One of the most common questions I face when introducing anime/manga studies as a field of both academic interest (i.e., research and scholarly publication) and academic activity (teaching) is whether colleges/universities in the U.S. even offer classes on Japanese animation and Japanese comics. The answer to this question is a strong yes – but, of course, this kind of answer must be supported. And, this list yields support to the answer. Plenty of colleges and universities around the U.S. do offer classes on anime/manga, and in fact, have been offering such classes for close to twenty years now. Of course, the classes themselves differ greatly in their focus and scope – often, these are determined by the specific departments or programs that actually offer them. Many are designed as basic surveys, while some are aimed specifically at language students.

This list is meant to be illustrative, not comprehensive, and is certainly incomplete. It is also limited specifically to classes that focus on anime/manga, rather that on Japanese cinema or popular culture more broadly, or on animation or comics/sequential art around the world including Japan. It also specifically excludes classes on drawing manga. Nonetheless, I hope it can, again, provide good support to the statement that plenty of American colleges and universities have welcomed anime/manga as a valid topic for not just scholarship, but also teaching – and, perhaps, supply ideas that could be helpful to anyone who is looking to develop such a class in the future!

As with many of the resources that I maintain, this list will be updated on a continuous/rolling basis. If you know of a class on anime/manga that is currently being offered at a post-secondary institution in the U.S., or will be offered in the near future, and would like to see it listed here, please let me know!

[Last updated: January 13, 2024]


Amherst Colleges

– A Media History of Anime

Japanese animation (popularly known as anime) is ubiquitous in today’s world. This seminar traces the history of animation in Japan, from the earliest known work in 1907, stenciled directly onto a strip of celluloid, to the media convergence of the present. Animation allows us access to a larger history of media in Japan, including cinema, television, and today’s hybrid “contents industry.” Animation is also shaped by these many media forms. Topics include the relationship between animation and the state during wartime, the rise of a commercial industry, the analog revolution of the multi-plane camera, the digital revolution of the computer, and the stream of experimental animation across the twentieth century, among others. Course materials include films, television shows, computer entertainments, technical readings, and theoretical essays. Assignments, centered on a final research paper, are designed to cultivate research skills that can be applied to popular culture texts.

Angelo State University

– Anime: Swords and Alchemy
(Freshman College Signature Course)

“This is an interdisciplinary study and appreciation of contemporary Japanese animation, Anime. Students will analyze and discuss the stories presented, write about the messages contained in the stories, and coordinate a public presentation of Anime. Students will also learn basic skills needed to be successful in college such as using Blackboard, the Library, and the Writing Center.”

Bellarmine University

– Honors Film – Japanese Animation

Bowdoin College

– Japanese Animation – History, Culture, Society

Animation is a dominant cultural force in Japan, and perhaps its most important cultural export. This class will examine the ways in Japanese animation represents Japan’s history and society and the diverse ways in which it is consumed abroad. How does animation showcase Japanese views of childhood, sexuality, national identity, and gender roles? How does its mode of story-telling build upon traditional pictorial forms in Japan? Focusing on the aesthetic, thematic, social and historical characteristics of Japanese animation films, this course will provide a broad survey of the place of animation in 20 century Japan. Films will include Grave of Fireflies, Spirited Away, Ghost in the Shell, Akira, and Princess Kaguya.

– Japanimation and Manga (Spring 2001)

“Japanese animation and manga comic books are targeted at every level of Japanese society, from school girls in sailor suits to salaried men in business suits. Yet only a small portion of this genre has made it to the United States, leading to a distorted image of Japan. Analyzes anime and manga within its historical and social context, providing insight into social change in Japan during the modern period. No knowledge of Japanese required.”

Brown University

– Anime Studies
(Modern Culture and Media)

“The scholarly study of anime has rapidly matured over the past few years, and now represents a key site for debates over the social status of drawn characters, the role of animation within larger media ecologies, and the transnational reach of Japanese popular culture. Through close engagement with the central books in anime studies and the major works of anime history, this course examines how anime has forced the rethinking of gender, sexuality, labor, intellectual property, narrative form, and the convergence of on and off-screen space.”

– Global Anime
(Modern Culture and Media)

This course provides a systematic introduction to the forms, history, and culture of Japanese animation (anime). Surveying the historical developments, artistic styles, major themes and subgenres of anime under both the national context of Japan and a wider trajectory of globalization, this course focuses on analyzing the forms and idioms of anime in relation to changing technological conditions and their cultural ramifications. The students are expected to relate anime culture with their experience of new media technologies, and to expand their artistic interest in anime to wider theoretical questions such as posthumanism, globalism, techno-orientalism, and media convergence.

California College of the Arts

– Media History – Japan: Manga/Anime

“Animé is not relegated to the screen in Japan: it permeates many aspects of everyday modern life, from the Tokyo Animé Center in Akihabara, said to be “sacred ground” for Japan’s otaku culture; to public statues of characters from Pokemon, Evangelion and Gundam; to “Electric Town,” a place for electronics and gadgets of every variety. Although designed with Animation majors in mind, this program, which explores the diversity of Japanese animation art in all its myriad forms, is open to students from all disciplines. The class begins in Tokyo where we explore Japanese culture and animation production, including feature films, video games, TV production, computer animation, and independent filmmaking. We’ll experience firsthand Tokyo’s Comiket (Comic Market), the largest Japanese animé, manga, and game convention, held only twice a year. We then travel by bullet train to Hiroshima to attend the biennial Hiroshima international animation festival.”

California State University, Fullerton

– Japanese Culture and Society: Anime

“Japanese culture and society, as well as multicultural analysis of global issues as reflected in Japanese animated films.”

California State University, Long Beach

– Japanese Anime and Manga

“Students examine, analyze, and discuss selected topics in Japanese culture and modern society by analyzing Japanese animation (anime) and printed cartoons (manga). Familiarity with Japanese language is desirable but not required.”

California State University, Monterey Bay

– Manga, Anime & Modern Japan

“This class uses Japanese manga (cartoons) and Anime as modern mirrors that reflect the Japanese experience of rapid economic and social transformation over the past 150 years. Starting with the examination of ancient Japanese style of visual expression, in this course we will trace how popular visual texts such as Manga and Anime sketch out a parallel world that is linked both historically and culturally to the “imagined community” of the Japanese nation-state.”

California State University, Sacramento

– A History of Anime

A survey of the history of anime (Japanese animation) that will trace the historical antecedents of anime from the birth of cinema to today, with a focus on major artists, genres, and works of animation produced in Japan.

– A History of Manga
[syllabus – fall 2018]

“A survey of the history of manga (Japanese graphic novels) that will trace the historical antecedents of manga from ancient Japan to today. The course will focus on major artists, genres, and works of manga produced in Japan and translated into English.”

Carleton College

– Modern Japanese Literature and Manga in Translation
(Fall 2016, Japanese)

This course is a study of major works of modern fiction in Japan and their recent adaptations in manga. We will pay particular attention to cultural, aesthetic, and ideological aspects of Japanese literature in the twentieth century and to the relationship between the text, the author, and the society. We will also read their adaptations in manga. Manga has become the most popular literary medium during the last century and we will consider the relationship between modern Japanese literature and manga. This class requires no prior knowledge of Japanese language, literature, manga, or culture.

– The World of Anime in Translation

“This course examines the extraordinary achievement of anime (Japanese animation), from the modern classics by Hayao Miyazaki, Isao Takahata, and Mamoru Oshii, to more recent anime directors. The anime will be studied for their aesthetic, cultural, and auteur contexts. Particular attention will be paid to the relationship of the anime to traditional arts, culture and society. This course is conducted in English and all the course materials are in English translation or in English subtitles.”

– World of Japanese Manga in Translation

This course will examine manga (Japanese comic books that first appeared in post-World War II Japan). Manga are avidly read in Japan as a main component of Japanese popular culture. They have a huge influence on other media such as films and anime. The genre has greatly expanded its readership outside of Japan during the last decade. We will read a variety of manga aimed at different gender and age groups, in English translation. The texts will be interpreted as a means of understanding the world-views of the Japanese, and how Japanese society has evolved in recent decades.

