In an earlier post, I made the case that 2001 marked the beginning of a new period in the development of anime/manga studies as an academic field or area. And while it was certainly possible that one year was just a quirk, the English-language academic publications on Japanese animation and comics that appeared in 2002 point strongly towards the development of a trend. Two particular highlights this year were the publication of a Japanese animation special issue, containing 7 individual articles, of Japan Forum, “the leading European journal in the multidisciplinary field of Japanese Studies”, and a “Japanese science fiction” one of Science Fiction Studies, with individual articles by Susan Napier on Neon Genesis Evangelion and Serial Experiments Lain, Christopher Bolton on Patlabor 2, and Mari Kotani on “Japanese women’s science fiction”, among others. (Interestingly, including the ones in the special issue Japan Forum has published a total of 18 articles on anime/manga, from 1996’s Change in the social status, form and content of adult manga, 1986-1996 to the four in last year’s Japanese Popular Culture and Contents Tourism special issue. Of the 16 journals with a subject focus on Asian/East Asian/Japanese Studies that have published more than one article on anime/manga, it ranks at no. 2, after only the online-only/open-access The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus. Science Fiction Studies published 4 articles on anime before 2002, but only 1 since.)
Between them, these two special issues, and a special section in an issue of the Japan Economic Foundation’s English-language Journal of Japanese Trade & Industry carried 17 articles on anime/manga. A further 29 appeared in other journals – for a total of 46 individual articles, an increase of more than 100% from the previous year. Many of these journals, such as the Animation Journal, Asian Studies Review, Education About Asia, Intersections: Gender, History and Culture in the Asian Context, Positions: East Asia Cultures Critique, the International Journal of Comic Art and the Journal of Popular Culture could be expected to publish on anime/manga – and in fact, had already published articles on anime/manga in the past. But, once again, 2002 made it clear that as long as the specific matter of a particular article was appropriate for a journal’s overall theme, it would be welcomed – as could be seen in Baby can you drive my bed: Technology and old age in Japanese animated film – a study of “tensions between the experience of old age and high technology [that]…draws attention to how technologies of care are not always socially and culturally attuned to personal biographies” – as depicted in Hiroyuki Kitakubo’s OVA Roujin Z – and published in the Journal of Aging and Identity.
Finally, 2002 also saw the publication of an article that, although it did not run in a peer-reviewed academic journal, was possibly the single most important piece of English-language writing on Japanese popular culture that appeared in the first half of the 2000’s – Japan’s Gross National Cool, written for the the influential “journal of opinion” Foreign Policy, by recent Japan Society media fellow Douglas McGray. The article highlighted Japan’s “cultural reach” abroad, as expressed in music, fashion, “character goods”, and anime/manga, and presented a fairly straight-forward question (as restated in a NeoJaponisme comment on it): “Can Japan revive its economic outlook by becoming a content-providing cultural superpower?” Since its publication, the article has shown itself to be extraordinarily influential, with over 300 citations in all kinds of academic publications. Even more importantly – and certainly unusually for a publication of any kind – it ended up playing a major role as a driver for the development of the Japanese government’s “Cool Japan” policy.
English-language books, book chapters, and journal articles on anime/manga – 2002
As usual, this list is also archived as a separate page. Any additions or corrections will be reflected on that page only.
(Total published: 7)
Allison, Anne. Playing with power: Morphing toys and transforming heroes in kids’ mass culture. In Jeannette Marie Mageo (Ed.), Power and the self (pp. 71-92). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.