young Japan

Five decades ago, some very kind people in Japan slipped me the secret: you can dramatically extend life–not by multiplying the number of your years, but by expanding the fullness of your moments. Knowing that I have lived with such richness makes the visage of my inevitable death less problematic. That’s the sweet part.
—  Shinzen Young - The Science of Enlightenment: How Meditation Works

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A tale of swordplay and sorcery, mortality and music, set in modern-day Japan. Start the new YA fantasy readers are calling “epic” and “captivating” now!

Sora’s Life was full of magic–until she discovered it was all a lie.

Heir to Mt. Fuji’s spirit kingdom, Sora yearns to finally take on the sacred kami duties. But just as she confronts her parents to make a plea, a ghostly army invades the mountain. Barely escaping with her life, Sora follows her mother’s last instructions to a heart-wrenching discovery: she is a human changeling, raised as a decoy while her parents’ true daughter remained safe but unaware in modern-day Tokyo. Her powers were only borrowed, never her own. Now, with the world’s natural cycles falling into chaos and the ghosts plotting an even more deadly assault, it falls on her to train the unprepared kami princess.

As Sora struggles with her emerging human weaknesses and the draw of an unanticipated ally with secrets of his own, she vows to keep fighting for her loved ones and the world they once protected. But for one mortal girl to make a difference in this desperate war between the spirits, she may have to give up the only home she’s ever known.

With its breathtaking action, heart-wrenching conflict, and unexpected romance, this vivid standalone YA fantasy will delight fans of Julie Kagawa and Laini Taylor.

Okay it’s time for me to rant about Yuuri again!!!!! Listen, usually my sweet baby refers to himself with the Japanese pronoun 僕 (boku) which is a typical masculine way of referring to oneself. Most young men in Japan use that or 僕 (ore). He uses boku right here:

However, when he goes out to perform Eros, he changes up his personal pronouns, which is very unusual in Japan.

What Yuuri said here was 私の踊りはだれのため (watashi no odori wa dare no tame). This means pretty literally “for whom is my dance?”, but the important detail is that Yuuri uses the pronoun 私 (watashi). Typically it’s used by women and men of higher positions. So this tips us off already that Yuuri isn’t just performing as his usual self.

This is further reinforced by this statement from Yuuri. He feels that the character of the “most beautiful woman in town” resonates more with him than trying to be the “playboy”. 

Now here is the first time that Yuuri is thinking to himself again after the “Who am I dancing for?” line. This time he uses あたし (atashi) which is a very feminine personal pronoun. Typically it’s used by younger women and is considered quite girly at times. He uses this pronoun again here:

He also says he’s “better than any other woman out there.” This is just my interpretation of those words but it seems to me like he’s grouping himself in with “women” and considering himself better. He’s truly become the character of “the most beautiful woman in town”. Another small detail I love is the way Yuuri’s voice rises higher in these thoughts as he uses a feminine personal pronoun. It was a wonderful acting choice on Toyonaga Toshiyuki’s part.

Anyone can interpret this any way of course. I simply thought that the translations lacked a bit of the nuance that was there in terms of personal pronoun usage (which is undoubtedly hard to translate eloquently). Take from this what you will and I will continue to keep my nonbinary Yuuri headcanons near and dear to my heart <3

Edit: I am not Japanese nor do I speak it fluently. I’ve been learning for a while now, but any native speakers please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong or made some assumption!


Young women, early 20th century. 

Pic 1 (c1900): The hakama, a kind of divided skirt, was the school uniform for girls in the Meiji era prior to the introduction of the sailor suit in the 1920s. For girls the skirt was usually maroon and worn with an arrow feather patterned kimono (X), with a ribbon to fasten the hair. The hakama was also used by schoolteachers and suffragettes in later decades. See also this 1905 graduation pic

Pic 2 (1916): Before the adoption of the qipao/cheongsam by girls, for a brief while in the Minguo period uniforms and dresses for young women were as shown in the pic (Lin Huiyin and her sisters).  The jacket with a high collar and pleated skirt (aoqun) of the Han was worn in its more tailored and shorter modernised form. These were worn with heeled shoes and stockings. See the longer skirt reproduction here

Pic 3 (1920s): There doesn’t seem to be a specific uniform for young girls in early 20th century Indonesia but the kain panjang worn with a kebaya or blouse was common for young women in the early part of the 20th century and stayed so in subsequent decades(see also X and this photograph of Kartini as a  young girl).  Photograph of  Gusti Kanjeng Ratu Mas, Java, 1920s. Young male students wore their kain with a shirt (and a tie here). 

Pic 4 (1911): Suniti Majumdar and Lalita in 1911. In India uniforms for young women were often saris though there doesn’t seem to be an insistence on students wearing the same kind of sari (see for e.g. the students of Maharani Girls School, Darjeeling, 1912). A young woman like Suniti in 1911 would wear the sari with a long or ¾ sleeve blouse (kind of similar to the blouses of the time) along with shoes. And ribbons in the hair. 

See also the Phillippines where there was an early adoption of Western school dresses (X