Carnegie Mellon University

– Anime – Visual Interplay Between Japan and the World (Modern Languages)

In contemporary Japanese culture, anime plays a vital role, unfolding a wide range of non-linear as well as linear ways of storytelling with its distinct modes of visual representation, such as character designs and vibrant use of colors to reconstruct the environment/social reality, and complementing to other forms of culture (e.g., literature, film, and art). This course explores Japanese animes appeal to the international viewers today, centering on cultural/social analyses of animated works such as the fantastic of the Studio Ghibli production and Cyberpunks post-apocalyptic worldview in consultation with the scholarship of anime as a global cultural phenomenon. Equally important are to locate the origin of Japanese animation, which is also to be investigated through analyses of the prewar and postwar works of animation in conjunction with related forms such as manga, or comic strips (e.g., Osamu Tezukas works that was initially inspired by Disney) and to discuss the potential of anime as an art form.

Miyazaki: Anime Legend – His Life and Work

– “Hayao Miyazaki is Japan’s and perhaps the world’s greatest animation director of all time. The entertaining plots, compelling characters, and breathtaking animation in his films have earned him international renown from critics as well as public recognition within Japan.

In this course, we will examine the aesthetic, thematic, and historical characteristics of each of his films. What social conflicts inspired his work? Who were the bases of his characters? Whom did he inspire? Besides his films, we will also briefly examine his other works, including shorts and TV series.

The course is open to all interested students, no previous knowledge of Miyazaki or anime is assumed.”

Centre College

– Manga and Anime: Form and Practice

“This course surveys the history and genres of Japanese manga (graphic novels) and animation films. In addition to discussing common themes and narrative forms employed, we learn to distinguish and describe varying drawing styles and framing structures. The final project asks students to create their own manga or anime (a sample piece and explanation of the remaining narrative) with commentary on how that fits within the larger field.).”

Chapman University

Anime and War
(Fall 2016, University Honors Program)

“Japanese animation or anime has become much more popular in the United States over the last three decades, and today Japan State policy sees the medium as an important ‘cultural asset.’ However anime is not new, nor is it a medium exclusive to Japan. One might even argue that many technologies of visual animation pre-date its live-action cinematic cousin. As Paul Virilio and others have argued, the history of both animated and live -action film are intimately related to the parallel histories of 20th century warfare. This course will trace the development of mid- and late-20th century Japanese animated films in terms of their relationship to war. Analyzing Japanese films on historical, narrative, diegetic, and formal levels, we will consider relations among image production and viewing, in terms of economic, cultural, social, and political parameters. Readings will include classic theoretical texts on war and cinema, as well as more recent historical and sociological readings specific to Japanese and Pacific contexts. This course will focus upon the following four sub-units; 1) animation theory and modern Japanese visual history 2) the Pacific War and politics of memory 3) the Cold War, ideological alliances, and cultural-economic empires and lastly 4) animated projections and the War on Terror.”

City College of San Francisco

– Manga and Anime
(Asian Studies)
Course Outline

“An overview of the history and styles of Japanese comics (manga) and animation (animé), and the role they play in Japanese, American, and world cultures both as artistic forms of expression and as representations of social and political issues.”

Columbia University

– The Anime Effect: Media and Technoculture in Contemporary Japan

“Culture, technology, and media in contemporary Japan. Theoretical and ethnographic engagements with forms of mass mediation, including anime, manga, video, and cell-phone novels. Considers larger global economic and political contexts, including post-Fukushima transformations.”

Cypress College

– Anime I: Study of Culture
– Anime II: Language in Films
– Anime III: Manga Culture in US
– Anime IV: Literature & Culture

Dartmouth College

– Japanese Anime and the Idea of the Posthuman – Krieger’s Virtual Girlfriend
– Thinking of Contemporary Issues in Japan through Graphic Novels (Manga)

DePaul University

– Anime History

“This course is an Introduction to the history, development and cultural significance of Japanese animation. We will explore how historical and cultural concepts of Japan have translated to the screen, as well as the influence of economic forces and changing technology. Students will gain an insight into anime’s origins and cultural influences through an examination of the World War II, post-war, mid- and late-twentieth-century historical periods of Japan. This class will analyze particular examples of anime and anime artists in their historical context, emphasizing the use of primary sources.”

DePauw University

– Anime! Japanese Culture Exposed
(Fall 2017, First-Year Seminar)

“This course will introduce students to Japan and Japanese culture through the lens of the popular media form, anime (animated film). Besides anime viewings and seminar-style class meetings, the course will also include demonstrations, events, and possibly a field trip or two. Students will learn to visually analyze anime, situate anime within a specific historical moment, identify artistic/literary/religious/linguistic traditions referenced in anime, and consider anime critically using methodological approaches gleaned from key readings. This class, therefore, will foster students’ ability to articulate analysis of the animated art form both verbally and in writing.”

East Tennessee State University

– Japanese Manga and Anime Translation (Japanese)

Introduces translation theories used to produce practical translations mainly from Japanese to English. This course teaches basic translation skills for Japanese manga and animation through an interdisciplinary approach by including translations from various authentic materials from Japanese manga, books, videos, and movies.

Elmhurst College

– Japanese for Anime Enthusiasts

“This is a beginner’s level Japanese course with a focus on developing students’ listening, speaking, reading and writing skills in the target language. Students will be introduced to basic language structure and vocabulary, as well as to two of the three writing systems: hiragana and katakana. The grammatical components will be tied to theme based units, which will explore the cultural aspects of everyday living in Japan. Students will further research these topics and utilize the learned structures by analyzing and discussing their favorite anime as well as those anime that are considered classics in Japan. With the use of commercially produced software, students will apply the learned skills into creating their own anime/manga. The software comes with templates that students can use, so drawing skills are not a necessary prerequisite. Furthermore, this course does not have an art component but will explore the cultural and linguistic side of anime. Student will be graded on the use of appropriate linguistic structures and cultural reference in their works.”

Emory University

– Non-Western National Cinemas – Japanese Anime
(Spring 2017, Film Studies)
[Research Guide]

Florida State University

– Japanese Animation

“This course follows the history of Japanese animation from the early 20th century to the present time, with special focus on the contemporary period. The course investigates not only the richness of what is commonly referred to as anime, but also anime’s various origins in Japan and abroad.”

– Japanese Manga

“This course traces the history of manga from its hybrid prehistory to its developments as a postwar industry and cultural form, investigating manga’s connections to adjacent media practices and its social and cultural importance both domestically and abroad.”

Georgetown University

– Japanese Anime Film

“Generally, we will spend several sessions each on Anime Films which are regarded as outstanding by most critics, and which often consist of a constellation of series episodes, movies, OAV’s, etc. We will generally deal with pairings of films that can be compared or contrasted productively, along with a few other related films in some cases. We will also become familiar with leading Anime creators, such as Miyazaki Hayao, Oshii Mamoru, Kon Satoshi, Shinkai Makoto, and Kamiyama Kenji. We will focus on the “historical” importance, thematic relationships, artistic qualities, and technical aspects of these Anime Films. Single sessions will be devoted to new or recent Anime that are especially noteworthy, and which are of value for thematic, artistic, and technical comparisons with other major Anime in the schedule. We will also examine connections with Manga versions, and other literary and historical underlying sources for Japanese Anime Films. Students are expected to attend class sessions and work with the course Blackboard assignments and materials regularly. In addition to short reports and comparisons, students will write one long term paper at least 25 pages long, or alternatively, shorter mid-term and final papers, on different topics, of at least 12 pages each.”

George Mason University

– Introduction to Anime and Manga Studies
[Syllabus – Fall 2018]

“Every year, there are hundreds of fan conventions dedicated to Japanese popular culture held in North America, and there are dozens more in South America, Europe, and Asia. New anime and manga titles are constantly licensed and released in the United States and other overseas territories, and pirate sites provide additional translated and subtitled works to eager consumers in every corner of the globe. The worldwide popularity of Japanese entertainment media is undeniable, as is its influence on artistic communities and fannish subcultures. In this class we will watch, read, and study anime and manga in order to arrive at a deeper understanding and appreciation of the cultures and histories that have generated these art forms and how they continue to shape international mediascapes.

