Why Is This 19th Century US Slave Memoir a Hit In Japan?

Harriet Jacobs in 1894, via Wikimedia Commons

Editor's Note:

Also in the news: the wigs of “Thor: Ragnarok,” and the differences we see when a man films Wonder Woman. Welcome to the Daily Blunt!

Why have Japanese readers become so enamored with Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, written by Harriet Ann Jacobs in 1861? Since being translated in 2013, the book has become what’s known as a “quiet bestseller,” according to this Forbes article, which compares its success abroad to the way American readers have gravitated toward The Diary of Anne Frank. It has ended up introducing Japanese readers to the history of American slavery — ironic, since what most contemporary Americans know about slavery in their own country wouldn’t fill a book.

Here’s why women filmmakers are needed to create a cultural juggernaut like “Wonder Woman.” In its middling review of “Justice League,” the AP points out the very obvious difference in the way Gal Gadot’s likeness is captured on film when someone else’s eye is behind the lens: “[Zack] Snyder chooses on multiple occasions to let the shot linger on Gadot’s figure, whether panning up her legs unnecessarily to get to a normal scene of dialogue or making sure that the camera is there to capture the moment when her skirt flies up in an action sequence. It is, quite frankly, gross and a wildly disappointing departure from what Patty Jenkins was able to accomplish with the character earlier this year.” The difference may not register (consciously, anyway) to children who show up to see their hero ride again, but their parents will take note and pine for Jenkins’ return.

Elsewhere on the superhero beat, now that the hype over “Thor: Ragnarok” has died down, we can evaluate its wigs with brutal impartiality. Pop culture hairpiece critic Wig Wurq is on the case, riffing on the film’s aesthetic highs and lows, dropping major truth-bombs along the way, such as: “Witches, cold shoulders, and women reclaiming their time are what 2017 is all about.” Our verdict: this review Does Wurq.

“Blade Runner: 2049” may be squarely in your rear-view mirror by now, but that makes it all the more appropriate to take a peep at the astonishingly detailed miniatures created for the film. To make a proper sci-fi movie you have to build a world from the ground up. Thankfully, as these pictures help illustrate, you only have to do it on a much smaller scale. Bonus points for the shots of all that teeny-tiny graffiti scrawled on the teeny-tiny little dystopian walls!