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It's likely to make the average Western onlooker rather uncomfortable because of the genre's history...a history that would be largely unknown to a Japanese onlooker. Popo is undoubtedly a product of this: even though he isn't a human in the context of the series, his origins seem quite obvious.Many early cartoons from the likes of Disney and Warner Brothers readily incorporated this imagery into their output, which has since resulted in rather conspicuous gaps in their modern-day re-releases.

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Jim Crow, and other blackface characters like him, became lazy, superstitious and buffoonish caricatures: essentially, the version of the act that persisted for over a century.

After the Civil War, Jim Crow would also give his name to a series of laws that greatly disenfranchised the black population.

The success of the act also led to a very particular visual shorthand for representing black people.

Often referred to as the "darky" icon, featuring black skin, pop-eyes and prominent white, pink or red lips, this seems to have been directly inspired by blackface make-up.

In the UK, which didn't have a sizable black population until the post-war era, blackface minstrel shows clung on even longer.

It wasn't uncommon for comedians to black up as late as the seventies, and the BBC broadcast The Black and White Minstrel Show for twenty years, finally ending it in 1978 (astonishingly, it continued as a touring stage show for nearly ten years after that). Well, post-war Japan took many cues from American media, and blackface was among them. You can still sometimes see blackface on Japanese television, for example, to the astonishment of Western observers.

In 2000, the US cultural critic Carole Boston Weatherford published an article entitled Politically Incorrect Pokémon, in which she argued that: "The character Jynx, Pokémon #124, has decidedly human features: jet-black skin, huge pink lips, gaping eyes, a straight blonde mane and a full figure, complete with cleavage and wiggly hips. There's no short answer to either of those questions, because Jynx most likely has no single specific origin.

Put another way, Jynx resembles an overweight drag queen incarnation of Little Black Sambo, a racist stereotype from a children's book long ago purged from libraries." This wouldn't have been the first time that a blackface-style character had shown up in a Japanese series: Dragon Ball's Mr. This article had significant repercussions within the Pokémon franchise, not least of which was the alteration of Jynx's skin to purple instead of black. There are many things that may have contributed to her design to various degrees, and I'll be taking a look at each of them in turn.

Japanese blackface, one could argue, doesn't carry the connotations that made the Western version so vile.

And yet, at the same time, it does, at least to us.

Some are based on opinion, like the argument that the games promote animal cruelty. fringe objections to the series, consisting mostly of claims that Pokémon promotes Satanism, or Zionism, or Communism (I made that last one up, but I'm quite sure that there's a website somewhere putting forward that case).

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