Friday, November 1, 2013

The Moe Effect

How do I feel about Moe but first off do guys even know what the heck it means and where did it come from?
(Japanese slang word)
It's both a feeling; can be tacked on to the end of any personality trait and characteristic; and a physical trait, which also refers to on the web IRC or chatrooms as 2D. It is linked to manga/dojinshi and video games but it is mostly seen in anime these days which creates this "pseudo-love for certain fictional characters and their related embodiments" specifically preadolescence girl. But also has a speculated interpretation that the word stems from the burning passion felt for the characters which the word has come to be used to mean one particular kind of "adorable", one specific type of "cute", mainly as applied to fictional characters.

And of course "Moe!" is also used within anime fandom as an interjection. Girls who are Moe are called moekko (萌えっ娘) from the honorific "娘" meaning "female child". Some say Moe which has been popularized since the late 80's; i.e Sailor Saturn; which it stems from Lolicon or Lolita Complex which seems to suggest they go hand in hand. But I also think the word Chibi, which means "small/ little person, child or animal," deserve a credit in this new style creation that is Moe.  The most common or popular type of Moe character today is the Magical Girls: Madoka; then Tsundere (cold/hostile to loving); Lucky Stars' Kagami and Yandere (intense mental destructive love or admiration): Oreimo's Ayasa. In some online circles the breast size does matter, the more child-like the better they are. I didn't want to bring Miku and even Kyary but they fall into this category because they give off a child-like moe kawaiiness as well. I've talked to a friend who refers to Miku as a sexual obsession because of the way she dances and even idolizing her and others have objectified them causing them to disillusionly-turn-on by it (the drawing and animation media industry have hit the jackpot with this one).

 Laws have been enacted in various countries, including in Japan, which regulate explicit content featuring children or child-like characters. Which caused organizations in Japan to form to work toward stronger controls and stricter laws governing Lolicon manga and other similar media. Critics say that the Lolicon genre contributes to actual sexual abuse of children, while others say that there is no evidence for this claim. Studies of lolicon fans state that lolicon fans are attracted to an aesthetic of cuteness rather than the age of the characters, and lolicon represents a disconnect from society because fans seem to want to protect that image of the character. But the difference is that the Lolicon/Shotacon promotes sexual acts of older men and women towards younger children which attributes to another genre "Ero Kawaii" which includes other genres like, "BL-Boyslove"(male-male)  or "Yaoi" and "Yuri- Girls love"(female-female) is created for manga (seen in mostly dojinshi which is only sold in Japan or seen online) or in anime. Moe, on the other hand, is promoting the child or child-like cuteness of the character or person.

This has even caused Hayao Miyazaki to put his two cents on the concerns of the effects it has on females in society and the portrayal of his female protagonists from the emergence of Lolicon and even alluding to Moe in which he says,""It's difficult; female protagonist; immediately become the subjects of rorikon gokko (play toy for Lolita Complex males). In a sense, if we want to depict someone who is affirmative to us, we have no choice but to make them as lovely as possible. But now, there are too many people who shamelessly depict [such protagonists] as if they just want [such girls] as pets; Moe anthropomorphism; which is the attribution of human characteristics or behavior to a god-like a figure, animal, or object; and things are escalating more and more." So male-driven audience of Otaku ; a Japanese term for people with obsessive interests, commonly the anime and manga fandom. Its contemporary usage originated with Akio Nakamori's 1983 essay in Manga Burikko; for child-like female characters is not driven to respected them in-terms of other qualities or even patronizes for those other qualities as being cute or adorable. Nariko Enomoto, a yaoi author and manga critic says that "male fans cannot experience Moe until they have fixed their own position". Tamaki Saitō explains that a male fan's "position" is his position as a subject, which the male fan must establish before he can desire an object. In this view, moe characters are agents of the male fan's desire.

I find that Moe has become a strong norm in Japan which is strongly rooted in Akihabara; Otaku cultural center and a shopping district for computer goods, video games, anime, and manga;  which can be also be seen all over the streets in Japan but are prominently on the shops in the area, and numerous maid cafes can be found throughout the district.
Akihabara's role in the free marketing of Moe, for example Doujinshi, amateur manga, has been growing in Akihabara since the 1970s when publishers began to drop manga that were not ready for large markets which have also allowed a large amount of amateur work to be sold to a passionate audience of Otaku who frequent the area.

This has created a strong divide in which today's youth has become either more cynical towards everyday life and politics or even more disillusion by technology and the internet. But the main reason I'm bring this topic up, of course seeing it and experiencing it and seeing from other perspective since I've been made aware that this genre will be nonexistent soon which my ex-boyfriend has made this point relevant since the 2020 Tokyo Olympic, which will play a huge role in how  Tokyo is viewed or portrayed to the rest of the world. Tokyo will most likely clean house on the questionable or provocative parts of the city when the Olympics comes into town. I do like the trend of this style of drawing just some groups I run into seem to intentionally exploit or express it entirely for the self interest which kind makes a little turn off by it all. People will argue this, "They are fictional characters" but that's whole other issue. But how does/did Moe affect your experiences with Japanese Culture?

Continuing in my new findings of this culture while watching Japan Vice(+18) on YouTube that mainly focuses on Japanese Culture they even have segments on Gay and Lesbian life and even Danso (cross-dressing). One segment in particular called JAPORN which focused on Tsubomi, the "Loli Queen," who is a very popular AV idol. Most of these AV idols are considered models, as well as actresses/actors and the industry, began around the same time Moe was picking up steam. Right now there are about 10,000 girls are attempting to go into AV and there are recruiters on the streets of Tokyo's popular stomping grounds Roppongi, Shinjuku, and Shibuya. 

Tsubomi debuted in 2006 and made the maid cafes in Akihabara even more popular with her cosplay fantasy based AVs. She is the poster girl of Moe and the Lolicon/ Lolita Complex. Tsubomi sees the changes in audiences from AV to attention-grabbing Amine and she says, "Anime is popular, cute and loud. . .but it's a little surprising that Akihabara is doing bold advertising for R-rated Anime media but I guess that it's acceptable."  But she humbly believes that showing less is more and that's a huge turn on. Akihabara known as the Electric City is now the Moe central of Tokyo just in the matter of 5 to 6 years.


Post a Comment