The University of Adelaide Japanese Language and Cultural Society
By Kiyo Gent
Holidays are finally here! (Or mid-semester break, at least) The JLACS has had a few events during the past few weeks, during which much fun was had. In the mid-semester break, we’ll be having a couple more events, so stay tuned to our Facebook page and group (or the events section). And if you somehow haven’t become a member yet, then you can easily do so here, or talk to a committee member at one of our events.
Also, if you’re interested in writing for us, we’d love to have you join the team! To apply, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or message me or the JLACS on Facebook.
Anyways, here’s the issue (after the usual haiku):
Now postponed for holidays
– Kiyo Gent, Director of Publishing, JLACS Newsletter
In This Issue:
- Notes and Welcome
- Event News
- Phrases to Ponder
- Moe Part 2
By Bonnie Trinh
Past JLACS Events
Friday 2 September
Armed with the power of lemon Gudetama cookies and strawberry-nutella gyoza (which were really quite delicious), the JLACS managed to pull off another great bake sale. Once again, the funds raised will be used to create awesome events in future. I expect the next bake sale will also be adorned with cute snacks to satiate those sugar cravings.
Special Event: Murder Mystery
Mayo Cafe, Union House
Friday 9 September
In a special, first-time event for the JLACS, members honed their inner detective skills to solve a mysterious murder. Three suspects, one victim, and one killer: it was our job to bring the killer to justice. With clues hidden behind a number of clever puzzles, each one led us a step closer to discovering the culprit’s true identity. In the end, both groups cracked the case. Fear not, the culprit (who may or may not have been our dear Director Kiyo Gent), will no longer terrorise our streets. Those who are fond of the infamous Escape Rooms would have loved this one.
Onigiri and Games Night
Mayo Cafe, Union House
Thursday 15 September
To celebrate another successful end of the term, the JLACS invited our members to come along to enjoy some food and fun. Those with an ounce of competitiveness tried their hand at the heated foosball and table tennis games. Board games were also plentiful for many of the members who enjoyed an (equally heated) battle of brains over dexterity.
Future JLACS Events
Amazing Race and Picnic
Monday 28 September
The JLACS will be hosting a race around the Botanic Gardens, Adelaide. Join us for a day of scrambling around the gardens, solving clues, with a picnic and some games afterwards. It’ll be amazing!
Check out the details here!
*In no way affiliated with the actual Amazing Race.
Glenelg Beach Trip
Friday 30 September
With the dawn of Spring, the weather has cleared up enough for a day at the beach! Be prepared for all the activities the beach has to offer, including swimming, beach volleyball, sharks, sandcastles, and of course free snacks and soft drinks. For more details, check out the event page here.
Upcoming Events Around Adelaide
Saturday 17 September – Sunday 2 October
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, this year’s Oz-Asia Festival is bound to be a special one. With plenty of great food, shows, events and an unbeatable atmosphere, there isn’t a year where this festival disappoints. As always, there are a number of Japanese events in this year’s festival. For more information, visit their website (here).
Hotel Metropolitan, Grote St.
Wednesday 28 September
JAFA’s monthly J-Kai is a social event with a focus on Japanese conversation. It will be held again on Wednesday 28, and is completely free to join. You also don’t need to be a JAFA member to attend. It is a great opportunity to acquaint yourself with the Japanese and Japanese-speaking community outside of university. For more information, visit JAFA’s website (here).
Phrases to Ponder
By Bonnie Trinh
Welcome to Phrases to Ponder, a section wherein we discuss those peculiar Japanese words or phrases which don’t always translate.
Last time I talked about ‘an awareness for things’, a spiritual concept which deals with an appreciation of the world around us and its fleetingness. This week, I will introduce another word of similar meaning.
Noun, な adjective
Although the translation of the word will depend on the context in which it is used, it often signifies a deep awareness of the universe and our ‘place’ in it. This is not a fantastical word alluding to some other, abstract world. Rather, it focuses specifically on one’s experience within their individual world and is anchored within their experiences. The Standford encyclopedia of philosophy describes it as valuing the ‘depth of the world we live in, as experienced through cultivated imagination’ (read more here).
If this is all confusing you, perhaps an example would help? This blog (here) perfectly articulates moments of yūgen:
“When I […] see the sunrise, if I keep still and watch […] I can actually perceive the movement. At these times I become vibrantly aware that I am here, standing at this particular spot […] and this world is turning, turning, turning […]
These are my moments of yūgen.”
Think back. Perhaps you too, have experienced such a moment?
Moe Part 2
By Woochan (Bryan) Lee
Read part 1 here.
Welcome to the 90s! Japan’s economy is not doing great, and anime and manga companies cannot afford to make a loss. The moe we know now begins to emerge from subculture at this time (mostly in manga).
The success of Urusei Yatsura from the 80s made people realise that they could fall in love with manga and their characters. Hence, even the simplest plots would work if the characters were distinctive and loveable. At this time, the individual characteristics became more distinct, and this led to the production of manga containing a strong ‘set’ of character tropes. Manga such as ‘Ranma ½‘ by Takahashi Rumiko and ‘Ah! My goddess’ by Fujishima Kosuke have solidified a certain set of characteristics. For example, the older sister character set, the younger sister character set and the Yamato Nadeshiko character set. The ‘older sister’ character typically has a curvy body and tends to be more sexual. The ‘younger sister’ character tends to have a slender body and will often have a love/hate relationship with the main protagonist. Finally, the ‘Yamato Nadeshiko’ character is portrayed as ‘perfect’. This trinity eventually evolved into more specific moe characteristics, which I will discuss later.
In the early 90s, people realised that having a cast of characters in one manga works for readers if and only if each character is memorable. The most famous case would be ‘Sailor Moon’ by Takeuchi Naoko. In fact, rumour has it that the word moe itself came from the name of one of the characters: ‘Tomoe Hotaru (土萌ほたる)’. The introduction and success of Sailor Moon opened the era of manga and anime containing a ‘Pretty Girl Zoo’ (美少女動物園Bishōjo dōbu~tsuen), where the main male protagonist has a limited role in the plot or does not exist.
Afterward, successful manga like ‘Love Hina’ pioneered the ‘harem’ genre. But this was all still simply laying the foundation of moe. The idea of moe and otaku were still minor ideas and, in order to spread this idea to each and every one, a major game changer was needed.
Neon Genesis Evangelion, the first winner of the Kobe anime award, took the anime kingdom by storm. It appealed to people with a complex plot and overwhelmingly lovable characters. It also introduced the idea of a ‘service scene’ or ‘fan service’.
One of the characters, Ayanami Rei, helped solidify ‘bandage moe’ and ‘kuudere’ (which will be explained next issue). What was so great about this anime was that it brought minority ideas like moe, cosplay, otaku and even anime to the surface. Suddenly, it was no longer an underground hobby, and hence began the 3rd anime boom (with the 1st created by ‘Space battleship Yamato’ and the 2nd created by the ‘Gundam series’). It affected all the people who watched anime not only in Japan but also overseas.
Furthermore, it brought change to the electric district of Akihabara, turning it into a mecca of otaku-dom. It is near impossible to describe the complete effects of Neon Genesis Evangelion, but its influence is certainly wide-reaching.
And so this concludes the history of moe in anime. In the next issue, I will discuss ‘moe factors’ and what kinds exist.