This course serves as an introduction to four main strands of scholarly inquiry into anime, manga, and their related media and fan practices. We will examine anime and manga from a historical perspective, a cinematic and literary perspective, the perspective of Cultural Studies, and the perspective of the emerging discipline of Fan Studies. Throughout the semester, we will return to the themes of transnational economies and gender, both of which are integral to the study of demographically determined intellectual properties. By the end of the course, students will be intellectually equipped to engage deeply not only with anime and manga but also with a wider range of global entertainment media.”

Georgia Institute of Technology

– Japanese Culture and Society Through Anime

“The anime class surveys the history of anime in Japan, compares techniques between Japanese anime and Hollywood animation, and explores various themes expressed in Japanese anime from feminism to environmentalism, war to everyday life, word plays to linguistic diversities, and gloomy animator lives to the glory of Japanese anime on the global stage. It also features cultural conflicts, compromises, and cooperation seen in joint ventures of Japanese anime production companies and their Hollywood counterparts.”

– Sociolinguistics Through Manga (Japanese)

Guilford College

– Anime, Japanese Culture and Globalization
(Fall 2017, First Year Seminar)

“This interdisciplinary course looks at Japanese culture and society through the lens of anime (Japanese animated films). We will primarily examine works by Studio Ghibli from multiple perspectives, considering how history, gender, race/ethnicity, spirituality, nature/environment and nationhood, among others, are imagined and contested in the context of accelerated globalization. We will also ask how and why anime (and other Japanese popular cultural products) are crossing national boundaries into American society.”

Harvard University

Anime as Global Popular Culture
(Fall 2019, General Education Program)

What can anime’s development in Japan and its global dissemination teach us about the messy world of contemporary media culture where art and commerce, aesthetic and technology, and producers and consumers are inextricably entangled with each other?

Extended Course Description

Hawai’i Pacific University

– Superheroes in Anime and Manga (Art History

This course promotes competence through visual literacy by examining selected images of superheroes from Japanese manga (comics in printed media) and anime (animated comics). Students will explore the socio-political, economic, religio-cultural, historical, and gender issues of these images, following their production and reception from their beginnings until present day. The course combines lectures and seminars with reading assignments, as well as active participation of viewing the examples of manga and anime in the classroom.

High Point University

– Origins of Anime
(Honors, Spring 2019)

“Do you enjoy anime? Do you want to know more about Japanese story telling? The “Origins of Anime” course reveals the roots of popular Japanese films and stories by engaging premodern Japanese texts (in English language translation) and modern literary theory. Throughout the semester we will pay particular attention to commonalties among Japanese premodern texts and modern stories, as well as the extent they differ due to temporal/socio/religio/political concerns. Western and Asian literary theories, especially those concerning topics of translation, replacement, negotiation with classics, and gender and sexuality will also be extensively explored. We will interpret the historic human endeavor of story telling within the contexts of time and space with a keen self-awareness of our own positions in the modern world.”

Hiram College

– History of Manga and Anime
(Fall 2017)

“This class will survey Japanese manga (comics) and anime (animation) from their
beginnings in the middle of the 20th century to the present. Although manga and anime are enjoyed by an international audience, this course will explore them as a Japanese medium and critically examine how they have reflected Japanese social history. Students will be encouraged to contribute a favorite manga or anime to the common reading list. Among the highlighted themes will be gender and sexuality, spirituality, environment, and the future. This course will take students through a structured process to help them develop strong oral and written communication skills for them to succeed in college. Students will be required to complete and be prepared to thoughtfully discuss all course readings, to participate in curricular
and co-curricular activities at the college, to give at least one oral presentation, and to write two three-to-five page essays and one five-page essay with research.”

Hunter College

– The World of Manga and Anime

“Why is Japanese Manga universally popular, and how did it attain this phenomenal success? This course introduces the history of manga and anime from its origins in the classical period up to the present day. Students will learn how these literary art forms evolved into important vehicles of Japanese cultural expression and discover Japanese manga artists and their key works. No previous knowledge of manga, anime, or Japanese language and culture is required.”

Illinois Wesleyan University

– Japanese Studies Through Popular Culture

“This course examines Japanese language, culture and history as observed in Japanese popular culture. Special focus is placed on analyzing cultural and historical illustrations in Anime.”

Indiana University

– The World of Anime and Manga

“This course is intended mainly for undergraduate students who have completed the third year of Japanese or above or those who have an equivalent proficiency level in Japanese. Students who are registered for fourth-year Japanese will find it ideal to take this course simultaneously. Although the four skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing will be taught, more emphasis will be placed on speaking and listening. Excerpts from animated films by Miyazaki Hayao and others will be viewed mainly in class. However, from time to time , students may need to view animated films outside of class as well. The analysis and discussion will center around the cultural issues presented in the films. We will also read manga, paying attention to language uses and the features unique to manga. We will examine the special characteristics of manga writing and discuss issues presented in the stories. Students will be evaluated on their preparation for and participation in class. There will be frequent short quizzes that will cover mainly listening and reading comprehension. Students will be required to complete a course project.”

Iowa State University

– Anime and Human/Animal Hybrids
(University Honors Program)

Irvine Valley College

– Japanese Anime and Manga

“This course examines, analyzes and discusses central themes and topics in Japanese culture and society through the lens of Japanese animation (anime) and printed cartoons/graphic novels (manga). Students also consider the work of key anime and manga artists to gain an insight into the evolution of these genres and how they have impacted the development of global popular culture. Classes are conducted in English.”

Johns Hopkins University

– Anime: A History and Its Influences

In this course we will explore the history of anime through weekly screenings and short response papers. Directors include early filmmakers Shimokawa, Kouchi, Kitayama and more contemporary influential directors including Miyazaki (Princess Mononoke), Oshii (Ghost in the Shell), Otomo (Akira) and Kon (Paprika). Creative assignments will explore anime’s relationship to manga and students will create a short animation as a final project. This class is open to all and no previous animation experience is required.

Kalamazoo College

– Manga/Anime and Gender in Modern Japan

“Why are manga/anime so popular? Let’s find out. This course undertakes a critical analysis of manga (comics) and anime (animation). We will examine these media’s historical origins, narrative features, the world’s reception and much more. The samurai warrior, the bishônen (beautiful boy), and the sexy cyborg-gender in Japanese culture has vivid representations. This course explores constructions of masculinity and femininity, paying attention to the figures of the girl as the postwar descendant of the bishônen, the ostensibly undersocialized otaku and yaoi culture and transgender manga where imagination opens the door to alternate and critical realities.”

Macalester College

– Girls’ Manga: Gender/Sexuality in Japan through Popular Culture
(Fall 2016, Asian Languages & Cultures/Japanese/Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies)

“This course is a brief survey of girls’ comics in Japan, also known as shōjo manga, largely produced for girls, by women. We will trace major historical trends in girls’ manga and culture, from around the 1910’s to the early 21st century. As the foundation for the class, we will read manga series to sample the wide range of style and content developed over the relatively brief history of manga, while developing a basic knowledge of major artists and the workings of the shōjo manga industry (magazines, reader-artist relationship). Along the way, we will also work on visual analysis skills and examine the relationship between style/technique, narratives, and identities. Short secondary readings will be assigned, largely specific to shōjo manga but also related to feminist theory, media studies, etc.

As a course on gender and sexuality, this course addresses the following: What is the significance of manga “for girls” in terms of content, readers, creators, etc.? How do these narratives and images take pleasure in / resist / reproduce / etc. various gender/sexual norms? Instead of judging texts as “good” or “bad,” our focus is to trace forms of desire found within shōjo manga—whether “guilty,” feminist, or more ambiguous—against the historical context of modern Japanese society. We will seek to challenge preconceptions about subjects & objects of desire and grasp forms of logic behind shocking or surprising depictions of sexualities. Please note that we will occasionally encounter graphic content involving depictions of sex and violence (e.g. sexual assault, rape), which will be discussed in class. (If you have any concerns, please speak with me ASAP, and we can consider whether the class is suitable for you or if you can complete an alternate assignment, etc.) In short, this class will push your ability to think, speak, and write (even draw) about gender and sexualities, as well as engage with popular cultural texts from a wider range of perspectives. A background in queer and feminist studies, Japan, and/or art is certainly welcome but not necessary.”

