Princess MononokeFor many people in the U.S, their first experience with Japanese animation took place in 1999, when Studio Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke played in some 130 theaters around the country. Since then, it has become one of the most recognizable examples of anime, and film programs and classes on Japanese cinema in general and on anime in particular include it pretty much as a matter of course. Scholars have also been paying attention to it pretty much from right after its release – with Susan Napier’s 2001 Anime from Akira to Princess Mononoke: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation, and more than a dozen essays in various journals and edited collections – some of these include Between the worlds: Liminality and self-sacrifice in Princess Mononoke (Journal of Religion and Film), Animating child activism: Environmentalism and class politics in Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke (1997) and Fox’s Fern Gully (1992) (Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies) and National identity (re)construction in Japanese and American animated film: Self and other representation in Pocahontas and Princess Mononoke (Electronic Journal of Contemporary Japanese Studies). A full list of these is available in the Hayao Miyazaki/Studio Ghibli Bibliography that I also maintain/edit.

One scholar whose work has focused on Princess Mononoke in particular is Dr. Rayna Denison (Film, Television and Media Studies, University of East Anglia) Her interest in particular has been in how Princess Mononoke has been presented to audiences outside Japan and the changes the film underwent in the process – as in Disembodied stars and the cultural meanings of Princess Mononoke‘s soundscape, and Star-spangled Ghibli: Star voices in the American versions of Hayao Miyazaki’s films. Last year, Dr. Denison also authored Anime: A Critical Intoduction, probably the single best book to turn to for a general overview both of the different genres that exist within anime, and anime as a “complex cultural phenomenon” that encompasses not just genres, but also themes, and that is also composed of specific products and supported by specific distribution networks.

The publisher of this book, Bloomsbury Academic, has recently become particularly active in the area of Japanese popular culture studies, with Northrop Davis’ Manga and Anime Go to Hollywood and Casey Brienza’s  Manga in America: Transnational Book Publishing and the Domestication of Japanese Comics now out. And, to commemorate the upcoming 20th anniversary of Princess Mononoke’s Japanese theatrical release (it premiered in Japanese theaters on July 12, 1997), Bloomsbury is now planning to publish a short essay collection, to be edited by Dr. Denison, exploring the film’s themes and images, how it was produced and distributed around the world, its impact, and its specific place within Japanese cinema, Japanese animation, the works of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, and “anime” as a concept or category. Of course, essays on other relevant subjects will be considered as well.

The deadline for submitting proposals for chapters is extremely short – April 16 – but the proposals can be fairly brief, only 250 words. Authors will then have until the late summer/fall of this year to work on the full chapters, and the volume is slated for publication sometime next year.

The full CFP was distributed to the KineJapan Discussion List, and is reproduced below:

I was recently approached by one of the series editors at Bloomsbury, and was asked to put together a short edited collection to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the release of Hayao Miyazaki’s Mononokehime (Princess Mononoke). The time-scales are unusually short, but I am hoping some of you may be interested in this topic, or know of others who are (please do feel free to circulate this message). The aim is to use this opportunity to critically re-evaluate the importance of Princess Mononoke to Studio Ghibli, and its significance within and beyond Japan. A list of potential topics is supplied below, but work in other areas would also be welcome:

Aspects of production
The placement of the film within contemporary Japanese cinema
Reception and legacy
Transnational distribution
Promotion or marketing
Representations of childhood
Appeal to different audiences and growing up with the films
Music and performance
Mise-en-scène and aesthetics
Relationship to Miramax/Disney
Ghibli as a studio and narratives of authorship

All I am requesting at this stage is a 250-word proposal for a 6,000 (approx.) chapter, including full contact details and any relevant insitutional affiliation. The chapters wold likely not be due until the very end of the summer or into the Autumn of this year. With apologies, the deadline needs to be very soon, next Saturday -16th April 2016 – in order to meet a proposed 2017 publication date. If you are interested please do send along proposals to me, Rayna Denison, at Likewise, if you have any questions, please do get in touch.

With all best wishes
University of East Anglia


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