If anime/manga studies is to be thought of as a defined academic field or area, then it should have particular characteristics. And, one of the ways to characterize an academic field is by identifying the kinds of journals that scholars who work in this area turn to when publishing their work.

Building up, as I have, a fairly comprehensive bibliography of academic writing on anime/manga, including journal articles, allows me to comfortably state that papers on Japanese animation or Japanese comics can – and do – appear in a wide range of academic journals. At the same time, I think it is also important to present a set of journals that, in my opinion, have over the years specifically welcomed discussions of Japanese visual culture. Some of these journals have gone as far as to publish dedicated theme issues on anime/manga, others have simply carried a significant number of relevant articles over the years.

Building this kind of set can serve several purposes. At its most basic, it may help an author decide which journals to consider submitting a paper on anime/manga to. Additionally, even though this list is essentially subjective, it can be used as one of the criteria for developing a “core collection” of academic journals to support research on anime/manga – so, an academic librarian charged with developing such a collection may refer to it when determining whether the faculty and students that they are supporting have access to the journals that they are likely to need/want to have access to. Having said that, it is also important to keep in mind that this kind of list is not based on any immediately obvious empirical factors. Moreover, again, it is a list, not a ranking – no journal on it is inherently “better” than any other one, and in fact, nor are any of them better than titles that are not on the list at all.

Regardless, so, what kinds of journals publish academic articles on anime/manga? Or, turning the question around, in what kinds of journals do anime/manga scholars publish their work?

Mechademia: An Annual Forum for Anime, Manga and the Fan Arts

Mechademia, described variously as a journal and a book series (the technical term for a publication of this type is “continuing monograph”) is the only English-language scholarly periodical with a focus on anime/manga that has been appearing on a regular schedule, at a rate of one volume per year. Each volume has been organized around a common theme or topic, such as “Networks of Desire” (v. 2, 2007), “User Enhanced” (v. 6, 2011), and “Origins” (v. 9). One of its particularly unique features is that in addition to original scholarly essays, it has also featured translations of seminal Japanese scholarship (both stand-alone articles and excerpts from longer works), as well as photo essays, comics, interviews, and shorter commentary-style pieces. Ten volumes have been published since it launched in 2006, and the contents of each are listed in the Annual Bibliographies section of this site. However, if I understand correctly, publication has ceased with last year’s Volume 10: World Renewal  – although plans are supposedly under way to relaunch it as a “New Series”.

Electronic access to Mechademia is available via the Gale Academic OneFile database, JSTOR, and Project Muse (with free access to Volume 4, 2009, “War/Time”).

Other anime/manga studies journals, by subject:

Each of these groups includes several titles. Many are published by corporate/for-profit publishing houses such as Intellect, Sage, and Taylor & Francis, others by colleges/universities directly or by independent non-profit organizations, and some, essentially by individuals. Several of them have been in existence for decades; others were just launched within the last several years.

How they can be accessed varies as well. A major subject-specific journal – for example, Japan Forum – is not really designed for individual subscribers, but is available through various academic databases (that users generally access through the main website of a public or college/university library). Of course, even a journal that normally requires a subscription to access may make certain articles available free of charge. Some authors may also upload their papers to institutional repositories, personal sites, and platforms such as Academia.edu.

Others journals (among them, ImageTexT: Interdisciplinary Comics Studies, Refractory: A Journal of Entertainment Media and Transformative Works and Cultures) are free to access online from any computer or other Internet-enabled device. A few, including the Animation Journal and the International Journal of Comic Art are not available online at all – issues must be bought individually, or viewed at a library.

This list will be permanently archived in the Resources section of the site, and expanded with additional details about the individual journals, including profiles and more in-depth statistics on the numbers of anime/manga-related papers published in each.]


Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal

Animation Journal

Animation Studies

Animatrix: A Journal of the UCLA Animation Workshop

ASIFA Magazine: The International Animation Journal


The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship

Image [&] Narrative

ImageTexT: Interdisciplinary Comics Studies

International Journal of Comic Art

Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics

Studies in Comics

Film Studies

Cinephile: The University of British Columbia’s Film Journal

Journal of Japanese & Korean Cinema

Journal of Religion and Film

Post Script: Essays in Film and the Humanities

Scope: An Online Journal of Film Studies

Asian/East Asian/Japanese Studies

Electronic Journal of Contemporary Japanese Studies

Japan Forum

Japanese Studies

The Journal of Japanese Studies

Intersections: Gender, History & Culture in the Asian Context

Positions: East Asia Cultures Critique

U.S.-Japan Women’s Journal

Media and Popular Culture

East Asian Journal of Popular Culture

Intensities: The Journal of Cult Media

Journal of Fandom Studies

Journal of Religion and Popular Culture

M/C Journal

The Phoenix Papers

Refractory: A Journal of Entertainment Media

The Journal of Popular Culture

Transformative Works and Cultures

Science Fiction

Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction

Science Fiction Film and Television

Science Fiction Studies

The following two journals have not published any scholarship on anime/manga as of yet. However, based on their profiles, my belief is that they would very much welcome submissions on Japanese animation and related topics.

Animation Practice, Process & Production

Journal of Popular Television

2 Comments on Where do we publish on anime/manga – a select list

  1. Another subject you may want to consider is education. While there is no journal devoted strictly to the intersection between anime and manga and pedagogy that I know of, below is a listing of articles on this subject. With the exception of the Electronic Journal of Contemporary Japanese Studies (which might be cross-referenced in another pedagogy-specific listing if you judge that it’s necessary to make one in the first place), none of the journals below appear in your listing above:

    Armour, W. (2011). Learning Japanese by Reading Manga: The Rise of Soft Power Pedagogy. RELC Journal: A Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 42(2), 125–140.

    Buckingham, D. & Sefton-Green, J. (2003). GottaCatch’em All: Structure, Agency and Pedagogy in Children’s Media Culture. Media, Culture, Society, 25(3): 379-399.

    Hamada, M. (2007). Teaching Japanese Culture Through Anime: A Case Study. Journal of Asian Cinema, 18(2), 197-219.

    McLelland, M. (2013). Ethical and Legal Issues in Teaching about Japanese Popular Culture to Undergraduate Students in Australia. electronic journal of contemporary japanese studies, 13(2). Available http://www.japanesestudies.org.uk/ejcjs/vol13/iss2/mclelland.html.

    Ruble, J., & Lysne, K. (2010). The animated classroom: Using Japanese anime to engage and motivate students. English Journal, 100(1), 37–46.

    Schwartz, A., & Rubinstein-Avila, E. (2006). Understanding the manga hype: Uncovering the multimodality of comic-book literacies. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 50(1), 40-49.

    Shamoon, D. (2010). Teaching Japanese Popular Culture. ASIANetwork Exchange, 17(2), 9-22.

    Tsutsui, W.M. (2013). Teaching History and/of/or Japanese Popular Culture. electronic journal of contemporary japanese studies, 13(2). Available http://www.japanesestudies.org.uk/ejcjs/vol13/iss2/mclelland.html.

    Also, for a non-pedagogical journal, I know disClosure also accepted at least one work in this vein, if it helps:

    Imaoka, L.B. (2010). Consuming and Maintaining Difference: American Fans Resisting the Globalization of Japanese Popular Culture. disClosure, 19, 73-82.

    • Brent,

      Thank you very much for suggesting these. I’m certainly familiar with the articles and the journals. But at least at this point, my goal is not to list *every* journal that’s published on anime, or even journals in every major academic field/area – just to highlight some that I think are most likely to.

      …having said that, a more formal analysis of publication trends in anime/manga studies is certainly something that I *want* to work on at some point! Tomasello’s ‘New media’ research publication trends and outlets in communication (New Media & Society, 12:4) is a great model of *how* to do this kind of analysis!

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