[Ed. note: Previously offered at Yale University. The syllabus for it is available online.]

Anime: Transnational Media and Culture
Global Languages (First Year Discovery/Japanese)

Middlebury College

– Anime: Masterworks of Japanese Animation
(Fall 2018, Film & Media Culture/Japanese Studies)

How did anime emerge as a distinctive national genre in global popular culture at the turn of the 21st century? What social conditions in Japan promoted adaptations of manga (graphic novels) into feature-length films for adult audiences? In this course students will address these questions by analyzing the forms and contexts of ten masterworks by the most prominent directors of Japanese animation. We will study the relation of anime to classic Disney films, live-action Hollywood cinema, and Japanese aesthetic traditions. Students will probe the political and ethical questions anime raises about the atomic bombings of World War II, individual identity, consciousness and the body, and the human impact on the natural environment. We will study several directors and give special attention to Miyazaki as an anime auteur. Films include Grave of the Fireflies, Akira, Ghost in the Shell, Perfect Blue, My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, and The Wind Rises.

Japanese Culture Through Anime (Japanese)
“In this course we will explore contemporary Japanese culture through the lens of Anime Studies. We will employ historical, literary, linguistic, and anthropological perspectives, as well as interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary approaches (Gender Studies, Cultural Studies, Film and Media Studies, and Fan Studies). We will watch, read, and study both stand-alone anime movies, as well as selected episodes from anime series, to understand the cultural and historical contexts that generated these works and how they in turn shape national and international media culture.”

New York University

– Anime

“This course will introduce students to the artistic and cultural aspects of anime – Japanese animation. The release of the recent direct-to-video tie-in film The Animatrix is a testament to the fact that this culturally specific cinematic practice has transcended its national boundaries and become a truly global phenomenon. For Japanese film producers, anime is not just a critical component of a strategy to compete with Hollywood’s box office and home video dominance, it is quite frequently an intervention into cultural debates regarding the meaning and identity of the Japanese nation. The class will consider both the aesthetics of Japanese animation, its distinct visual stylistics and complex narrative constructions, as well as its recurring thematics, archetypes and generic expressions, and examine how these cinematic products engage the concerns of contemporary Japanese society. The primary focus will be the full-length features of anime auteurs including Miyazaki Hayao, Tezuka Osamu, Oshii Mamoru, Takahata Isao and Kawajiri Yoshiaki.”

Northern Arizona University

– Apocalyptic Anime
(Spring 2017, First Year Seminar)

“Is the end of the world near? Are we all doomed? This in-depth discussion and presentation-based seminar will provide students with a guided opportunity to delve deep below the surface of dystopian and apocalyptic anime and manga in order to examine ethical, moral, and human values attached to certain works. Students will practice critical thinking and effective oral communication skills by…

– Engaging in dynamic, student-led class discussion
– Investigating the relationships between historical and modern contexts and creative human expressions
– Exploring hope of a better future for humanity through final group digital storytelling projects.”

– Self-Exploration Through Anime
(Fall 2017, First Year Seminar)

“Do you identify with a certain Anime character? Have you ever thought about WHY you have this connection with a particular figure in Anime, Manga or modern Japanese literature? This Seminar discusses various social and environmental issues that influence the authors of important Japanese works. Students will have the opportunity to…

– Explore the cultural background of Anime
– Learn critical thinking and oral communication skills while developing your own “Digital story-telling” project
– Enroll in a Japanese culture and language class, which is taught by your instructor, in Japan for a 4-week summer session (after completing this course)!”

Oberlin College

– Girls’ Manga and Beyond
(Fall 2017)

“This course introduces major issues concerning gender and sexuality through a survey of girls’ manga, or comics (also known as shōjo manga), in Japan. What is the significance of manga “for girls” in terms of content, producers, and readers? How does manga resist or reproduce gender/sexual norms? We will trace the beginnings of Japanese girls’ culture in the early 20th century, read canonical manga from the 1970’s, and examine more recent manga, anime, and live-action works to consider how aesthetics and tropes have shaped Japanese popular culture more broadly.”

– Japanese Religion and Pop Culture: Manga and Anime

“This course examines the representation of religion in manga and anime and explores the role these new media have played in re-creating the religious and cultural landscape of modern Japan. In addition to analyzing the form and content of these new media, we will be looking at the production of manga and anime by religious organizations and analyzing the reception of these popular media by devout fans and religious practitioners.”

Pace University

– Japanese Manga and Anime: History of Asian Media
(Global Asia, Fall)

“This course introduces students to the historical development of Japanese Manga and Anime in the post-WWII era. It examines the transformation of traditional Japanese artistic styles and their influence on contemporary manga, anime, and video game design.”

Pomona College

– Graphically Speaking: Japanese Manga and Its Buds
(Japanese, Spring 2017)

Text? Image? Manga positions itself in the interstices of image and word, mainstream culture and subculture, local and global economies. This course will examine its historical and cultural contexts, technical and narrative strategies and local and global significance, reading shôjo girls, shônen boys, information and “other” manga, as well as pop culture, visual literacy and graphic art articles.

Portland State University

– Manga: Japanese Graphic Novels
(Japanese, Fall 2017)

Readings of masterpieces of Japanese comic books, analysis of writing about the graphic-novel form. Readings of the manga are followed by discussion of the artistic style, questions about Japanese society, and each novel’s place in the history of the genre. Readings/discussions are in English. Expected preparation: 8 credits of literature.

Can be used to fulfill one of the electives requirements in the post-baccalaureate Comics Studies certificate program

– Manga Now!
(Japanese, Spring 2019)

“What is the state of Japanese comic-book (manga) art and narratives in 21st-century Japan? This course examines Japanese graphic-novels today, looking at contributions from author-artists like Yoshinaga Fumi, Tagame Gengorō, and Higashimura Akiko, who have emerged with critical and popular acclaim since 2001. We focus on issues of identity, society, and gender in Japan through the lens of these contemporary comic books and we explore how Japanese develop answers to difficult questions arising in their society today.

No Japanese language ability or background in Japanese culture is required.”

Princeton University

– Manga: Visual Culture in Modern Japan
(East Asian Studies / Comparative Literature / Art and Archaelogy, Spring 2018]

“This course examines the comic book as an expressive medium in Japan. Reading a range of works, classic and contemporary, in a variety of genres, we consider: How has the particular history of Japan shaped cartooning as an art form there? What critical approaches can help us think productively about comics (and other popular culture)? How can we translate the effects of a visual medium into written scholarly language? What do changes in media technology, literacy, and distribution mean for comics today? Coursework will combine readings, written analysis, and technical exercises. All readings in English. No fine arts experience required.”

Queens College

– Modern Japanese in Translation
(East Asian Studies, Spring 2016)

“In this class, Anime (Japanese Animated motion pictures) will be studied as a form expressing post WWII Japanese social and psychological states. The class will focus on the works of Osamu Tezuka and Hayao Miyazaki, the two most influential animators of the 20th and 21st century, as well as other related Anime pieces and films.”

Rice University

– Critical Analysis of Anime

“This course will consist of case studies highlighting unique elements within the anime industry. Discussion topics will touch on different thematic interpretations between the East and West and culturally relevant perspectives on social and philosophical topics. Students will also encounter discussions on translation, animation studios, and the anime creation process.”

Rochester Institute of Technology

– Anime

This introductory survey course examines the history, aesthetics and style of Japanese animation or “anime.” The course provides a vocabulary for the analysis of anime as well as the critical and analytical skills for interpreting anime as an art form. This course will develop students’ skills in viewing, analyzing, interpreting and evaluating the art of anime. Students will learn to analyze important series and films, and connect anime with contemporary and historical trends in Japan. Emphasis will be placed on the analysis of works by major directors and studios including: Tezuka, Sugii, Miyazaki, Oshii, Kon, Takahata, Shinkai, Watanabe, Studio Ghibli, Studio 4C and Madhouse. Background knowledge of animation, film or anime is helpful but no specific knowledge is required or expected.

