There was some interesting back and forth about the content of Fumi (Antique Bakery) Yoshinaga’s Gerard and Jacques, which prompted a great e-mail from Kate De Groot. Kate was kind enough to allow me to post it here, as I’m always interested in multiple perspectives. (Kate’s e-mail contains some general spoilers for G&J and some slightly more specific ones for Kizuna.)
Anyway, take it away, Kate:
I have been reading your blog for a few weeks and really enjoying it. I wanted to send you a comment on the recent “Gerard & Jacques” discussion, but I’m too lazy to set up an account to do it.
I reread the books last night because I like Fumi Yoshinaga’s work and was a little bothered by what some others were saying on your comments page. Disclaimer: I don’t read Japanese well. But I think I read it well enough to say that there is no non-consensual sex involving the younger partner (Jacques) in this story. One can certainly (if one is being *very* serious about the social impact of yaoi) debate the validity of consent in a situation that is so imbalanced from a power perspective. There is without question an unequal relationship between these two in many respects. But in this story that doesn’t bother me such a lot because–after the initial encounter–the majority of the plot (a bittersweet comedy, like much of Yoshinaga’s work) revolves around the older man, Gerard, refusing to sleep with Jacques again, and Jacques’ frustration and pursuit of Gerard. And Jacques doesn’t start doing the pursuing until he is truly an adult, several years after the initial scene.
In short, this is not a “Kizuna” type situation where the seme throws down the uke and flat-out rapes him, and afterwards the uke says, “I love you” while the reader is thinking “Is that position even possible?” and “Oh my GOD, that’s gotta hurt.” (Much as I love “Kizuna,” that opening story…well.)
You may have set your e-mail to block attachments, but in the event you can view it, I have attached a .jpg of the cover of volume 2 (from the jpqueen website) to illustrate how Jacques matures into his early twenties as the story progresses.
My apologies for butting in, but I thought that if you were going to skip this one because it featured a “rapist master,” then maybe another perspective might be worthwhile…