In This Corner of the World

My kids discovered anime this year, and finally being able to share my love for the art form has been a tremendous joy to me. When I saw that a new feature-length anime was to be released in Seattle on August 18, I hesitated to make it a family movie night choice because of the subject matter.

Unlike the childish quest and adolescent romance series with magical and/or martial arts elements that make up our usual fare, In This Corner of the World is a realistic story of one young woman’s experience of World War II. Ultimately, despite the heavy subject, we decided to watch it and I’m so glad we did. Continue reading

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Madama Butterfly at Seattle Opera

Sharpless (Weston Hurt) shocked by Pinkerton’s appalling behavior. Philip Newton photo c/o Seattle Opera

At Seattle Opera’s panel on race and representation in Madame Butterfly, one of the younger speakers asked why anyone would even bother trying to redeem such an opera. The obvious answer was, “The music!” but a part of me felt a little guilty for perpetuating one of those “classics” that should be allowed to die as its cultural relevance fades and its artistic merit is proven less significant than its novelty. I felt even more guilty that by taking my 13-year-old Asian daughter to see it, I could be inflicting harmful stereotypes on the very person they could most affect. I think those were legitimate fears, and could have been valid if Seattle Opera had presented Madame Butterfly without comment. But in the context of the local discussion they have started – wow! What an opera! Continue reading