Law and Justice

“In a world of globalised media, Japanese popular culture has become a significant fountainhead for images, narrative, artefacts, and identity. From Pikachu, to instantly identifiable manga memes, to the darkness of adult anime, and the hyper- consumerism of product tie-ins, Japan has bequeathed to a globalised world a rich variety of ways to imagine, communicate, and interrogate tradition and change, the self, and the technological future. Within these foci, questions of law have often not been far from the surface: the crime and justice of Astro Boy; the property and contract of Pokémon; the ecological justice of Nausicaä; Shinto’s focus on order and balance; and the anxieties of origins in J-horror. This volume brings together a range of global scholars to reflect on and critically engage with the place of law and justice in Japan’s popular cultural legacy. It explores not only the global impact of this legacy, but what the images, games, narratives, and artefacts that comprise it reveal about law, humanity, justice, and authority in the twenty-first century.”

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Editors: Ashley Pearson, Thomas Giddens, & Kieran Tranter

Publisher: Routledge (Abingdon, UK)


1. Pearson, Ashley, Giddens, Thomas, & Tranter, Kieran. Crime fighting robots and duelling pocket monsters: Law and justice in Japanese popular culture (pp. 1-16).

Part I: Possibilities of justice

2. Hourigan, Daniel. The symptoms of the just: Psycho-Pass, judg(e)ment, and the asymptomatic commons (pp. 19-31).

3. Fisher, James C. Pirates, giants and the state: legal authority in manga and anime (pp. 32-44).

5. Giddens, Thomas. Justice in the sea of corruption: Nausicaa as ecological jurisprudence (pp. 58-74).

Part II: The legal subject

7. Tranter, Kieran. Doing right in the world with 100,000 horsepower: Osamu Tezuka’s Tetsuwan Atomu (Astro Boy), essense, posthumanity and techno-humanism (pp. 95-111)

8. Taylor-Harding, Rosie. Caught in couture: Regulating clothing and the body in Kill la Kill (pp. 112-125).

9. Peters, Timothy D. ‘Holy trans-jurisdictional representations of justice, Batman!’: Globalisation, persona and mask in Kuwata’s Batmanga and Morrison’s Batman, Incorporated (pp. 126-152).

Part III: The power and problem of the image

10. Baudinette, Thomas. ‘Finding the law’ through creating and consuming gay manga in Japan: From heteronormativity to queer activism (pp. 155-167).

11. Beattie, Scott. Regulating counterpublics in online yaoi fan communities (pp. 168-182).

12. Al-Alosi, Hadeel. ‘Is yaoi illegal?!’: Let’s get real about the potential criminalization of yaoi (pp. 183-195).

13. Tsuji, Yuichiro. Constitutional analysis of secondary works in Japan: From otaku to the world (pp. 196-210).

Part IV: Specificities of law and justice in everyday Japan

14. Pearson, Ashley. ‘The world is rotten’: Execution and power in Death Note and the Japanese capital punishment system (pp. 213-226).

16. Powell, Richard, & Kumaki, Hideyuki. Rules and unruliness in manga depictions of community police boxes (pp. 238-254).

Other essays:

4. Crofts, Penny, & Van Rijsvijk, Honni. Traumatic origins in Hart and Ringu (pp. 44-57).

6. Mitchell, Dale. Masterful trainers and villainous liberators: law and justice in Pokemon Black and White (pp. 74-92).

15. Colombo, Giorgio Fabio. Debts, family, and identity after the collapse of the bubble: Miyabe Miyuki’s All She Was Worth (pp. 227-237).

17. Rush, Peter D., & Yougn, Alison. The image-characters of criminal justice in Tokyo (pp. 266-273).