When it comes to news articles on these racial matters, I found this article to be good. How do you guys and gals feel about this topic of voice acting and racial representation?
On Saturday, CNN reported that the long-running American cartoon The Simpsons will stop using white voice actors to play POC (People of Color) characters. The recent move from the show's producers come from an effort to address historical discrimination against non-white voice actors in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests in the United States and abroad.
Abema Times reported on the news in Japan on Tuesday and interviewed manga artist Ken Akamatsu (Love Hina, Negima! Magister Negi Magi, UQ Holder!) for comment on his thoughts on the issue, as well as how it may affect the Japanese animation industry.
"It may look like an excessive reaction when looking at things from Japan, but foreign countries have their own particular issues, so I will refrain from simplistic criticism and instead observe the situation for a while," he said. "However, I will say that the move to select actors on their race rather than their individual talents appears to go against the path that humanity has walked throughout history."
When asked how he would feel as a creator about casting decisions regarding foreign-language dubs of his works, he responded that, based on his prior experiences, "In Japan, a voice actor of an animated work wouldn't change because of race, but for a foreign-language dub, I leave those matters to the discretion of the dubbing company."
Regarding any concerns he has about freedom of expression, he said, "I am very curious about the current movement overseas to erase or remove past works. Osamu Tezuka's manga had quite a few discriminatory expressions, but it's standard in Japan to leave an explanatory note about that while preserving the work as it was in the past. As works that feature discriminatory expressions undergo more and more regulation, it may become impossible to see those old works. However, when it comes to the works that will be created in the present and future, I see absolutely no problem in creators such as myself individually applying our own discretion and consideration while having our freedom of expression protected. I hope that both sides can maintain a good balance."
Finally, he commented as follows on the claim that anime characters are modeled on white people: "[Japanese] creators such as myself are not thinking of our characters as white people when we draw them. Take the Sailor Moon protagonist Usagi Tskuno, for instance. She may have blonde hair but that's simply a manga-like expression. In her previous life, she was a person from the moon world, after all. It may be possible that fantasy worlds such as this may become the subject of criticism. Dark elves and other fantasy races may also come under fire. I foresee various issues coming into debate in the future."
Film journalist Hiroaki Saitō also commented on the issue of foreign-language dubs of Japanese anime, remarking that on a practical level it would be impossible to cast ethnically Japanese people living overseas for every single role. "It's possible that this issue may become prevalent in the future, given the measures that have been taken up to this point," he said.
I know a lot of people think its weird that Americans are very touchy about the subject of race but you do have to look at it from a historical perspective. Back then in the 1920s and up to the civil rights era, it was common to have White people dawn on Black Face in Film and entertainment. Usually to mock African Americans. So given the historical context its understandable why the choice was made. Also something to add when an African American woman auctioned for the role to play Meg she was turned down by Seth because he didn't want someone who was African American voicing a white character. Yet Cleveland's voice actor basically flies in the face of that.
Far as the POC matter goes for fictional characters in Japan, the country's population is nearly completely homogeneous with literally 97.8% of the population being Japanese. Because of this, the POC matter and less flattering depictions of people from different ethnic backgrounds doesn't attract as much controversy within the culture compared to America and other countries with more diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.
I do understand why this is a bigger deal in America considering how dominant white culture's been with integrating cultural elements from other minorities and not necessarily always being an accurate depiction of them, especially in the days before the Civil Rights Movement when stereotyping and discrimination was more widely accepted within fictional works. It's why less flattering depictions of African Americans from touchy works like the Censored 11 series of animated shorts from Warner Brothers and Disney's Song of the South haven't seen any official video or streaming release from those companies.
Someday I’ll be gone To somewhere that we belong And God has never played his role 'Cause I’m the one who saves my soul It’s a perfect world we’re longing for
Be seeing these white folks dropping roles w/ dat Diane from Bojack
are they saying black voice black, asian voice asian, white voice white, latinx voice latinx
It is moot when you have a series where the creator doesn't want poc voicing white characters despite Cleveland's voice actor voicing a black guy, its hypocritical. Cartoons and voice acting have long been a difficult industry for African Americans along with others to get into.
People tend to use what aboutisms when arguing as a counterpoint to diversity not really understanding how bad the racial disparity is in an attempt to be impartial. It gives the majority a pass and that is something I don't agree with. I know you don't mean any harm Nut but you have to understand the history of systematic racism and how it affects pretty much everything in American culture. African Americans had to put up with being mocked in entertainment and the arts and then if they have a problem with it they get accused of being the problem.
I posted this ANN article for anime industry as this forum is for anime and manga. Please keep the topic on anime series. If you want to talk about cartoons, there are the off topic forum or the TV movie forum
Taka ,tails ,Old Man Dream ,IFailNoNutNovember , Me I don’t care what color you are you can be black, white, purple, yellow, or green or something in between for all I care I believe if you have the talent and are more qualified then someone else auditioning for a role the more superior one should get the role. In the case of Seth that was hypocritical to me he should of let everyone audition regardless of what color and chose the most qualified voice actor.
You know what I'm going to move this topic in the off topic forum since I think there was controversy in the western animation and it appears more people will talk about the American side than the Japanese side. Which is okay. I'm moving it to a forum where we can discuss both.
I hope that works out for everyone.
I'm not aware of the Family Guy? issue. This is the first time I heard of such case.
Hard for me to take a stance on this area. I'm more leaning towards voice acting shouldn't take account into race. I believe folks shouldn't discriminate others and should evaluate whether they are a better fit.
It is a difficult thing to understand, we do not want to acknowledge such things because it makes us uncomfortable. I wish it was as simple as lets judge the VAs based on talent but that runs into hurdles of its own when you give into personal bias. X actor sounds great for the role so lets chose that person even if its at the cost of diversity and opportunity.
Thank you for having me, its a pleasure to meet you all. I'm not really high strung like this so I hope it doesn't leave a bad impression.