Transplanted boys' love conventions and anti-"shota" polemics in a German manga: Fahr Sindram's "Losing Neverland"
Keywords:Cultural capital, Fandom, John Fiske, Popular culture, Yaoi
Although manga arrived somewhat later in Germany than elsewhere in the West, the local publishers rapidly capitalized on its appeal to female readers and began fostering local manga artists in Germany. These are mainly young women producing shōjo manga, and increasingly integrating popular boys' love elements into their work. An unusual example of such work is Fahr Sindram's Losing Neverland, the story of an adolescent in Victorian London whose widowed father prostitutes him to middle-class men. Suggestive, though not visually explicit, such a story would likely run afoul of German and European Union laws against child pornography, were it not for the fact that Sindram continually reminds the reader that Neverland is in fact intended to raise awareness of child abuse and protest the dissemination of Japanese child pornography in Germany. Sindram thus openly advertises her work as a polemic, intended to mobilize the censorship of works seemingly much like her own; as a result, Losing Neverland has not only been socially accepted but even praised, earning an honorable citation from Germany's federal Council for Sustainable Development. Sindram's work thus accepts and capitalizes upon the globalizing aesthetic influence of manga, while at the same time adopting a defensive, quasi-protectionist stance against the spread of certain overtly foreign sexual attitudes associated with manga—and is visibly rewarded for doing so.
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