Japanese animation is many things. On the very first page of the excellent Anime: A Critical Introduction, animation scholar Rayna Denison uses the phrase “a shifting, sliding category of media production”, and further in the same book Dr. Denison also refers to anime as a “cultural phenomenon”. But outside Japan, and especially in Western media, Japanese animation is (still) often synonymous with the persona of Hayao Miyazaki and the films he has directed at Studio Ghibli. In fact, Jaqueline Berndt specifically points to this as one of the shortcomings in contemporary scholarly approaches to Japanese animation, writing that “Non-Japanese scholars tend to assume that [Hayao Miyazaki’s] movies are typical of anime as a whole because of their mere presence in Japan”.

But just because some of these assumptions may be incorrect, does not mean that all of them are. Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli are the subjects of almost 20 English-language scholarly books, from Helen McCarthy’s Hayao Miyazaki: Master of Japanese Animation – Films, Themes, Artistry, which will be celebrating its 25th anniversary later this year, to last year’s – and very different in scope and in tone Studio Ghibli: An Industrial History (also by Prof. Denison), as well as a full collection of essays on Princess Mononoke, and two different entries in the BFI Film Classics line of handbooks (on Grave of the Fireflies and on Spirited Away). Miyazaki and Ghibli have also been the subjects of a special section in the Journal of Ecocritical Humanities, and other essays discussing particular aspects of and approaches to Ghibli films, or comparing them to other works, such as non-Japanese animations – appear frequently in edited essay collections and peer-reviewed journals – an excellent recent example is Miyazaki’s monstrous mother: A study of Yubaba in Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away, in a recent issue of Feminist Media Studies.

Now, it appears that plans are underway for another major contribution to Miyazaki/Ghibli studies, with a dedicated “Studio Ghibli” issue of Mechademia: Second Arc, set for a Summer 2026 publication date. Prof. Denison will serve as one of the editors, joined by Dr. Jaqueline Ristola (University of Bristol).

One of the goals of the issue will be to significantly expand the potential critical approaches to undertake in connection with Ghibli, such as “investigations into the studio’s wider politics, its industrial activities, and cultural impact in Japan and around the world”.

Papers for the issues can address topics such as:

  • New theoretical approaches to studying Hayao Miyazaki’s films
  • Analyses of Japanese academic approaches to Studio Ghibli
  • Sound and Studio Ghibli films
  • Studio Ghibli’s animation aesthetics – e.g. background art, CG aesthetics, hand-drawn animation
  • Studio Ghibli’s other directors (Isao Takahata, Yoshifumi Kondō, Gorō Miyazaki, Tomomi Mochizuki, Hiromasa Yonebayashi, etc.)
  • Producers at Studio Ghibli (Toshio Suzuki, Yoshiaki Nishimura, Eiko Tanaka, etc.)
  • Studio Ghibli CEOs/Leaders (Toshio Suzuki, Koji Hoshino, Yasuyoshi Tokuma, etc.)
  • Studio Ghibli’s below the line workers (animators, inbetweeners, colorists, etc.)
  • Studio Ghibli’s Art Museum and the Ghibli Park
  • Advertising, partnerships, sponsors and Studio Ghibli
  • Studio Ghibli’s environmental activism

Authors are invited to submit essays of between 5,000 and 7,000 words. The submission deadline for the issue is July 1, 2024.

Full details about the CFP are available on the Mechademia website.

2 Comments on Call for Papers – Mechademia: Second Arc, 18.2 “Studio Ghibli”

  1. Dear Organizers,

    How do I submit an article? Could you please provide an email address and contact details?

    Thank you very much.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *