Magazine, English, Glue Binding, 2018
Multiple Spirits #1
Multiple Spirits is a "Bilingual Queer Art Zine from/within Japan".
We use “queer” only as a temporary umbrella term implying a sense of discomfort with the society based on heterosexual norms. This temporary use encapsulates the wish that, one day in the future, we will acquire new languages or activities that do not require this term. We believe we are also part of the historical flow of feminisms. We understand that feminism thinking is not a claim for women’s rights nor elimination of masculinity. Instead, we appreciate it with a broad outlook in order to dismantle any discriminations of gender, race and class inside society in a way that differs from patriarchy. However, in Japan, the use of the term “feminism” has historically been distorted, and we prefer not to use the term here in Japanese. In short, “queer” is still more usable than “feminism”.
However, of course, the term is not a panacea. We assume it to be a place where we cross over boundaries including nations and sexualities as if we are waiting at an airport to fly on an airplane, even though we have a body that is pulled down by the force of earth’s gravity.
About from/within Japan
It seems obvious today that deep-seated sexism and misogyny lurk in the Japanese society (we hope that at least this situation is commonly acknowledged). Japan is also recognized form the outside as a sexist country where even people inside aren’t aware of this fact. We hear conversations depreciating women as an everyday occurrence from indecent dirty jokes at bars to official interviews by politicians. Besides, even products and contents geared towards women are currently the sites for a plethora of misogynistic expressions. However, this does not mean that all unhappiness of women, in reality, is a result of this misogyny, and the situations are taking on increasingly complicated aspects.
Meanwhile, another impression of Japan from the outside would be that Japan has tolerance for extreme expressions of gender and sexuality as representation on the cultural level. However, this does not point to an actual generosity in the society, or rather, it is hard for any gender, sexuality, sex (and life) to exist in the society if they exceed the “normal”.
“From/within Japan” does not mean we only introduce Japanese culture, but it expresses our understanding that we launched this project from our standpoint which we have already internalised in Japanese society. We, therefore, want to inspect and dismantle these conflicted matters and contradictions within Japan from inside as well as outside.
We feature not only art practices and the art scene in Japan but also many phenomena from our point of view of “from/within Japan”.
Even though the art field consists of people who have different ways of living, there are still sexism, misogyny, as well as faith in the norm, in every cultural landscape. However, we do not want to use our space to criticise or accuse someone of sexual or power harassment. Trying not to belong to any chains of Political Correctness, we wish that we will acquire a variety and choice of language alongside art practices.
Multiple Spirits was founded by Mika Maruyama and Mai Endo in April 2018. The name “Multiple Spirits” has no clear definition, but implies the different ways of thinking from any single normativity.
Languages: English, Japanese