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Coyote Walks

New Article up at Cardboard Republic

81 posts in this topic

http://www.cardboardrepublic.com/articles/dave-of-the-five-rings/dotr-chapter-twenty-four

I'd like to point out a few things about this article I linked.

 

David Gordon is one of us.  A L5R player and enthusiast.  He's been in at least one Winter Court (RP) and I have played with him before.  He not an Internet Warrior.

The reason I say this is that unlike that @#$^show that was the Shut Up, Sit Down review, David is addressing these Twitter Trolls as an insider.  And while I don't agree with all of his conclusions, it is a thoughtful read and well worth looking over.

 

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When you realize that there is no such thing as cultural appropriation, because there is no such thing as a "pure" culture, this all becomes childish. 

Show me something you think is distinctly Japanese and I'll show you how it was influenced by all the cultures surrounding it.

I leave you with this image of cultural purity to meditate on: Japanese men wearing the traditional suits of their fathers and forefathers, long into the mists of the ancient past. 

madmen23.jpg

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Maybe there was more detail in the several sources he wants you to reference, but it would be nice if his last point was better explained. Calling the players samurai is offensive? I can think of some offensive uses/ portrayals of samurai, but that wouldn't have been one of them. Would he also consider it offensive to call GoT players knights, or is that okay because it's european culture so "technically" not appropriated?

Bayushi Shoju and shosuko like this

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  On the good side, he was trying to honestly grapple with something he considers a problem (and isn't alone in considering it so.) On the bad side, I don't agree it's a problem. Appropriation is taking, or using, without the permission of the owner. When it comes to a culture or story, I find it sufficiently difficult to determine the owner, so can't quite agree it's a problem. Attempt to avoid needless insult, to be sure (especially in a commercial venture like a game - why drive away some audience members?) but that's generally sufficient.

selderane likes this

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Quote

From the article:

By the time you see this article, dear reader, it will have been re-written more than any of my previous articles, as I am insistent on finding one which says what I feels needs to be said and approaches the issues at hand sufficiently and respectfully. 

Well then he wasted his time because this was a passive aggressive PC opinion piece full of false equivalences and trigger-happy sensitivities.  Equating Bonzai with Geronimo is a great example of a cheap shot that proves nothing.  Did the author not think to look up the origin of the use of Geronimo as a shout-out?  It is from the WWII US military so why bring it into a western game when it has no relevance?  Speaking of WWII, Bonzai does not originate from that conflict, it has a broader cultural significance.  So, yes I would be upset if people shouted Geronimo before a Deadlands tournament because it is not historically part of the wild west theme.  A more relevant equivalence would be Aloha during an Hawaiian based game, but nobody is going to object to that.

Seriously, only a white person would spend so much time to write that crap.

Krashwire likes this

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This was much better than the SU&SD story, but I'm not with this guy 100%.

In the beginning he links a few things, and while they were cool - I think its important to understand a few things clearly.

1) He links an introduction to Edward Said's Orientalism.  This is basically the conceptualization of "colonialism."  The problem with colonialism is that it denies the realities of the times.  There are privileges we ALL enjoy, around the world today because of colonialism.  Right now we have near global unity in political leadership, where nearly any country can go to another country to settle their dispute before the courts of the other countries leadership to sort out their differences and sign agreements.  We can also sanction those who don't want to play by the rules rather than bombing them outright.  These ONLY happen because we've reached an epoch of post-colonialism which has wrapped the world in cooperation through mutual benefit.  Some are still exploited and suffer, but the trend of the world is still to the betterment of all citizens around the globe.  When these first contacts were established there was no reason to expect to walk into a different country without clashing in a potentially fatal conflict.  Whether you came to kill them, or they followed you back to kill you - there was war.  There was war between Orientals and other Orientals, and between Native Americans and other Native Americans.  As technology shrunk the world, a dominance hierarchy was formed - but that dominance hierarchy paved the way for civil discourse, trade and politics between people.

Yes - people were war like, and there was much subjugation - but that is the nature of all people, and all tribes of people around the world - there were misunderstandings and a mingling of cultures from all sides.  As they took products from Asia, they also brought products to Asia.  If Asia had won the wars, or the Natives had successfully defended against European colonies then the world would look different today - but the problems would be the same.  Dominance hierarchies are a natural fabrication of humans from all areas, tribalism persists to this day in all areas of the world, and no matter how much we want equality there will always be those who own, those who manage, and those who labor.

