once again i randomly came across another one of Chii’s 4-koma comic strips about asexuality on Twitter and my reaction to seeing it has me feeling guilty and torn. ;(
for those who don’t speak Japanese, the comic introduces the term “ace” (slang for “asexual”) to Japanese readers and then explains how it’s connected to aces in playing cards. it also introduces readers to the concept / association that’s been floating around English-speaking ace communities of each suite being associated with specific orientations / identities. in the comic, it’s explained as:
- ace of hearts: romantic asexuals (known as “nonsexuals” in Japan)
- ace of spades: aromantic asexuals (known as “asexuals” in Japan)
- ace of diamonds: demisexuals and demiromantic asexuals
- ace of clubs: gray asexuals and grayromantic asexuals
before i start ranting going on and on about ‘nothing’, i want to point out that i’m happy that “ace” is being introduced here in Japanese. no conflicting feelings there. i do think it’s highly unlikely that it will ever catch on among Japanese aces for various reasons, a major one being that Aセクシャル / asexual in Japanese is often pronounced “ah-sexual” rather than “ey-sexual”, making any association with “ace” rather abstract and unintuitive. on top of that, Japanese aces already use Aセク / aseku (”ah-seku” / “ey-seku”) as slang for “asexual” anyway. but still, as i said, i’m glad it’s being introduced here if for no other reason than it maybe helping people to know wtf i’m talking about if i do happen to say 「エース」 (”ace”) in Japanese lol…
my guilt and conflicted feelings are in regards to the whole playing card association thing, which i’ve long since had equally conflicted feelings about when used in English-speaking spaces.
on one hand, i’m all for supporting those who embrace these associations and feel like they’re fun and / or useful for themselves. that is the case here for Aseku-kun, the character in orange in the comic, and i know that it is also the case for a lot of people. more power to those who like the whole card association thing. however, since i’ve always felt like the card association thing was / is problematic and meh to begin with, i can’t help but wince at the thought of these associations being imported into Japan…
…especially considering how Japan in general, including the Japanese セクマイ / LGBT community, has this tendency to uncritically and irreversibly import things from English-speaking countries (namely America) and then those imported things continue to exist and thrive in Japan long after English-speaking countries have evolved and moved passed such things for reasons.* if this card association thing were to gain ground in Japan, it’d forever be a thing even if English-speaking ace communities eventually abandoned it because of its limitations, problems, etc.
i know my feelings about the whole card association thing is an Unpopular Opinion, which is why i’ve mostly kept it to myself and am even playing it down now, but gah… i just… don’t want these associations to spread further, least of all to Japan, which makes me feel really selfish and ugh…
*i’m slowly but surely coming to the conclusion that this is totally related to why Aセクシャル / asexual has come to mean aromantic asexual in Japanese, but i still lack any actual hard evidence for this conclusion, so… i’ll save that rant for another day.