conf2016A few months ago, I was glad to participate in distributing the Call for Papers for Communicating with Cool Japan: New International Perspectives on Japanese Popular Culture, a one-day mini-conference that would run in Tokyo, at Waseda University, on June 8, just ahead of (and in connection with) the 66th annual conference of the International Communication Association. The preliminary schedule for this event, has now been announced.

As the schedule currently stands, it will consist of a keynote address presented by Prof. Koichi Iwabuchi (Monash University), and a total of 9 sessions, running simultaneously (2/3 at a time), each organized around a common theme.

The themes that the sessions will address are:

  • What We Live For: Women, Expression, and Empowerment in Japanese Fan Cultures
  • Methodologies of Cultural Power
  • Image/Text
  • Audience Studies, Otaku, and Fan Cultures
  • Institutionalization and Nostalgia
  • Discontented Japanization
  • The Living Popular
  • Digital Productions: Distribution, Piracy, and Globalization
  • Localization, Adaptation, and Hybridization

These sessions will feature a total of 39 individual presentations, and speakers from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Hungary, Japan, Kazakhstan, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Given the mini-conference’s broad focus on “any area of Japanese popular culture”, not all of them address anime/manga, but, many do:

Session 1.2: Methodologies of Cultural Power
10:20 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Why hasn’t Japan banned child-porn comics?”: An Investigation into the Socio-legal Attitudes towards Yaoi Manga

Simon Turner (Chulalongkorn University)

Session 1.3: Image/Text
10:20 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.

Sexy Mulattas and Amelias: An Intersectional Analysis of Representations of Brazilian Women in Anime

Moana Luri de Almeida (University of Denver)

Session 2.1: Audience Studies, Otaku, and Fan Cultures
11:50 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Nihon ga suki: Otaku Identity and Media Representation of This Phenomenon in Brazil

Mayara Araujo (State University of Rio de Janeiro)

Split Standpoints: A Study between the Japanese-International Fandom Relationship Concerning the Feminism of Magical Girl Anime

Erika J. Garbanzos (University of Asia and the Pacific)

Cosplay/Gothic: Reflections on Animecon/Finncon 2008

Mario G. Rodriguez (Stetson University)

[ed. note: This session will also include a presentation entitled “The Legends of Zelda: Transnational Fan Challenges to Video Game Narratives” (Kathryn Hemmann, George Mason University). Prof. Hemmann has been writing and lecturing on anime/manga widely. She has spoken at the AX Anime and Manga Studies Symposium, the Manga Futures: Institutional and Fan Approaches in Japan and Beyond conference (University of Wollongong, Australia), and the Globalized Manga and Fandom event (Baruch College, New York), and her research has appeared in the U.S.-Japan Women’s Journal and Transformative Works and Cultures.]

Session 2.2: Institutionalization and Nostalgia
11:50 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Classically J-Pop: When Classical Music and J-Pop Collide in Music for Anime

Heike Hoffer (The Ohio State University)

Session 3.1: Discontented Japanization
2:30 p.m. – 3:40 p.m.

Golden Hair and Starry Eyes: Revisiting “Mukokuseki” Character Design in Contemporary Japanese Cartoons

Beáta Pusztai (Eötvös Loránd University)

“In ten years kids will know nothing about anime and Japan”: Framing the Progressive Vanishing of Japanese Animation from the European Contexts as a Big Issue for the Cultural and Economic Goals of Cool Japan

Marco Pellitteri (Kobe University)

Session 4.1: Digital Productions: Distribution, Piracy, and Globalization
4:00 p.m. – 5:10 p.m.

Subtitle and Distribute: The Fandom of Anime and Policy Fansubber Mediation in Digital Networks

Krystal Cortez Luz Urbano (Universidade Federal Fluminense)

Repackaging Japanese Culture: The Digitalization of Folktales in the Pokémon Franchise

Erika Ann Sumilang-Engracia (University of the Philippines Diliman)

Session 4.2: Localization, Adaptation, and Hybridization
4:00 p.m. – 5:10 p.m.

Moon Prism Power! Censorship as Adaptation in the Case of Sailor Moon

Samantha Close (University of Southern California)

Wrong Time, Right Place? Revisiting the Film Daughter of the Nile and the Manga Series Crest of the Royal Family

Ping-hao Chen (National Central University) and Yu-ling Kung (University of Canterbury)

Konnichiwa Amigo! A Study of the Arrival of Anime and Manga in Mexico and the Role of Local Actors in Their Dissemination and Popularization

Edgar Santiago Peláez Mazariegos (Waseda University)

Additional information about the full Communicating with Cool Japan program is available at the event’s website.

Of course, congratulations are in order to everyone who will be presenting their work at this event. And, a separate word of appreciation goes out to Casey Brienza, who has made worked so hard to make Communicating with Cool Japan evolve from general idea to potential project to a concrete event with a speaker list that reads like a worldwide who’s who of anime/manga studies.

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