Culture is by nature public.  There is no registry for being Jewish, or Japanese.  If your parents were Japanese you could be Japanese and know little of the culture because you were never exposed to it.  If you were not Japanese, but were raised with FULL exposure to the culture you could be Japanese.  It is natural to adapt to your environment, to culture and customs.  If you receive only partial or incomplete exposure, as one who travels through a land or only receives 2nd hand knowledge of is apt to receive, it makes sense that you would both adapt the culture, and not fully understand it.  This is sub conscious and not exclusive to "being empowered" or "dis empowering" or "subjugating" you can be a street vendor in Japan and you will pick up Japanese customs and you certainly are not empowered over them - and it would be the same middle ground "cultural appropriation" as this article writes it.

2) There are two arguments being combined.  One of "cultural appropriation" which states we are taking Japanese culture from Japanese - and another which I struggle to label, which basically says "Japan used the Banzai shout during invasions, and they attacked and subjugated many people" and that us using this shout is offensive because it reminds those people that Japanese people attacked them a very long time ago.  I gotta say this second one feels really bogus to me.  The post traumatic stress conflating the word Banzai to the anxiety of being invaded would only be relevant to the people who were invaded.  Those people in those countries today may hate Japanese people, but to those who didn't hear a Banzai! shout followed by an onslaught don't really have the basis to form such a reaction from a word.  If any people hate Japanese enough to be so traumatized by a single word, I doubt the rest of the game would pass under their scrutiny as they simply hate Japanese people - and I do not have to respect their hate.

I genuinly feel people bringing up those aspects (korea, manchuria, or banzai charge in ww2) are just grasping as straws to justify the potential for someone to be offended, but that there are no actual offended parties.

Unless the Japanese people are offended by the Banzai shout I don't see any reason to bother about it.  I didn't care that Japanese pop idols dressed in SS uniforms, and Japan didn't care much either.  I question if its right that they should care.  Japan is Japan, they have a right to teach the history they feel is important, and as offensive as it is to say it - I don't feel it is important to learn about genocides except to learn about genocide its self, and to be familiar with the dangers of genocide, and the benefits of global civil communities.

https://kotaku.com/japanese-idols-dress-as-nazis-for-halloween-1788178386

3) The artwork is generally what Japanese artists would make it to be.  Here I post again a character designed by Japanese, for Japanese, who IS Japanese according to THEM.

That blonde haired, blue eyed, white skinned girl on the left?  

Mika Nanakawa, known as R.Mika or Rainbow Mika.  She is a Japanese blonde, its something they do...  so I don't think it's an honest white-washing complaint considering THEY promote these images of themselves.  You might call it cultural appropriation because we are taking their art style, but you can't say we're white washing it.  I think the white-washing complaint is made mostly from an ignorance of Japanese fantasy dipictions, and a mis-preconception about what is good or bad in art - basically they are being a bit racist by claiming that a white person (or white company who employs an Asian artist) is making it white because that is what they want, not understanding that the people being represented may favor that representation as well.  I imagine if the artwork tried to steer away from being "whitewashed" by specifically giving the ethnically accurate depiction they would still receive complaints about racism in their depiction of what "is" Asian.  There is no pleasing some people, so at a point I feel justified in ignoring them.

rmika-sf5-screen8.jpg

 

Edited by shosuko

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Good article. Addressed a lot of the points that made me very wary of getting involved with the game. Explains the (I would have thought obvious) issues clearly.

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I wish I could remember the book, but it was about rebuilding Japan after their defeat in WW2.

The thing people don't understand is that the Japanese truly believed, to their core, they were the superior race. They had unshaking faith in their Emperor and their victory. 

When they were defeated it wasn't like when the Allies defeated Germany. The German culture was a Western culture. 

But the defeat of the Japanese was a shattering of a millennia old worldview that touched every single citizen deeply. 

And to recover from their defeat at the hands of America they decided to do one thing: become America.

And even that isn't cultural appropriation. 

It's flattery. 

Edited by selderane

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Here is a great example of people just TRYING to be offended.  This kinda stuff really jades the public to actual offenses.

https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/hobby-lobby-cotton-display-goes-viral-racist-192821026.html

People need to realize they can't be offended by every thing they come across.  Is the Banzai chant a bit cringe?  sure, for some people maybe.  Is it racism?  no.

