Tag: books

Annual Bibliography of Anime and Manga Studies – 2007 Ed.

Introduction

From Impressionism to AnimeIn terms of major new contributions to anime/manga studies, the highlight of 2007 was easily Susan Napier’s monograph From impressionism to anime: Japan as fantasy and fan cult in the mind of the West. Napier, the author of 2001’s Anime From Akira to Mononoke: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation, the first book-length academic study of Japanese animation to be published in English had more right than anyone to be called “the anime professor”, and with this volume she built up on her reputation and added to it. One reviewer called it “theoretically sophisticated, but eminently readable and respectful of fan culture”; another’s appraisal is “a wide-ranging but very accessible book [that is] a good introduction to a variety of historical Japan fads, and a helpful call to see them in relation to one another.”

2007’s list of of new chapters on anime/manga in edited essay collections consists of a total of 21 individual titles, including five in a collection specifically on animation, two in a book on “superhero” characters in literary and visual traditions around the world, and a particularly interesting study of Hayao Miyazaki’s work as not only a director, but as a master of adapting works from other media into the medium of animation.

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Annual Bibliography of Anime and Manga Studies: 1996 Ed.

Going through the history of academic publications on anime and manga, it is no particular surprise that the sheer numbers of such publications have generally increased over the years. This is consistent with the results of most recent studies of trends in academic publishing, across many different fields (although of course, occasionally, such studies do find topics where publications are stagnating or even decreasing). Or, to say it differently, the farther back I go, the fewer publications there are for me to locate and record – from dozens, to really just a few per year.

But, having said that, although only thirteen publications on anime/manga appeared in 1996, these thirteen included several that were ground-breaking then, and still continue to remain important. One is Frederik Schodt’s Dreamland Japan: Writings on Modern Manga – an update, and in the author’s own words, “a sequel, or companion volume of sorts” to his 1983 Manga! Manga!: The World of Japanese Comics – and to this date, probably the best general introduction to manga as a particular form of Japanese visual culture.

Samurai From Outer SpaceAnother, Samurai from Outer Space: Understanding Japanese Animation, by Antonia Levi, was the first book on anime written by an academic author with PhD-level training in Japanese history and extensive teaching experience. Although not an academic title in of itself, and primarily just a survey of major thematic elements (among them, gods and demons, heroes and villains, death, the roles of women, and depictions of relationships and gender issues) that are frequently present in Japanese animation, it nonetheless also addressed several questions that have since come up time and time again – the complex and multi-directional relationship between anime and American media, anime’s ways of both depicting and avoiding depictions of different races, and even, ultimately, the basic question of what exactly makes anime so appealing to American audiences. It introduced readers to these questions – and to the potential ways of answering them, and served as a demonstration of how an author could write a full-length book on anime. It is also no surprise that scholars have been referring to it, both for its seminal place in English-language anime/manga studies, and for many of its specific arguments, examples and points, ever since.

Beyond these two books, the 1996 list also includes several early articles on anime written by Japanese scholars, but in English, and a series of fascinating pieces on the manga markets in Europe and the U.S., as well as the history of manga criticism, that were published in issues of the Japan Foundation’s Japanese Book News newsletter.

English-language books, book chapters, and academic articles on anime/manga: 1996

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Annual Bibliography of Anime and Manga Studies: 1997 Ed.

One common way to characterize any academic field is by its publication patterns and trends. In what formats is research in this field published? What kinds of topics does it cover? If the majority of the research is published in the form of journal articles, is it concentrated in a small group of journals, or spread out among many?

Developing the annual bibliographies of English-language academic publications on anime and manga is an important step towards coming up with this kind of characterization for anime/manga studies as an academic field. But, each annual list is only a single snapshot. A more thorough understanding of how exactly this field looks like would require comparing the publication patterns of anime/manga studies in different years. For example, the lists of books, book chapters, and journal articles on anime/manga published last year, and three years ago are actually fairly similar. But, of course, the question comes up – how different would the list look if we expand the range more than just a few years? To answer it, I decided to jump back a bit, and also compile the same list for 1997. And, the differences between what is published on anime/manga now and what was published then are immediate and obvious.

The full list of 1997 English-language publications of all types on anime/manga consists of a total of 28 items: 3 books, 5 chapters in edited collections, and twenty articles. This compares, for example to last year’s 8, over 20 chapters, and more than 80 individual journal articles – or to the around 40 articles that have been published this year so far.

