I actually kept thinking about Otōto no otto long after the enjoyable visit by Gengoroh Tagame. I then watched Eastern Boys via the library.

  • Without even reading Japanese at any level above preschool, I’m charmed by the premise of Otōto no otto.

    1. Gay J has to leave Japan (realistic).

    2. J goes to Vancouver, marries statistically improbable rice-queen-musclebear colossus. (Degree of implausibility mildly reduced because he isn’t also a ginger. [I asked.])

    3. J has the bad taste to die.

    4. Husbear widower travels to Japan to visit brother of the deceased. (Why? This part I’m missing.)

    5. Brother has no wife but does have nine-year-old daughter. This doesn’t compute either unless he too is widowed.

    6. Brother has trouble with gay colossus in his midst but daughter does not. They get along like a pagoda on fire. Musclebear finds he likes her, too, despite her failing to be male, gay, or grown up.

    7. Brother, vaguely exasperated, grudgingly accepts the arrangement is working.

    Quite when, where, and how the musclebear gets to put his testosterone, musculature, and sexuality to use remains to be seen. Will he now never leave Japan? And the story works only if the gaijin speaks Japanese. (That’s how he met the dead brother?)

    But this is such a good story you could make it into a movie right away. In fact, Gengoroh needs to get a proper agent and option this thing. It could also easily function as a four-episode miniseries.

    Even the title works just as well in English (My Brother’s Husband) as it does in the much more terse Japanese (弟の夫).

    Incidentally, Issue 2 of the comix monthly that is serializing the story has an even better cover than the first:

    Giant musclebear in rainbow-flag T-shirt carries young girl on his shoulders as Japanese dad looks up with concern

    Gengoroh had told us about the rainbow-flag T-shirt. He didn’t sound like he expected it to make the cover.

    I don’t suppose anybody noticed the J widower is also an aspirational physical specimen.

  • If you read any synopses of Eastern Boys at all, it seems like a documentary exposé on what amounts to trafficking of vulnerable boys from the Second World into gay prostitution. (Like what seemingly happened with all those Hungarian males induced into gay porno.) It isn’t about that. In fact, the would-be rent boys are running an almost airtight scam. I expect copycat outbreaks of this scam now that the movie has laid it all out for everybody.

    Daniel, a perfectly respectable businessman or civil servant of some sort, eventually does have a sexual encounter with one of the rent boys. Just one encounter with just one of them – for €50.

    Is he underage? Since this is a movie that has to avoid getting banned, no. But any doubts about that fact are further dispelled after an action sequence that follows the great tradition of wordless French action/capers.

    • Daniel discovers powers he never knew he had, like plotting what amounts to a jailbreak and fireman-carrying the rent boy out of danger on his shoulders.

    • He went to that trouble because of a previous decision, well expressed when Daniel sets up the rent boy in his own bedroom in Daniel’s home. He explains that they will never have sex again, least of all for money. In fact, he wants that to stop altogether.

    • What we would call the Crown disputes the true nature of their relationship. He does so in the startling venue of a courtroom that reveals itself as the site of an adoption hearing. If their bond were sexual in nature, their black female lawyer points out, they would simply have signed up for a civil union (PACS). And to do that, it is left unsaid, the younger man would have to be 18 or over.

    Rescuing a rent boy by adopting him inverts heterosexualist cinema’s trope of saving a whore from herself (cf. Crimes of Passion, L.A. Confidential, Blade Runner). Eastern Boys gives the businessman and his adoptee a plausible or viable cover for their initial sexual encounter. Unorthodox and questionable though it might be, it’s in the past and can be explained (away). Also unstated is the fact that many gay relationships that stay chaste begin with having sex once.

In both of these stories, gays never expected to be dads. Patrik, Age 1.5 shows us gays who want to be dads but definitely don’t want to be a 15-year-old’s dads. I see a trend here.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2015.06.14 13:00. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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