Edited by shosuko
Yogo Gohei and Ishi Tonu like this

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16 minutes ago, shosuko said:

Here is a great example of people just TRYING to be offended.  This kinda stuff really jades the public to actual offenses.

https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/hobby-lobby-cotton-display-goes-viral-racist-192821026.html

People need to realize they can't be offended by every thing they come across.  Is the Banzai chant a bit cringe?  sure, for some people maybe.  Is it racism?  no.

My wife showed me this article yesterday and I almost instinctively threw her phone against the wall.......but the more I think about it this is pure genius.

Tonight when I get home I'm telling my wife that it's racist to wear cotton and she should take her clothes off as a sign of solidarity with our African American friends........

It could work.

Edited by Ishi Tonu

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Just now, Ishi Tonu said:

My wife showed me this article yesterday and I almost instinctively threw her phone against the wall.......but the more I think about it this is pure genius.

Tonight when I get home I'm telling my wife that it's racist to wear cotton and she should take her clothes off as a sign of solidarity with out African American friends........

It could work.

Maybe we should do it in solidarity with the Uzbekistan, or any of the other nations still practicing slavery and forced labor?

It kinda invalidates a complaint of how many years black people picked cotton as slaves if we're gonna turn a blind eye to the ones still doing it...

http://www.cottoncampaign.org/uzbekistans-forced-labor-problem.html

http://www.cottoncampaign.org/forced-labor-cotton-in-other-countries.html

http://stopchildlabor.org/?p=3655

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/what-is-your-slavery-footprint/2011/11/01/gIQAOrGNdM_blog.html?utm_term=.138eade7933f

Isawa Syd likes this

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This cultural appropriation issue is really strange for me (I'm european).

There isn't such thing as "western culture" there are "western cultureS" that share some aspects (should I say mostly Greek ones ? :p).

"White culture" / "black culture" / "Asian culture" are oversimplifications that do little to help understand the world.

Greeks and Germans don't have the same culture. They also don't have the same culture than White Americans. Tutsis and zulus don't have the same culture and they don't have the same culture than African American. Etc

Should the Greeks be upset that the culture of their ancestors (or at least some) is now "Western Culture" ? Do they own it for starter ? If so maybe they should ask to be paid royalties, I hear they could need the money.

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10 hours ago, Coyote Walks said:

I'd like to point out a few things about this article I linked.

 

David Gordon is one of us.  A L5R player and enthusiast.  He's been in at least one Winter Court (RP) and I have played with him before.  He not an Internet Warrior.

The reason I say this is that unlike that @#$^show that was the Shut Up, Sit Down review, David is addressing these Twitter Trolls as an insider.  And while I don't agree with all of his conclusions, it is a thoughtful read and well worth looking over.

 

I only count the one thing here.

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Without a certain amount of cultural appropriation, exchange or what-have-you, isn't everyone at risk of becoming a stereotype?  Only people of culture A can depict or celebrate customs of culture A, and they should steer clear of B, C and especially F.  Are there any 'neutral' cultures that it's okay for everyone to share? 

shosuko, hoonZilla, Sk3tch and 1 other like this

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Honestly, he basically ruined himself for me the moment he said

" Is the Legend of the Five Rings cultural appropriation?

The easy answer, simply, is “Yes.”

Does my head in when people present complicated views as simply a matter of fact and that disagreeing with them makes you immediately wrong or dense or whatever.

Also, card games are a product of western culture. Is every Japanese card game guilty of cultural appropriation? Well all know the answer to that though, don't we? These people don't see the west as *having* a culture, they see it AS culture. Christ.

Laurence J Sinclair likes this

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So much about this article bothers me, but more than anything else I think it is probably the complete failure to define terms and demonstrate how L5R fits in.

A lot of it also seems like a real stretch. Who are the players who are genuinely offended by the apparent Chinese influences on Dragon armour designs? 

And are these the same players that struggle to grasp that a press release addressing 'Samurai of Rokugan' is an exercise in roleplay? Nobody thinks you are an actual Samurai in an actual magical empire. It's often said but bears repeating, Rokugan is not Japan.

Loanwords are everywhere. Banzai is not Geronimo, nor is it a swastika.  Cultures aren't owned, they shift around all over the place in weird ways. This is a good thing.

 

Edited by Fumo

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10 hours ago, Ishi Tonu said:

My wife showed me this article yesterday and I almost instinctively threw her phone against the wall.......but the more I think about it this is pure genius.

Tonight when I get home I'm telling my wife that it's racist to wear cotton and she should take her clothes off as a sign of solidarity with our African American friends........

It could work.

So.....did it work?😁

Ishi Tonu likes this

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