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

– Anime: Introduction to Japanese Animation

“Anime as an object of cultural, historical, and media analysis. Development of Japanese animation from post-1945 to the present, with special focus on examples from the 1980s onward. Utilizes a variety of approaches to anime, including media theory, reception theory, issues of globalization, and cross-cultural adaptation.”

St. Lawrence University
Fantasy Religion
(Religious Studies)

San Francisco State University

– Topics in Comics: Manga!
(Humanities, Spring 2019)

“Curious about manga or want to test your otaku knowledge?  Discover the hidden histories of manga in Japan and worldwide; read pioneering works and become familiar with the culture and circumstances that gave rise to one of the most famous exports of Japan!   We will focus on transformations in the look and feel of manga over the last century, examining relationships with fashion trends and visual arts.  We will also pay attention to the kinds of relationships manga set up with their audiences, and look at the reception history of manga in popular culture (including cosplay, dojinshi, fan-fiction, manga cafés, and more) and scholarship.”

Can be used as one of the electives for the undergraduate Minor in Comics Studies.

Sarah Lawrence College

– Introduction to Japanese Anime (Film History)

Japanese animation, or anime, is a global phenomenon—a cultural export that has come to stand in for Japan itself in much of the world. Defined by a national identity as “Japanese” but beloved by an international audience of fans and creators, anime is a contradictory and diverse group of texts that allow us to begin to think about what it means for culture to flow globally in the 20th and 21st centuries. In this course, students will learn about the history of Japanese animation from the 1920s to the present. The course offers broad exposure to Japanese animation, from mainstream television cartoons to experimental art animation, but with an emphasis on the specific tradition of Japanese animation production that came to be known globally as “anime.” We will discuss anime as an intermedial consumer art form deeply connected to other media, such as manga (comic books), toys, video games, literature, music, traditional art, and live-action film. Our own experiences of anime as consumers/fans will be placed in context with academic theories of animation and methods for the study of anime. Students will learn about the Japanese cultural and historical context while also examining their own position in creating global anime reception. Assignments will help students develop research skills in Japanese studies, formal film-analysis skills, and creative methods for scholarly engagement. Themes will include production and marketing (e.g., “the media mix”), technology and labor, gender and sexuality, propaganda and political interests (e.g., “Cool Japan”), race and colonialism, genre, auteurism, reception and fan culture (e.g., “otaku” and “fujoshi”), religion, comedy, video games and interactive media, and intertextuality. Works discussed will include Astro Boy; films by Miyazaki Hayao, Galaxy Express 999Sailor MoonDoraemonMobile Suit GundamNaruto, manga by Hagio Moto, Neon Genesis EvangelionGhost in the ShellOsomatsu-san, stop-motion animation by Kawamoto Kihachirō, and the works of Shinkai Makoto.

Sewanee – The University of the South

– The Fantastical World of Anime

This course explores the many worlds portrayed in Japanese animation and draws from research in anime studies to trace animation history from its origin in the woodblock prints of the 1700s to the post-modern era. As Japan’s largest cultural export, the art of animated films and animation has spread to all corners of the world. The course examines animated films and animation as a genre rooted in Japanese culture while considering as well the anime subculture that has gained popularity in America and elsewhere.

Smith College

– Manga in A Thousand Years: Critical Approaches to Manga and Anime

This class explores the genesis and development of manga, situating manga in its historical context, appreciating it as an integral part of Japanese art and culture that is as complex and compelling as it is popular. Dealing with a range of genres of manga and manga-related media—illustrated narrative scrolls, woodblock prints, popular picture books, strip comics, and animated cartoons—we revisit traditional notions of what the popular visual form has been and can be. Some of the themes we address include narrativity and visuality, production of satirical imagery and visual modernity, and censorship.”

Stanford University

Decoding Anime
(Music 25)

“Anime as an artistic form often boasts highly imaginative graphics, striking music, vibrant characters, and fantastical stories. The course aims at decoding the expressive power of anime by applying a method of multimedia analysis that focuses on the interaction between its component elements: story, image, sound and music. Through close reading of works by five leading and innovative directors the students will develop tools to analyze anime and interpret it in a larger cultural context.”

– Dramatic Manga

“In depth reading and analysis of so-called “dramatic” or “realistic” manga (gekiga), concentrating on one of the major contributors to that genre (Saito Takao, Tatsumi Yoshihiro, Taniguchi Jiro, Sugiura Hinako, Mase Motoro, and others). Readings in Japanese and English translation.”

– Manga as Literature

“Analysis of representative manga as narratives that combine verbal and visual elements, with attention to historical and cultural background. Representative manga by Tezuka Osamu, Tatsumi Yoshihiro, Koike Kazuo, Taniguchi Jiro, Natsume Ono, Kono Fumiyo, and others. All readings in English.”

– Religion in Anime and Manga
(Winter 2017, Religion Studies)

“Religious themes and topoi are ubiquitous in Japanese anime and manga. In this course, we will examine how religions are represented in these new media and study the role of religions in contemporary Japan. By doing this, students will also learn fundamental concepts of Buddhism and Shinto.”

Stevenson University

Anime in Text and Film

St. Olaf College

– History of Anime
(Asian Studies, Fall 2014)

– The Philosophy of Anime
(Asian Studies)

“This course considers works of Japanese anime from the post-World War II period to the present. The course begins with an introduction to the language and theory of Anime Studies. In subsequent weeks, students watch and analyze a variety of anime genres. This course employs a comparative approach to the study of anime; each anime is paired with excerpts from germane works of philosophy or literature. All anime viewed for this course include English subtitling. Counts toward Asian studies major and Japan studies, film studies, and media studies concentrations.”

Stony Brook University

– Topics in Humanities: Manga and Anime

“Manga and Anime are now both extremely popular in the US as well as in most other countries. Where did they begin? And, what are they? This course will provide an overview, where watching anime and reading manga will be the core of the course. This course will supplement this overview with a study of the history, contemporary state, and complexity of manga and anime through reflection, class discussion and short readings.”

SUNY Oneonta

– Anime and Manga History
(World History)

“This course traces the history of Japanese anime (animation) and manga (comics) from Japanese traditions of illustrated scrolls and woodblock prints, to the explosion of comics in post-war Japan and the saturation of Japanese television with anime in the late-twentieth century and early twenty-first century. In 2015, manga made up one-third of all Japan’s print publications (over ten thousand different releases) while Japan’s animation industry (with help from other Asian studios) produced over three hundred forty different television anime series. Today people around the world enjoy anime and manga, however, this class will examine them as a way to understand their Japanese cultural significance and how they reflect social, political, and military history of Japan and the rest of the world. In addition, we will discuss the production of anime and manga and how it differs from animation and comics produced in the United States. A-E only. Offered annually.”

The Ohio State University

– Analyzing the Appeal of Manga

“In recent years artifacts of Japanese popular culture have spread worldwide, creating a global youth culture that is attracting research interest. This seminar focuses on manga that have been translated into English.

The objective of this course is to introduce students to manga as research resources that can be analyzed from many perspectives. Manga selected for the course are by some of the most famous Japanese cartoonists and represent a range of genres and styles. Students will enhance their information literacy skills and develop presentation techniques while exploring the fascinating world of manga.”

The University of Chicago
God of Manga: Osamu Tezuka’s “Phoenix,” Buddhism, and Post-WWII Manga and Anime

The University of Kansas

Manga: Histories and Theories
(History of Art/History)

Manga (Japanese comics) have long been an extremely popular and influential medium in Japan and internationally. Manga offer engaging narratives and visual imagery revealing central concerns not only of Japanese culture, history, society and politics, but also of the global cultural industry. The medium has been studied through various disciplinary lenses ranging from art history to visual culture and media studies, literature, sociology, and anthropology. Through the examination of several manga artists and works from the late 19th century to the present as well as reading a broad range of scholarship, this course explores the major issues addressed and theoretical approaches used in the interdisciplinary study of manga.