All three of the books are “popular”, rather than scholarly; two of them are essentially guidebooks, and the third, a collection of interviews. It is also curious that two of the five chapters deal with the same topic – vampires in Japanese visual culture – and even discuss the same titles. One particularly interesting point to notice regarding the journal articles is that almost every one of them that was published in a a major academic journal is currently available online, either through the journal’s website, or through another database. This is even true for one paper (Transcultural orgasm as apocalypse: Urutsukidoji: The Legend of the Overfiend) that appeared in a journal which ceased publication in 1999. Three more are available in open access – two through their journals’ websites, and one through an institutional repository. So, in fact, it is easier to access and read these articles now than it was when they were first published! And, it’s really interesting to see names on this list – like Helen McCarthy, Anne Cooper-Chen, and Antonia Levi – that should be familiar to anyone with an interest in how Western critics have responded to Japanese popular culture.

Considering all of these publications together, yes, there is the just the curiosity factor of comparing them to to the kind of writing on anime/manga that is published now. But, it is also important to remember that several of these publications are essentially foundational to how anime/manga studies has developed as a field. Through being cited and included in class reading lists, they have influenced how we approach Japanese animation and Japanese comics academically – what general topics and specific works we look at, what kinds of questions we ask, and really, even, what kinds of answers we hope to get…

English-language books, book chapters, and academic articles on anime/manga: 1997

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Annual Bibliography of Anime and Manga Studies – 2008 Ed.: Part 2

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, I am currently trying out a new way to manage the work-flow that would go into developing a comprehensive listing of English-language academic publications of anime and manga – i.e., the Bibliography of Anime and Manga Studies. Whereas previously, i would work to put together comprehensive lists of all types of publications (books, chapters in edited collections, entries in academic encyclopedia, journal articles, studies/working papers/other grey literature), and only present it once the list was complete, now, I am breaking the final list into major components, and presenting them separately. I presented the directory to/list of articles on Japanese animation (anime) and comics (manga) published in English-language academic journals in 2008 already. Right now, I am also pleased to present a similar list of monographs, edited essay collections, and individual chapters (as well as articles published in “scholarly encyclopedias”, and as grey literature.)

English-language academic publications on anime and manga: 2008, Part 2 – Books, Essay Collections, Book Chapters, etc.  (more…)

“What to take, what to leave”: Thoughts on compiling bibliographies of writing on anime/manga

One of the most basic concepts underlying the practice of organizing and representing information is that it requires making choices. The organization and representation of information, choosing what to present, and how to arrange it is an ideological act, and even to a degree a political act. Guides, indexes, directories, databases, classification systems, and other methods of providing access to information and establishing “bibliographic control” are designed with particular goals in mind, and exist because of particular reasons, affordances, biases and prejudices. And, in turn, being aware of these goals and reasons, and of the effects that they have on information sources, services and tools, is a major component of information literacy, of being an effective user of information and a successful researcher.

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Building an Anime and Manga Studies Bibliography – Tools and methods

It is not easy to make the process of putting together the lists of academic publications on anime/manga that are available in the Bibliographies section of this website sound particularly interesting. But, nonetheless, describing some of the steps in this process can actually be a good demonstration of research skills and techniques – and at the same time, can also highlight the particular “publication characteristics” of anime and manga studies as a discrete field or area. So, as I go about compiling and updating these lists, what do I actually do? (In recording/documenting this process, I am inspired by Robert Singerman’s “Creating the optimum bibliography: From reference chaining to bibliographic control”, in David William Foster & James R. Kelly (eds.), Bibliography in literature, folklore, language and linguistics: Essays on the status of the field (pp. 19-47), Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co – a uniquely pedantic essay, – but it its own way, invaluable.) (more…)

Annual Bibliography of Anime and Manga Studies – 2009 Ed.

Since launching this project over a year ago, a significant portion of my work has gone towards presenting materials – such as lists of recent academic publications on anime/manga, that until now, have not been available anywhere publicly. With the lists now complete going back to 2010 – I can begin moving into the project’s next stage. This will involve going back into my own archives and the legacy Online Bibliography of Anime and Manga Research to extract and present lists of English-language scholarship on anime/manga published prior to 2010 – all the to 1977 – the year that the first such paper that I’m aware of was published. And, right now, I am pleased to be able to present the 2009 edition of the Annual Bibliography of Anime and Manga Studies.

As with all other editions of the Bibliography, it is also available as a separate page. Any further updates will be reflected on that page only, not in this post.

