KaboomLooking back more than twenty years, to the five years from 1991 to 1995, is actually a very good way to see how academics first began to approach Japanese animation. This period includes what is considered to be the first paper on anime in a major English-language academic journal (Susan Napier’s Panic sites: The Japanese imagination of disaster from Godzilla to Akira, published in a 1993 issue of The Journal of Japanese Studies), as well as Annelee Newitz’s Anime otaku: Japanese animation fans outside Japan (in Bad Subjects: Political Education for Everyday Life). Because this essay was immediately available in open access (though I don’t think the term had even come into use at that point), for many people, it became their introduction to academic writing on anime and anime fans – and even to the concepts of otaku, the communities, structures, and practices of anime fans, while also demonstrating how writing of this kind can be critical and harsh.

With only 22 total items on this list (one book, an essay collection with four chapters on anime, as well as profiles of several leading creators/directors, including Osamu Tezuka, Hayao Miyazaki, Katsuhiro Otomo, and Rumiko Takahashi, and interviews with several of them, 4 chapters in other edited essay collections, and 13 articles), there simply is not a lot available to analyze for the types of journals that published writing on anime/manga over these years. But, there are a couple of points that are worth making. One is that right away, major journals such as Film Quarterly, The Journal of Japanese Studies, and the Journal of Popular Culture were very much open to publishing research on anime and related topics. Another is that right away, it’s possible to trace several academic approaches to anime that would become common later on – comparisons of animated and live-action films (as in “Panic sites”), studies of particular themes in several different anime (as in “War and peace in Japanese science fiction animation”), and examinations of how anime is received outside Japan – and the different parties – creators, distributors/intermediaries, and fans – that participate in this process. It is interesting, too, to note that of the 13 articles, records and abstracts for 7 are currently available online through their publishers (and so, presumably, also in various general and specialized academic databases, potentially with access to the full texts), and one more can be accessed directly and free of charge.

English-Language Academic Writing on Anime/Manga, 1990-1995


Book Chapters

Ito, Kinko. Sexism in Japanese weekly comic magazines for men. In John A. Lent (Ed.), Asian popular culture (pp. 127-137). Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Kinsella, Sharon. Cuties in Japan. In Brian Moeran and Lise Scov (Eds.), Women, media and consumption in Japan (pp. 220-254). Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.

Journal Articles

Brophy, Philip. Japanese animation in the West. Filmnews, 117.

Clements, Jonathan. The mechanics of the US anime and manga industry. Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction, 64, 32-44.

Feldman, Ofer. Political Reality and editorial cartoons in Japan: How the national dailies illustrate the Japanese prime ministerJournalism & Mass Communication Quarterly72(3), 571-580.

Lent, John A. Anime fandom and fanzines. Asian Cinema, 7(1), 49.

Newitz, Annalee. Magical girls and atomic bomb sperm: Japanese animation in America. Film Quarterly, 49(1), 2-15.

Vernal, David. War and peace in Japanese science fiction animation: An examination of Mobile Suit Gundam and The Mobile Police Patlabor. Animation Journal, 4(1), 56-84.



Schodt, Frederik L. America and the four Japans: Friend, foe, model, mirror. Berkeley, CA: Stone Bridge.

Essay Collections

Brophy, Philip (Ed.). Kaboom!: Explosive animation from America and Japan. Sydney, Australia: Museum of Contemporary Art.

– Brophy, Philip. Ocular excess: A semiotic morphology of cartoon eyes (pp. 42-58).
– Yuasa, Manabu. Japanese TV animation in the early years – animation & animated humans (pp. 59-67).
– Dean, Rosemary. Blue haired girls with eyes so deep, you could fall into them – The success of the heroine in Japanese animation (pp. 67-75).
– Schilling, Mark. A look inside Doraemon’s pouch (pp. 75-85).

Journal Articles

Ito, Kinko. Images of women in weekly male comic magazines in Japan. The Journal of Popular Culture, 27(4), 81-95.

*** OPEN ACCESS *** Newitz, Annalle. Anime otaku: Japanese animation fans outside Japan. Bad Subjects: Political Education for Everyday Life, 13, 1-17.


Book Chapters

Matsui, Midori. Little girls were little boys: Displaced femininity in the representation of homosexuality in Japanese girls’ comics. In Sneja Marina Gunew & Anna Yeatman (Eds.), Feminism and the politics of difference (pp. 177-196). Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Stefansson, Haldor. Foreign myths and sagas in Japan: The academics and the cartoonists. In Gisli Palsson (Ed.), Beyond boundaries: Understanding, translation and anthropological discourse (pp. 75-99). Providence, RI: Berg Publishers.

Journal Articles

Napier, Susan J. Panic sites: The Japanese imagination of disaster from Godzilla to Akira. The Journal of Japanese Studies, 19(2), 357-351.

Okamoto, Rei. The Japanese comic strip Fuku-chan (Little Fuku), 1936-1944. Philippines Communication Journal, 2(8), 71-79.

Pitcher, Tim. The manga culture: Fantasy and reality in Japanese comic art. Criminal Justice Matters, 11(3), 17.

Schilling, Mark. Doraemon: Making dreams come true. Japan Quarterly, 40(4), 405-417.

1992 – n/a


Adams, Kenneth Alan, & Hill, Lester Jr. Protest and rebellion: Fantasy themes in Japanese comics. The Journal of Popular Culture, 25(1), 99-217.

1990 – n/a

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