of 30 have paid for sex.

And yet this sort of thing is distasteful to us now.  Tokyopop cut the entire enjo kosai subplot, a valuable cultural nuance, from Initial D‘s American localization.

The original author at Business Insider has since complained that people were overly sensitive about Sporty callously playing with peoples’ feelings for fun and profit.  She rebuked readers for making value judgments about a woman who just wants to live the good life at the expense of others.

Sporty kept things simple—no more than five dates with the same guy.

Perhaps the largest difference is that in Japan, there is necessarily a certain tension: whether drinking with a man at a host club, or going to karaoke with a high school girl, the client knows they are paying for the illusion of good times with the opposite gender.  In Jessica Sporty’s outings, only one side is aware that it’s all a show.

USA commissions manga

It is, if anything, the reverse of “Cool Japan.” Rather than spread Japanese culture and influence to the world, a new manga titled Our Alliance – A Lasting Partnership has been published by the US Military in a bid to win the hearts of local Japanese citizens.

The manga presents America as a blond, rabbit-eared boy named Usa-kun, who enthusiastically explains the facts of geopolitical necessity to a Japanese girl named Arai Anzu – which sounds like a Wasai-Eigo pronunciation of “alliance.” (In Japanese, the prefix “Usa-” (兎) indicates things which are rabbitlike; thus Usa-kun has “usamimi,” 兎耳 or rabbit ears.)

“I am on your side,” Usa-kun tells Arai. “We are important friends.”

Continue reading USA commissions manga

American politician says nuke Japan

Sometimes, people hate what they don’t understand. Sometimes, politicians go so far as to demonstrate this hatred on the public record.


State Representative Nickolas Levasseur (D-NH), pictured to the right above, posted to Facebook:

Anime is a prime example of why two nukes just wasn’t enough.

Leaving aside whether or not the Representative personally enjoys anime, this is an elected official joking about deploying atomic weapons on a civilian population simply because he dislikes their TV shows.

Red Hampshire broke the story immediately on the 24th, which is unsurprising given that such an irresponsible statement ought to be no less than political suicide. Major news media followed suit.
Continue reading American politician says nuke Japan

Anti-manga official seeks to deny libraries funding

An article in today’s Del Marva Now describes Wicomico, Maryland County Councilman Joe Holloway as disturbed by the humorous sexual content in Dragonball Z books available at local school libraries.

“The drawings and story lines are disgusting,” Holloway said of the book.

Official image courtesy of Wicomico County Council.

While on the surface this would appear to be a classic tale – a public official finds something against public morality, and squelches it – looking a little deeper raises questions about the purity of Mr. Holloway’s outrage.

Continue reading Anti-manga official seeks to deny libraries funding