The University of Texas, Dallas

– Literature of Fantasy: Anime/Manga – Serious Fun

“In this course we will present a selection of Japanese anime (animation), manga (graphic novels/comics), poetry and light novels, focusing on the ways they represent and adapt a wide variety of fantasy themes and conventions. For many centuries, human cultures have used visual and verbal fantasy narratives as modes of philosophical speculation and exploration, as well as popular forms of entertainment. Anime and manga represent new manifestations of this ancient quest and present interesting challenges to us as readers (interpreters) and consumers of culture as well as creative contributors to it.”

The University of the South

– The Fantastical World of Anime
(Asian Studies)

This course explores the many worlds portrayed in Japanese animation and draws from research in anime studies to trace animation history from its origin in the woodblock prints of the 1700s to the post-modern era. As Japan’s largest cultural export, the art of animated films and animation has spread to all corners of the world. The course examines animated films and animation as a genre rooted in Japanese culture while considering as well the anime subculture that has gained popularity in America and elsewhere.

The University of Utah

– Japanese Anime

“This class introduces anime, Japanese animation, including its history, genres, and cultural and social contexts. Through critical analyses, reflections, and interpretations of anime, this class provides its participants an understanding of postmodern visual culture, examining issues of globalization, visual simulation, nature and technologies, spectators’ subjectivity, and representation of gender and sexuality.”

Utah is, to the best of my knowledge, the only university in the U.S. that currently offers a full Animation Studies program (B.A., Film & Media Arts, Animation Emphasis), with this class as a possible elective.

Towson University

– Japanese Culture and Civilization Through Manga

“Overview of the history and culture of Japan from 1868 to 1989 through manga. Conducted in Japanese.”

Tufts University

– Japanese Film Director: Hayao Miyazaki (Seminar: Special Topics)

“This course explores in depth the works of Hayao Miyazaki, considered by many to be the greatest living animator in the world today. Starting with his first hit television series Future Boy Conan we will go chronologically through his major films ending with his most recent available work, Ponyo. Along the way we will examine such recurring themes and issues as the role of trauma, apocalypse and the child’s point of view, as well as his animation techniques, use of imagery and music. We will also look at several Western films (Wall-e, Where the Wild Things Are and Avatar) for comparative purposes.”

[This course is taught by Prof. Susan Napier, author of Panic sites: The Japanese imagination of disaster from Godzilla to Akira (Journal of Japanese Studies, 19:2, Summer 1993), the first paper on Japanese animation published in an English language academic journal, and Anime from Akira to Mononoke: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation, (2001) the first book on anime published by a major Western academic publisher.]

Union College

– Explore Japanese Manga and Anime

This course examines the rich world of Japanese manga (comic books) and anime (animation), one of the most significant cultural products in Japan and a dominant global media export. The topics include the issues of the relationship between humans and nature; gender relations; humans and technology; “Japaneseness” of anime; and globalization of manga. This course will be taught in English and no prior Japanese language knowledge is required.

University at Buffalo (State University of New York)

– The Fantastical World of Japanese Anime
(Asian Studies)

“In the past three decades Japanese popular culture has surpassed the technology industry to become Japans largest export. In particular, anime (Japanese animation), the most profitable form of Japanese popular culture, has become increasingly visible all over the world. Although anime fandom in the U.S. is anchored by several works of mass appeal, it remains a subculture whose increasingly influential devotees occupy a cultural fringe. This course introduces students to this unique subculture and introduces an academic approach to viewing the anime art form. In addition to the focus on specific genres of anime, this course will pay special attention to four influential anime directors; Oshii Mamoru, Satoshi Kon, Hosoda Mamoru and Miyazaki Hayao. This course is designed to be interactive, while it builds a rigorous understanding of the anime medium through its history, its artists, and its institutions. Not only will the course focus on critical analysis of films, it will use anime as a medium by which to study Japanese culture at large, with some attention given to production. Taught in English.”

University of California, Berkeley

(Summer 2019, Film & Media)

“In this course we will examine Japanese anime, from early experiments in animation at the turn of the 20th century to its contemporary status as a globally popular art form and industry. This course will cover the history of anime, emphasizing the specific political, economic, and cultural contexts of its production and reception. Students will learn to engage critically with the historical, narrative, and formal dimensions of the medium. This will include (but is not limited to) inquiries into national identity and history, global political economy, gender and sexuality, fan cultures, and genre, amongst other topics. We will also use anime to consider the position of animation in the broader discipline of film and media, asking how the specific technical and aesthetic conditions of anime complicate issues such as realism, indexicality, and medium-specificity. Readings will provide a wide range of methodologies for examining anime, presenting theoretical perspectives on the form as well as historical and cultural contextualization. Films and series will include Akira, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Spirited Away, Paprika, Attack on Titan, Your Name, and others.”

– National Cinemas: Anime
(Spring 2017, Film & Media)

“How does anime create meaning? How has it become a key mode of expression in many cultures today? How does it reveal changes in culture and create new forms for processing powerful feelings? How does the anime industry work, and what does it show about global change? How does watching anime transform our understanding of our life experiences?

This course is a lecture and discussion course focusing on delving into a deeper into Japanese animation, or anime, as a medium from its earliest forms to contemporary works. We will think through issues of digital culture, seriality, East Asian transnational circulations, and the relation between anime, manga (comics), gaming and cinema; limited and full animation; cultural disaster and the post-war; bodies and sexuality, and queer/yaoi (BL) and otaku culture, as well as anime’s place within contemporary media theory. We will view works by Miyazaki Hayao, Kon Satoshi, Anno Hideaki, Oshii Mamoru, and many others.”

University of California, Davis

– Ecology, Technology and Anime
(Fall 2016, First-Year Seminar)

“In this course we watch selected anime films and shows to examine contemporary anthropocene (human-altered planet) ecology, and science and technology. In a world of global climate change, genetic engineering, cyborgs, robots, and other sentient non-humans, Japanese and Japanese inspired anime and manga offer an intriguing, creepy, and enjoyable way to explore the serious issues of anthropocene ecology, and sciences and technology studies. In this course students will watch selected anime films and shows, and read some accompanying theoretical and poetic texts. The class will explore issues and themes like global warming, extinction, biomedicalization, anthropomorphism, becoming animal, and other human nonhuman relations – both technological and biological, augmentation and alteration.”

University of California, Santa Barbara

– Understanding Manga
(History of Art & Architecture)

“This class will do close readings of manga (cartoons/comics/graphic novels by Japanese), considering examples from the 19th century to the present. We will analyze the visual design, narrative progression, and the word and image relationship. Historically, we will think about the shifting definition of manga through time and consider how politics, changing media, and globalization played a role in determining the form. Student discussion, presentations, and a paper required.

Previous knowledge of manga is welcomed (or more broadly Japan and Japanese).”

University of Central Florida

– Manga, Anime, & Gender: Cross Cultural Texts & Communication

“This seminar will examine contemporary Japanese magna (graphic novels) and amine (animated TV and film), combining intercultural literacy and communication and critical literary and textual analysis. The course will take as its primary focus the message construction of gendered norms (and the critique of those norms) in various genres of contemporary magna and anime, considering not just what these constructions mean within their Japanese context but also what happens when they are translated for American audiences. All tests will be in English translation or subtitled.”

University of Florida

– Reading Manga

“This course aims to enhance students’ reading skills in Japanese as well as skills in the rest of the four main areas of language learning (speaking, listening, and writing) through manga. Students review and learn Japanese structures and expressions, and they have the opportunity to experience colloquialisms, contractions, interjections, and other elements of speech. Since this class has students with different proficiency levels, it incorporates individual reading activities, utilizing Extensive Reading (a.k.a. Graded Reading). For this, students choose their own materials and focus on acquiring skills to enjoy the content of manga without translation. As a part of class, students learn and discuss the world of Japanese comics and visual novels in English so they can enjoy manga further from many perspectives.”

