Aoyama Gakuin University
Tokyo, Japan
March 18-20

MechademiaThe organizers of the Mechademia Conference on Asian Popular Culture annual conference, held at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design annually since 2001 (originally as Schoolgirls and Mobilesuits) are now accepting presentation and panel proposals for the Mechademia Conference on Asian Popular Cultures 2016, to be hosted in Tokyo, Japan (at Aoyama Gakuin University), from March 18 to March 20, 2016.

The theme of the conference is “Conflicts of Interest in Anime, Manga and Gaming”. There is no formal list of potential or suggested topics, but the organizers describe its theme as follows:

“After the initial period of explosive expansion and innovation in the arts of Japanese anime, manga, and gaming in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, a new era has arrived in which the effects of that massive emergence and expansion have begun to appear in, on, and around the surface of those arts, in the form of conflicts, ambiguities, controversies, disappointments, as well as stunning opportunities and innovation. These cracks on the smooth surface of this global phenomenon may in fact be the ‘stretch marks’ of its rapid global growth.

These marks include: the complex ethics of licensing and global corporate structures; the legal inequities explicit in the huge and clever online subterranean distribution systems of fandoms; the art and ethics of the sub-genre of doujinshi; the revelations of emerging subjectivities flowering in all of these art forms; the descent of anime in particular — but found in all forms of these arts — in their recent predilection for narratives more concerned with ‘fan service’ than to the ‘work of art;’ the infuriating stability of the patriarchy, yet also the slippery, evasive presence of feminist codes and conventions; but also the compelling, remarkably innovative, and creative new objects and practices that have become part of these now global art forms.

This conference will attempt to engage these, our problems and accomplishments, in discourse with an international conference of scholars, creators, professionals, and industry in an attempt to understand, through collaboration, how to address these many issues that have emerged in these art forms. Occurring in the inception of sakura in Tokyo, the origin for anime, manga, and gaming cultures, this will be a provocative time and space to contemplate these issues and accomplishments.”

Submission requirements:

Individual presentations: title and abstract (up to 150 words)
Panel discussions: title, description, individual abstracts for each panelist/speaker

Submission deadline: March 1

Registration charges:
– Scholars: $100
– Students/independent scholars: $50


[Editor’s note: Schoolgirls and Mobilesuits (SGMS), developed originally by Minneapolis College of Art & Design‘s Prof. Frenchy Lunning was the first academic conference in the U.S. with a unique focus on anime, manga, and other aspects of Japanese popular culture. Offered initially as both a public event and a credit-bearing seminar for MCAD students, over the years, as its program expanded to address Asian popular culture more broadly, the event has grown to also feature a fashion show, workshops, and talks by Japanese and American artists, creators and other industry professionals. Many of the academic speakers who first presented their work at SGMS/Mechademia have gone on to publish essays based on their talks as chapters in the Mechademia: An Annual Forum for Anime, Manga, and the Fan Arts series of essay collections. It has also served to inspire other similar events, such as the Anime and Manga Studies Symposium held each year at the Anime Expo convention in Los Angeles, and the FANS (Fandom and Neo-Media Studies) conference that is a part of the A-Kon convention in Dallas, Texas.]

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