- (C) Flickr / Tiffany Terry / (C) Bleeding Cool / @jenyamato / @Seanbabydotcom / @mondocomics2013 / @mondocomics2013 / @aramotokei / (C) Tokyo Comic Con
- admission / Akira Yoshida / amecomi / American comics / asian / C.B. Cebulski / Comics / confession / Cultural Appropriation / Editor-In-Chief / employment opportunities / Isaiah Ben-Dasan / Kitty Pryde / Manga / Marvel / minorities / opportunities / Outrage / pen name / political correctness / pseudonym / Racism / Shichihei Yamamoto / Social Media / Soultaker / Toyko Comic Con / Twitter / whitewashing / yellowface
‘50 Years of Go Nagai’ Exhibit Coming to the Ueno Royal Museum in September 2019
Full Details of Highly Anticipated Anime “DEVILMAN crybaby” Revealed
Cat in Japan becomes soba restaurant mascot by hanging out with food samples
Japanese Train Conductor Makes Boy’s Day, Twitter Cry With Touching Gesture
Winter-Loving Dachshunds Running In The Yard Return Home With A Snowy Surprise
One Piece Fans Can Try A New Lineup Of Character-Themed Food At Tokyo’s Cafe Mugiwara
Japanese amecomi (American comics) fans woke up yesterday to news that C.B. Cebulski, Marvel's newly appointed Editor-In-Chief, admitted to having used the pseudonym Akira Yoshida 13 years ago. As reported in Bleeding Cool and numerous other media sources, Cebulski wrote multiple comics under the pseudonym in the 2000s. Fans may remember the name Yoshida on the cover of popular miniseries such as Thor: Son Of Asgard, X-Men: Age of Apocalypse, Elektra: The Hand, Wolverine: Soultaker, X-Men: Kitty Pryde – Shadow & Flame as well as X-Men/Fantastic Four.
Cebulski has family in Japan, has lived there on and off since he was 20, and began his professional comics career editing manga. According to Bleeding Cool's Rick Johnston, "It may not have been as much of an issue at the time, but Akira Yoshida — presented as a Japanese writer — wrote about Japan and created Japanese characters, locations, and themes that, if it had been Cebulski, would be problematic. That comes with allegations of appropriation, yellowface, and playing up an authenticity that wasn’t there."
Responding to Johnston's request for clarification, Cebulski explained: "I stopped writing under the pseudonym Akira Yoshida after about a year. It wasn’t transparent, but it taught me a lot about writing, communication and pressure. I was young and naïve and had a lot to learn back then. But this is all old news that has been dealt with, and now as Marvel’s new Editor-in-Chief, I’m turning a new page and am excited to start sharing all my Marvel experiences with up and coming talent around the globe."
Nevertheless, in English-language social media, many fans don't seem to willing to let Cebulski and the people who hired him turn that page so easily.
By comparison, the reaction on Japanese social media seems to be generally leaning in support of Marvel's new Editor-In-Chief. For example, amecomi blogger MONDO had this to say:
---"Akira Yoshida was Cebulski? It looks like it's causing problems (in the US) but as a fan of Wolverine: Soultaker, my respect for Cebulski has only grown lol. So what if he pretended to be someone else by using a pen name? Personally, I don't mind...
---"He's being criticized as having "stolen opportunities from Asians" but I don't think there's a single Marvel editor who has made more efforts to discover Asian creators, including Japanese, than Cebulski. Speaking as a Japanese, my impression of him is not negative in the least."
This last point about Cebulski's important contributions is echoed by US comic creators such as J. Torres and Christina Strain.
It is worth mentioning that the reasons for the criticism against Cebulski and Marvel have not gone unnoticed in Japan, and there are disparate comments on Twitter voicing anger at the missed opportunities for Asians with the US comics industry.
Nevertheless, at the time of writing, the most popular tweets were decidedly in Cebulski's favor. There might be a reason why the anger is not understood, as one Twitter user noted, referring to the Japanese critic Shichihei Yamamoto, author of "The Japanese and the Jews" who adopted a Jewish pen name:
---"The fact that Marvel editor (sic) Cebulski's has a past writing comics under the pen name of a Japanese author Akira Yoshida has become a big problem (in the US). However, the reason Japanese people such as myself mostly react with "Why (the fuss)?" to this news is because, just like with Shichihei Yamamoto and Isaiah Ben-Dasan, we have a tendency to consider (adopting pseudonyms like this) as "a kind of artistic tradition."
As we have seen before in the case of an American girl's Japanese tea party that was called racist, this is not the first time that Japanese social media has reacted defensively or questioningly to the issue of cultural appropriation and whitewashing. However, this is still very much a developing story in Japan and it will be interesting to see how it pans out, especially as Marvel is going to have a major presence at Tokyo Comic Con which begins tomorrow.