University of Hawai’i at Manoa

– Japanese Cultural Studies (Manga and Anime)

“EALL 375 is a survey of Japanese manga (comics) and anime (animation) from their beginnings in the middle of the 20th century to the present. Although manga and anime are enjoyed by an international audience, this course will explore them as a Japanese medium and critically examine how they interact with ideology and history in Japan.”

University of Idaho

– Japanese Anime (Foreign Language – English)

Selected Japanese animated films are studied as cultural products; each film is situated in its socioeconomic, political, cultural, and/or historical contexts. Japanese language proficiency not required.

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Manga: The Art of Image and Word
Japanese Arts and Aesthetics

– This course offers an immersive exploration of manga (Japanese comics) and anime, delving into their significance within both Japanese and global contexts. Throughout this class, you will trace the evolution of these art forms and examine their relationship with Japan’s cultural heritage, while also observing their departures from traditional norms and how they represent the concept of “Otherness.” By collaborating with fellow classmates to collectively craft your own manga magazine, you will delve into the fundamental aspects of manga as an artistic medium and experience how manga and anime mutually influence and are influenced by individual and societal perceptions. This course will not only introduce you to the captivating realms of manga and anime but also prompt thoughtful exploration of their cultural, societal, and artistic dimensions and their profound impact on the broader global landscape.

University of Massachusetts Amherst

– Manga/Anime

“After antagonizing much of the rest of the world in World War II, and then waging a struggle for economic supremacy in the 1980’s, Japan now finds itself in the curious position of being a phenomenally successful exporter of pop-culture. The face of this wave of cultural exports has been manga (cartoons, comic books, and graphic novels) and anime (animation).This course has three fundamental aims. First, to give students tools to understand manga and anime on their own terms. Second, to investigate the role manga and anime play in Japan. Third, to examine the ways that manga and anime flow from one place to another and see what assumptions control or constrain that flow. To that end, we will examine manga and anime in their various forms such as newspaper comics, serialized graphic novels, made-for-television animation, OVA (original video animation), and feature length cinematic animation.”

University of Michigan

– First-Year Japanese Through Anime/Manga
(Fall 2017)

ASIANLAN 123 is the first half of the first-year Japanese course taught through various types of media, mainly anime and manga. It is designed for students who have some prior knowledge of Japanese (hiragana/katakana recognition, basic greetings, etc.) but not enough to test into a higher level. The course incorporates various forms of Japanese media into class activities to improve students’ language skills. This approach not only makes language learning more fun but also increase familiarity with aspects of both traditional and modern Japanese culture that are necessary for language competency. This course also encourages students to become autonomous language learners by providing personalized tasks that students can adapt to their own needs and interests (e.g. drawing original manga).

By the end of this course, students will have:

– built up a repertoire of vocabulary and basic sentence patterns that will allow them to speak about themselves and topics of personal relevance solely in Japanese;

– developed the pragmatic and socio-cultural skills needed to attain a basic understanding of anime, manga, and other Japanese media;

– mastered the hiragana and katakana writing systems and around 50 kanji (Chinese characters); and

– learned to use the Japanese writing system to read parts of the manga and prepared texts and to write about themselves and topics of personal relevance.

Course Requirements:

Attendance, Class Performance & Participation, Assignments, Personalized Projects, Quizzes & Lesson Tests, Final Written & Oral Exam, and Final Project

Intended Audience:

Students across many disciplines who would like to start learning Japanese. The course is not designed for native speakers who: 1) Speak Japanese as first language 2) Completed their high school education at an institution where the language of instruction is Japanese only.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

– Manga as a Japanese Art and Culture

“This course explores contemporary Japanese language and culture through the pop cultural media of manga and anime. Topics include manga history, production, and various genres of Japanese comic books, manga.”

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

– Anime and Popular Culture
(Japanese, Spring 2017)

“The goal of this course is to provide an overview of anime as a category of film. The course will cover anime’s unique characteristics, its genres and classifications, key movies/shows and movements, and a brief overview of its history. No prior knowledge of anime or film or the Japanese language is required.”

University of North Florida

– Anime Cinema
(Film, Spring 2019)

“Anime Cinema explores the history of Japanese animation (anime) and offers a critical analysis of the cultural and aesthetic achievements of prominent anime directors from the 1980s to the present day.”

University of North Georgia

– Japanese Anime
(Media Studies)

“This course explores the cultural, historical, and (trans) national origins of Japanese anime, and their continued impact on its later development. A product of both Japanese cultural traditions and outside global influences, anime has grown from a niche market to one of wider global appeal. Anime is a complex reflection of cultural flow that reflects aspects of post-war Japanese identity while also serving as a prime example of how culture flows between nations. By exploring the various facets of anime and its relationship to other media, students will learn more about both Japanese cultural history, racial identity, and about the flow of culture around the world – including right here at home.”

University of Oregon

– History of Manga
(Spring 2017, also offered Spring 2016, Winter 2015)

– Manga Millennium
(Spring 2015)

“MANGA MILLENNIUM looks at the thousand-year history of visual-verbal narratives – comics – in Japan. The modern Japanese form of comics, manga has become an inescapable part of global popular culture, but few fans are aware of the rich tradition of comics and comics-like narratives that existed in Japan before the development of manga.

This course will survey the history of this medium from its beginnings in the classical period to the present day. In particular we will concentrate on three forms of visual-verbal literature: the narrative picture scrolls of the classical and medieval period (ca. 11th-16th centuries), the “yellowback” comic books of the early modern period (18th-19th centuries), and the manga of the 20th-21st centuries. No familiarity with Japan is required; this class will double as an introduction to Japanese culture. In addition to the history of comics in Japan, we will consider the relationship of comics to Japanese literature, art, theater, and film. We will also inquire into the relationship of text to image, the development of popular culture, and the nature of the comics medium itself.”

– Transnational Japanese Animation History and Theory

University of Pennsylvania

– Anime as Global Form

This course will survey the rich history and innovations of Japanese anime from its importance in early serialized television in Japan to its current popularity and demand across global streaming platforms. We will analyze multiple influential anime series (Astro Boy, Space Battleship Yamato, Akira, Pretty Cure, Chibi Maruko-chan, Naruto, and Pokemon) through theories of postmodern Japanese technology, gender, censorship, nationhood, fandom, translation, nuclearity, and kawaii culture. We will also look at the early days of accessing anime outside of Japan and the rise of cultures around fan-subbing, proto-streaming services, and piracy as well as their effect on contemporary copyright and streaming practices. This course will also pay attention to how anime intersects with global identity politics and representation, which indicates the particular strength of anime’s cultural export of Japanese-ness to the rest of the world. Finally, we will understand how an analysis of labor divisions in anime production reveals another aspect of anime’s globality. This course is a discussion-based course, with some lectures,  partial streamings of assigned anime, and guest speakers. As we will watch these shows with subtitles, no previous knowledge of Japanese is necessary to enroll in this course. Assignments will include weekly Canvas discussion posts, a presentation on an assigned reading, a midterm reflection paper, and a final research paper

– Religion of Anime

Be it shrine maidens, gods of death, and bodhisattvas fighting for justice; apocalypse, the afterlife, and apotheosis… the popular Japanese illustrated media of manga and anime are replete with religious characters and religious ideas. This course uses popular illustrated media as a tool for tracing the long history of how media and religion have been deeply intertwined in Japan.
[Daily Pennsylvanian article, Sep. 20, 2019] — [Syllabus]

University of Pittsburgh

– Global Anime
(Fall 2015)

“This course will provide a systematic introduction to the forms, history, and culture of Japanese animation (anime). While surveying the historical developments, artistic styles, major themes and subgenres of anime under both the national context of Japan and a wider trajectory of globalization, this course will particularly focus on analyzing the forms and idioms of anime in the context of changing technological conditions and their cultural ramifications. The students will be expected to relate the aesthetic and cultural characteristics of anime with their own daily experience of web surfing, video gaming, and social networking, and to expand their artistic interest in anime to wider theoretical questions that are especially relevant in the inform ation age, such as posthumanism, techno-orientalism, media convergence, and participatory cultures. The methods of instruction will include assigned readings; in-class viewings of films; lectures and discussions; a take home midterm exam; oral presentation; and final paper.”

