I’ve written a series of novellas and short stories set in contemporary Japan. They invariably tell the tale of a Japanese woman who’s been wronged and restores balance in her life. Naturally BDSM and fetishism feature large in these tales.
Being a white British male, I stand accused of fetishizing Japanese women, having a bad case of yellow fever and cultural appropriation. These claims are made without understanding the author they’re directed at, why the stories are written or what inspired them. Rather than repeatedly explain myself, I’m hoping this blog post will do the trick.
First, let’s talk about the author.
I am married to a Japanese woman and we have plans to spend more time in her country, perhaps even move there permanently. I’m absorbing Japanese culture (not the anime-heavy stuff Westerners tend to fall for, but the deeper mindset). This is not cultural “appropriation” and more “adoption” out of respect for my wife and our future together.
Second, they’re not written for the Western Market.
Although they’re published in English and you’ve probably bought yours on an Amazon market in the west, they aren’t written primarily for the western markets. The story structures and themes are intended for a Japanese market. Originally they were to be translated into Japanese, something that’s taken a back seat for the moment. Once my Japanese improves (give me a couple of years) I may well write them first in Japanese. We’ll see how that goes!
Third, they’re inspired by “Pinku” films.
In the 90s there was a “genre” of films in Japan called “Pinku”. Most are exploitative, but a few good ones made it onto Amazon Prime. Heavily edited to remove their BDSM scenes, they left us with fairly simple tales of revenge and redemption that buzzed along like a half-decent, low budget weekday afternoon TV play.
To put it bluntly, I nicked the formula and cranked out the first short-story. I found I quite liked writing this style of weakly plotted, high on BDSM short story, so I kept at it. The stories are usually inspired by events in the news. As for the Japanese setting? I’ll refer you to points 1 and 2 above.
Finally, it’s fiction.
My work isn’t awesome literature that’s going to win Nobel prizes. I enjoy writing it,I have fans who like to read it. Most importantly though, it’s fiction.
Just as I’ve never been an astronaut in the far future, a Victorian Gentleman or a killer AI gone rogue, I’ve never been a Japanese housewife with a cheating husband and a penchant for getting molested on trains. I try for the hour or two I’m sat the computer to think what someone who IS a Japanese housewife (etc) going to do in THIS situation and how it leads to THAT point in the plot.
That’s the point of fiction from an author’s perspective (my view anyway). The story of someone you are not in a way that engages.
Thanks for your concern.
I know there’s a lot of noise about cultural appropriation and hiding behind nom-de-plumes. Some of it I get, other bits I look at and think, “How the hell is society supposed to move forward if we adopt that point of view?” I also appreciate those who express “concern” about my writing are doing so with the best of intent.
However, I won’t apologise for my writing or the offence some individuals have taken at it. There are enough warnings on my blurbs to discourage those who may genuinely be offended by the themes. Anyone else is, in my opinion, just looking for someone to be offended at.
You can buy the Neo-Pink Tales for your Kindle.
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