Writer Uses A Japanese Pseudonym, And It’s The Biggest Story in the History of the World
A major article in The Atlantic:
C.B. Cebulski admitted he once used a Japanese pseudonym and fake backstory in order to write comics. Why his actions—and the company’s muted response—are troubling
ASHER ELBEIN 9:00 AM ET CULTURE
In late November, C.B. Cebulski lost his secret identity. The longtime editor and talent scout for Marvel Comics had just arrived in the United States to become editor in chief, after spending years working for the company in Shanghai. But the start of his tenure was quickly marred by the resurfacing of an issue he had long tried to conceal. A day before Cebulski’s plane landed in New York, a branding manager at Image Comics named David Brothers tweeted a request: that someone should ask Cebulski why he had written “a bunch of ‘Japanese-y’ books” for Marvel in the early 2000s under the name Akira Yoshida.
… the company is having to deal with the fact that its new editor in chief was part of a larger pattern of white men posing as Asian for personal gain.
For example, if Satoshi Nakamoto turns out not to be Japanese, then all his Bitcoins are rightfully mine.
Marvel’s apparently muted response has prompted frustration from some comics creators, critics, and readers—many of whom recognize how Cebulski was enabled by an industry that has long relied on pulp Asian stereotypes and struggled with hiring people of color.
Cebulski, who has lived in Japan and is fluent in the language, was hired as an associate editor by Marvel in 2002, partly due to his background working with Japanese artists. … As Bleeding Cool explained, Cebulski’s position as an editor meant he wasn’t allowed to script comics for Marvel without special permission (and if granted permission, he couldn’t be paid extra for his work); yet he began pitching other companies under the Yoshida name in 2003. …
Throughout 2004 and 2005, Cebulski wrote several series for Marvel as Yoshida, including Thor: Son of Asgard ….
A white guy appropriated a Japanese name to write Thor!
… The comics industry has a long history of people adopting pen names. Editors and writers have used them to disguise small staff sizes, or to quietly freelance for the competition. When Stan Lieber and Jacob Kurtzberg published their groundbreaking comics as “Stan Lee” and “Jack Kirby” in 1958, they did so at a time when many American Jews were changing their names to assimilate into mainstream society. Pressures to conform to a white, Anglicized identity can often fall on people with so-called “ethnic” names.
So, you see, when a Jewish guy adapted a WASP pseudonym, you might think he’s trying to do that to cover up disproportionate ethnic representation in his industry, but that’s okay because he is officially a victim of WASPs and you are evil for noticing the proportions. But when a white guy adapts a Japanese pseudonym that is NOT OKAY because Asians are victims of whites.
You just need a scorecard to remind you who are the Good Guys and who are the Bad Guys and then you won’t let logical quibbles get in the way of knowing whom to hate.