Introduction

In terms of new publications on anime/manga, 2009 definitely stood out for the relatively large number of books that were published over the course of the year. These included two separate monographs on the life and works of “God of manga” Osamu Tezuka, Thomas Lamarre’s intensely theoretical The Anime Machine: A Media Theory of Animation, with its strong call to shift the focus in anime studies away from an emphasis on either textual or anthropological/sociological readings, and towards an analysis that builds on the unique qualities of animation as an art form and a way of representation, two separate personal testimonials by anime industry professionals, and even a pair of titles on anime/manga in the Rough Guides series of popular reference handbooks. In addition, the year saw over 20 individual chapters on anime in various essay collections, and some 70 individual peer-reviewed articles, once again in a wide range of journals in fields including animation studies, comics studies, Asian/East Asian/Japanese studies, film studies, education, literature, media studies, and other areas of the humanities and social sciences. (more…)

Annual Bibliography of Anime and Manga Studies – 2010 Ed.

To the best of my knowledge, 2010 was simply THE high point to date of English-language scholarly interest in anime and manga, with 10 new monographs, 6 essay collections (with a total of well over a hundred chapters), 29 more chapters in other essay collections, and over 60 individual articles in scholarly-peer reviewed journals.

Particularly noticeable trends this year included:

  • With Open Court Publishing Company’s Anime and Philosophy and Manga and Philosophy essay collections, at accessible price points and distributed to general book stores, an effort to introduce the ideas and practices of scholarly approaches to Japanese animation and Japanese comics to general audiences.

As always, it is possible that this list is not absolutely complete – you are welcome to suggest additional titles to add.

And, as always, this list is also available as a separate page. Any new updates will be reflected on that page only.

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Some challenges of locating and accessing books on anime

ApocalypseJapanese animation came to the U.S. in the summer of 1961, with the theatrical release of Alakazam the Great (Saiyuki), Magic Boy (Shonen Sarutobi Sasuke), and Panda and the Magic Serpent (Hakujaden). It took over 30 years for the first English-language books on anime – Helen McCarthy’s 1993 Anime!: A Beginner’s Guide to Japanese Animation and Antonia Levi’s 1996 Samurai from Outer Space: Understanding Japanese Animation to appear

another thirty-five years for the first English-language book on anime – Antonia Levi’s 1996 Samurai from Outer Space: Understanding Japanese Animation – to appear.

But over 50 more books on anime have been published since those first ones.

Obviously, these books are diverse in their styles, approaches, and purposes. Some, like Anime Classics Zettai!: 100 Must-See Japanese Animation Masterpieces, Anime Explosion: The What? Why? and Wow! of Japanese Animation, and The Rough Guide to Anime are general introductions, intended for the casual reader. Others, such as Understanding Manga and Anime are essentially tools, meant specifically to aid public and academic librarians. And of course, there are the scholarly monographs and edited essay collections – Anime from Akira to Mononoke: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation; Anime’s Media Mix: Franchising Toys and Characters in Japan, Cinema Anime: Critical Engagements with Japanese Animation, and many more. But, almost all of these books, regardless of their differences, have one thing in common – straight-forward, descriptive titles that almost always include the word “anime”. And what that means is that a reader who is trying to access these books, whether on Amazon or in a library catalog, should be able to locate them without too much difficulty simply by searching for the word. (more…)

Subject Encyclopedias in Anime and Manga Studies

Contemporary Japanese CultureTo most people, “encyclopedia” means one of two things. It can mean a national encyclopedia like the Encyclopedia Britannica – obsolete, a prop, a historical artifact. Or it can mean Wikipedia – criticized and controversial (and the subject of extensive research – a lot of it is summarized in Mesrage, M., et al., “The sum of all human knowledge”: A systematic review of scholarly research on the content of Wikipedia, Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, forthcoming) – but also undeniably useful, and most importantly, heavily used by students at all levels. However, in the academic context, “encyclopedia” can also refer to a particular type of information resource – the “subject encyclopedia”, an edited collection of short articles on topics related to a particular field, discipline, area or theme.

The purpose of this type of resource is not to present original research, but rather, to “provide both undergraduate students and researchers with a starting point to clarify terminology and discover further reading” – East, John W. (2010) “The Rolls Royce of the library reference collection”: The subject encyclopedia in the Age of Wikipedia, Reference & User Services Quarterly, 50(2), 162-169.

So, do subject encyclopedias cover anime/manga? What kinds of subject encyclopedia cover anime/manga? And more importantly, how useful are these subject encyclopedias for a researcher at any level who is interested in anime and manga? In my work compiling a comprehensive bibliography of anime and manga studies, I have identified at least 15 individual academic encyclopedias with entries/articles on anime, manga and related topics. These range from 1999’s The Encyclopedia of Fantasy (with a one-page entry on ‘anime’) to Boy Culture: An Encyclopedia (2010, entry on ‘Manga and anime’) and the Encyclopedia of Religion and Film (2011, entry on ‘Hayao Miyazaki’).

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