University of Rochester

– Anime: Japanese Animation

– Life and Anime
(Japanese, Spring 2018
cross-listed: Comparative Literature, English, Film & Media Studies)

The etymology of the word ‘anime’ works its way through the English ‘animate’ to the Latin ‘animare’—to instill with life. This course considers both how anime brings philosophy to life and the questions anime raises about the good (and bad) life. This course covers works of Japanese anime from the post-World War II period to the present. We begin with an introduction to the language and theory of Anime Studies. In subsequent weeks, students watch and analyze a variety of anime genres. This course employs a comparative approach to the study of anime: each anime is paired with excerpts from germane works of philosophy or literature. The course concludes with pairings of student-selected viewings and readings. All anime viewed for this course include English subtitling.

[Ed. note: Prof. William Bridges previously taught this course at St. Olaf College. The syllabus that he prepared for the 2014 semester is archived on Prof. Bridges’ personal site.]

University of San Diego

– Global Anime and Manga: Reading Contemporary Culture
(English, Spring 2018)

“This course examines anime and manga as significant narrative forms that provide us with critical insights into contemporary culture and its future. Starting with widely-acclaimed anime and manga texts from East Asia, we will also look at their European and North American counterparts as a way to delve into transcultural production, circulation, and consumption in the age of globalization. As we analyze anime and manga against the backdrop of the ascendance of global visual culture, we’ll place special emphasis on such topics as globalization and cultural hybridity; nature and ecology; reality vs. simulation; utopia and apocalypse; new media and cyberspace; human-machine interfacing; posthumanism; and techno-Orientalism.”

– The World of Japanese Anime

This course serves as an introduction to Japanese animation. As the global popularity of Sailor Moon, Naruto, One Piece, Attack on Titan, and Studio Ghibli’s films testifies, anime has emerged as one of the most important and influential cultural forms in contemporary visual culture. Thus, we will explore critically acclaimed and representative anime in the specific context of historical, social, and cultural developments in the world today. As we closely analyze Japanese animated films with special emphasis on their distinctive characteristics, we will reflect on a wide range of issues and topics pertaining to our contemporary world and its future, such as globalization and cultural hybridity; nature, technology, and humanity; reality, cyberspace, and computer simulation; utopia and dystopia; national, racial, and gender identity, among others.

University of Southern California

– Dreams of Madness: The Art of Japan’s Golden Age of Animation
(Spring 2018)

“This class will provide an in-depth look at the art, politics, and cultural impact of several Japanese filmmakers including Isao Takahata, Hayao Miyazaki, Satoshi Kon, Mamoru Hosoda and Makoto Shinkai.

Course Description:

We will explore films from three different periods to understand the material, cultural, spiritual, and political themes that emerge in the work of Japanese anime over a 30 year period and examine how they are reflected, communicated, and represented in animation art. Taking the medium of animation itself as a core topic, we will focus on the questions of what it is that the art of animation can uniquely express in general as well as how each director uses the “art of movement” to convey particular topics and themes. Format: After completing the introductory lectures and discussion, we will follow a format based on: 1. Introduction and Viewing Each film will be screened and students will be given a list of 10-12 discussion prompts to focus discussion about the film and engage specific topics from the week’s readings. 2. Weekly Seminar The seminar will consist of two parts: a lecture followed by student discussion. The lecture will focus on thematic analysis of each film structured around key concepts (2 hours). Students will then engage in an hour long guided discussion and debate regarding issues or moral dilemmas raised in the film.”

Japanese Anime

“Explores the visual, dramatic and social conventions of Japanese animation in film and television. Examines anime fan communities, manga and their impact.”

Ursinus College

– Anime
(Fall 2016, East Asian Studies/Film Studies)

“It’s not just for otaku anymore. In this course on Japanese anime, one of Japan’s greatest contributions to global culture, we will study the history of anime, its social and historical context, its approach to story-telling, and its themes, ranging from mecha and cyborg genres to history, romance, and Miyazaki Hayao. We’ll watch both long-form and short-form anime, and explore its connections with manga. And yes, we’ll even take a look at fan culture. The course is taught in English, and all videos have English subtitles. The course fulfills the “G” (Global Study) or “H” (Humanities) core requirement and the national cinema requirement for the Film Studies minor. All students must register for Screenings (FS250S), which are held on Monday evenings.”

– Japanese Anime

“A study of Japanese anime (animation) from its origins to the present, with particular focus on its historical development and sociocultural context. Included in the course will be anime made by such creators as Tezuka Osamu, Miyazaki Hayao, Otomo Katsuhiro, Takahashi Rumiko, Matsumoto Leiji, Anno Hideaki, Rintaro, Kon Satoshi, and Oshii Mamoru. Both short-form and feature-length anime will be considered, as well as representative works from various genres, including mecha, romance, historical, and supernatural. The connections between manga and anime will be addressed, as will various aspects of anime production, technology, economics, and distribution. Among the questions raised in the course will be: (1) How do anime address what it means to be Japanese, and to be growing up and living in Japanese society, and (2) How do anime address what it means to be human, as opposed to, for example, a cyborg or a mutant? The course is taught in English, and all films have English subtitles. No prerequisites. Required screenings are held on Mondays at 7 pm. This course fulfills the “GN” (Global Interconnections) requirement for the college core curriculum. All students must register for FS250S.A (Screenings).”

Vanderbilt University

– Self and Cyborg in Japanese Animation
(Asian Studies)

“Can one be human in a nonhuman body? At what point do technological enhancements to the body diminish one’s humanity? To what extent can an artificial intelligence develop a sense of self? What is the relationship between body, mind, self, and identity? How do visual and electronic media construct and deconstruct self-identity? Who are you? These are but a few questions that this course tackles through the medium of Japanese animation (anime). Anime treated includes the works of Oshii Mamoru, Kon Satoshi, and Nakamura Ryutaro.”

Washington University St. Louis

– Freshman Seminar – Japanese Animation

“In the contemporary media landscape, film, television, games, publishing, and merchandizing are increasingly connected and help distribute cultural products across the globe. Japanese animation is one of the earliest and most successful examples of this powerful strategy. This course examines the global franchising industry of Japanese anime to explore basic questions about media and popular culture: How do we define a medium? How do consumer practices shape media and popular culture? What is the impact of globalization on media, and global media on national culture? Our investigations of Japan “cool” and its avid consumer cultures will cover: animation aesthetics and technology; media convergence; anime fan cultures; science-fiction and remaking the body, history, and identity through global media. No prerequisites.”

Washington State University

– Transnational Anime: Japanese Animation History and Theory
(Spring 2019)

Media coverage:
YaleJapanese anime characters help teach language, culture skills
(WSU Insider, Dec. 22, 2018)

Wellesley College

– Japanese Animation

“What makes Japan tick? New visitors to Japan are always struck by the persistence of traditional aesthetics, arts, and values in a highly industrialized society entranced by novelty. Through animation films (English subtitles) and readings on animation, we will explore this phenomenon from the inside. Focus is on the works of Tezuka Osamu, Hayao Miyazaki, and others. No Japanese language required.”

Wesleyan University

Introduction to Japanese History: A Manga Artist’s Life in 20th-Century Japan
(History, Spring 2019)

“This course uses the four-volume autobiographical manga of Mizuki Shigeru (1922-2015) entitled ‘Showa: A History of Japan’ both to survey most of 20th-century Japanese history and to introduce some basic concepts and methods of historical inquiry. Mizuki is most famous for manga that depict supernatural figures – yokai – based on Japanese folk tales. One, ‘GeGeGe no Kitaro,’ became a wildly popular animated series (check it out on YouTube). We will use that four-volume series, together with various primary sources and other materials, to track the trajectory of 20th-century Japan from democracy to militarism back to democracy again in the lives of ordinary Japanese people.

Wichita State University

– Japanese Manga and Anime
(Japanese, Fall 2019)

Williams College
A Global History of Manga and Anime
(Asian Studies / History)