Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Beast Yapoo I: Novel of Post-War Japan

One of the oldest and best known Japanese femdom movie labels is Yapoo's Market. A lot of people don't like it because often the dominant theme is scat. Such a shame. Yapoo is much more than that. But first: the origins.

Yoshimasa Murakami's illustrations for "Yapoo, Human Cattle." 2013 Exhibition at the Yayoi Museum, Japan. (Image: Japan Two) Numa Shozo
Yoshimasa Murakami's illustrations for "Yapoo, Human Cattle."
2013 Exhibition at the Yayoi Museum, Japan. (Image: Japan Two)

Unfortunately Japan is as much an island with its own splendid isolation as the British Isles are. Sources in English are hard to come by and the Japanese language remains a formidable obstacle. That makes information difficult to unlock. It's why this post relies heavily on a limited number of sources. Don't ask me how much progress I've made studying Japanese, because it's actually zero. Despite that I delved into the phenomenom that is Yapoo.

Japan is well-known for its large and thriving femdom and fetish video industry and it unique style. It has its own dedicated following in the West. Japanese kink caters to every fetish imaginable. The reason for that is that Japanese law requries adult movies to censor genitalia. Movie producers found creative ways around it. Their focus onf niche fetishes perhaps even led to one or two new ones in the process.

Among all those many labels, one that stands out. Yapoo Market was founded by the preeminent mistress Naomi Asano. These days she works behind the scenes dealing with production and such. Mistress Naomi Asano does not shoot anymore and. She is dearly missed by her fans.

Human, In name only
The name Yapoo comes from the Japanese novel “The Human Livestock” written by Numa Shozo. In a distant future white women rule. Caucasian males are nothing but a joke, they are the lucky ones. Black men are slaves. Asian men (especially Japanese) are considered human livestock. In the future technology has advanced so far that the yapoo, meaning human cattle, are bread for specific tasks. Some men serve as human toilets, others are faceless chairs. A select number of Yapoo are tiny replicas of Japanese cultural heroes. These warriors wipe their faces with white women’s saliva to win in battle.

From a distance the Yapoo novel looks like some quirky science fiction story, worthy of Doctor Who. While riding horse in 1960s Germany the beautiful Clara Von Cotwick and her Japanese fiance Sebe Rin’ichiro watch a space ship crash. They rescue the pilot, a woman who introduces herself as Marquise of the Empire of One Hundred Suns. As it turns out she is from distant galaxy somewhere in the future. It is a distant galaxy where the doctrine of Yapoo rules society. Clara and her fiance accept an invitation to travel with the Marquise to the future and the Empire of One Hundred Suns. Once arrived, there is no way back. Meanwhile Clara von Cotwick gradually warms to the doctrine of Yapoo. Ultimately she converts her fiance into her personal Yapoo.

Yoshimasa Murakami's illustrations for "Yapoo, Human Cattle, postwar japanese novel by numa shozo
Nippon Television Square of Objects (Image Photohito)

A Deeper Meaning
These days the Beast Yapoo is mostly known for its sado-masochistic elements. The story has been adapted into manga several times, mainly focussing on the bizarre. Like George Orwell's writing, the novel is highly symbolic.

Author Numa Shozo explains how postwar Japan feels emasculated after losing the Second World War. A hundred years before, in 1854, US Naval Commodore Perry forced Japan to open up. After catching up in the early twentieth century, Japan was the only Asian country considered equal to the West. At the end of the war it was defeated by the Allied Powers. Japan not only lost the war, in their view, they lost face. "Face" is one of the most important concepts in Asian society. With it they lost their dreams of empire.

The author of the Beast Yapoo always remained anonymous, so it is impossible to know what he or she was actually thinking when writing the novel. There is broad consensus however that The Beast Yapoo is a metaphore for how post-war Japan felt.

I never found an English translation of the book, nor do I read or speak Japanese. Therefore I mainly relied on secondary sources. A more detailed synopsis of the novel can be found here and here. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy looks at the Beast Yapoo from an non-kinky point of view, while Christine Marran analyzes the story within the context of male abjection in postwar Japan.

Next time: Yapoo Market: That Famous Femdom Video Label.

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