East Asian Journal of Popular Culture

As I have noted just recently, anime/manga studies as an academic area does not yet have a defined group of “core” journals that are considered to be the area’s most important or most authoritative. Nonetheless, it’s possible to identify journals that, at least subjectively, can be considered “important” to anime/manga studies. In fact, in Journals in the core collection: Definition, identification, and applications, The Serials Librarian, 51(3-4), 51-73, Thomas Nisonger specifically mentions “subjective judgment” as one of the possible approaches to determining core journals for a discipline – certainly not the only one, and with plenty of shortcomings – but also, with definite benefits and definite applications. And, just as I work to compile a general bibliography of academic publications on anime/manga, I have also put together a list of “anime/manga studies journals” – academic periodicals that have been particularly open to publishing academic articles on anime/manga, or that, by their very nature and their specific subject focus, welcome these kinds of articles.

Some of the journals on this list are well-known and long-established, with archives going back decades – The Journal of Japanese Studies, The Journal of Popular Culture, Science Fiction Studies. Others, such as the Journal of Fandom Studies, the Journal of Japanese & Korean Cinema, and Studies in Comics have only been published for a few years. Some of them are open access – that is, can be read at no charge, while others are available only to subscribers or via a database. And, just as with the main bibliography, I am always looking for items to add to this list. So, it’s always really interesting to come across a new journal that should clearly be included – such as the new East Asian Journal of Popular Culture, the inaugural April 2015 issue of which has now been published.

The journal’s scope is straight-forward:

The East Asian Journal of Popular Culture is the first academic peer-reviewed journal for scholars, teachers, and students from around the world who have an active and passionate interest in the Popular Culture of East Asia. The journal is devoted to all aspects of popular culture in East Asia and the interplay between East Asia and the wider world.

Anime and manga are specifically mentioned as potential topics for future articles. And, indeed, this first issue includes two articles that discuss Japanese comics – though, in two very different ways.

– Yasumoto, Seiko. Cultural harmonization in East Asia: Adaptation of Hana yori dango / Boys Over Flowers. East Asian Journal of Popular Culture, 1(1), 113-132.

This article analyses, within a sociocultural context, the significant textual and cultural elements of the iconic Japanese manga, Hana yori dango / Boys Over Flowers. Firstly, it explores how the originating manga has been adapted into TV drama formats through the process of remaking, in Japan, Korea and Taiwan. Secondly, it examines the differentiation of textual and cultural content in the three countries; and, finally, it measures audience reception within a distinct fan group.

Interestingly, Hana Yori Dango has already been discussed in a number of journal articles. Writing in 2008, in Girls return home: Portrayal of femininity in popular Japanese girls’ manga and anime texts during the 1990s in Hana yori dango and Fruits Basket, Women: A Cultural Review, 19(1), 275-296, Kukhee Choo highlighted its depiction of “idealized femininity”. In 2011, Hitomi Yoshida discussed both the original manga and its adaptations into live-action television series in Taiwan, Japan, and Korea – The localization of the Hana Yori Dango text: Plural modernities in East Asia, New Voices: A Journal for Emerging Scholars of Japanese Studies in Australia and New Zealand, 4, 78-99. Interestingly, the same year, Seiko Yasumoto (the author of the East Asian Journal of Popular Culture article), also used it a study of “the significance of the cross-cultural adaptations of popular Japanese media as a vehicle enabling the promotion of greater cultural tolerance, empathy and understanding between nations” – Impact on soft power of cultural mobility: Japan to East Asia, Mediascape: UCLA’s Journal of Cinema and Media Studies. Last year, Son Jung Hong took the same approach – Three adaptations of the Japanese comic book Boys Over Flowers in the Asian cultural community: Analyzing fidelity and modification from the perspective of globalization and glocalization, The Qualitative Report, 19(1). And finally, just earlier this year, Thomas Lamarre’s Regional TV: Affective media geographies, Asiascape: Digital Asia, 2(1-2), 93-126, again examines the popularity of the original manga and its adaptations in several different Asian countries/markets.

– Unser-Schutz, Giancarla. What text can tell us about male and female characters in shojo- and shonen-manga. East Asian Journal of Popular Culture, 1(1), 133-154

The manner in which manga can reflect and influence readers’ gender perceptions has been a frequently researched issue. This article is an attempt to consider those questions through language, a traditionally less-examined element, in order to shed new light on how male and female characters are used in manga. To do so, I use a linguistic corpus of ten popular shōjo-manga and shōnen-manga to look at (1) how much of the text found in speech bubbles was spoken by male and female characters; and (2) how many characters were seen.

The author presented earlier research on specific uses of language in manga at the 2010 annual meeting of the Linguistic Society of America. She is also the author of Developing a text-based corpus of the language of Japanese comics (manga) , in John Newman, Harald Baayanen and Sally Rice (Eds.), Corpus-based studies in language use, language learning, and language documentation. Amsterdam: Rodopi (pp. 213-238), Exploring the role of language in manga: Text types, their usages, and their distributions, International Journal of Comic Art, 12(2), 24-43.and Language and the visual: Exploring the intersection of linguistic and visual language in manga, Image [&] Narrative, 12(1) (special issue, “Visual language of manga”), 167-188.

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