How Japanese animation actually reaches audiences outside Japan has been a major topic in anime studies going back to the field’s earliest days, such as with Jonathan Clements’ essay “The mechanics of the US anime and manga industry”, in Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction, 64, 32-44 (1995). Interest in this topic surged in the mid-2000’s, as Western scholars were being introduced to anime – in many cases by their own students – and even by their own children, and as anime fans moved on from high schools to colleges and graduate schools, and were able to publish their own work. Some examples of the seminar research on the relationship and the conflicts between anime creators/producers, anime distributors, and anime fans that were published around this time include Anime fans, DVDs and the authentic text (Laurie Cubbison, The Velvet Light Trap, 2005), Anime fandom and the liminal spaces between fan creativity and piracy (Rayna Denison, International Journal of Cultural Studies, 2011), Dark energy: What fansubs reveal about the copyright wars (Ian Condry, Mechademia v. 5, 2010), and my own Fighting the fan sub war: Conflicts between media rights holders and unauthorized creator/distributor networks.
The structure of the relationship, and the actual technological affordances that have directed it, have changed significantly since then. And so, it is particularly interesting to see a new publication that sets out to “examine recent systems, both legal and illegal, of North American anime and manga distribution” and positions itself specifically as a follow-up to 2005’s Of otakus and fansubs: A critical look at anime online in light of current issues in copyright law and an evaluation of whether the arguments that Jordan Hatcher presented in that article can still be used to understand “the relationship between fan translator groups and licensed distributors of anime and manga” in the present.
Tremblay, Alyssa (2018). Found in translation: Rethinking the relationship between fan translation groups and licensed distributors of anime and manga. The Journal of Fandom Studies, 6(3), 319-333.
“… it is possible that fan translation groups will become obsolete, perhaps to the benefit of all parties.” (more…)
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…)
So far, my workflow for building a freely accessible (and more importantly, close to comprehensive) directory of published English-language academic writing on Japanese animation and Japanese comics has consisted of compiling and posting annual lists of such publications – like the ones that are now available in the Bibliographies section. Needless to say, preparing a list that frequently contains more than 150 individual publications – verifying the titles and the names of the authors, confirming that the books are still in print and that individual articles are still available online, whether in open access or at least through a publisher’s website, correcting any spelling or punctuation errors in my original notes – takes a lot of time. So, In the interests of speeding up this process, I will try a new approach – of spreading these lists over several posts. Of course, once each annual list is complete, it will be added to the Bibliographies section for permanent archiving as well.
English-language academic publications on anime and manga: 2008, Part 1 – Journal articles (more…)
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.
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…)
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:
- A significant focus on homosexual themes and homosexual relationships, and fans’ responses and reactions to these, as in the essay collection Boys’ Love Manga, book chapters (‘He-romance for her. Yaoi, BL and shounen-ai’ in Imaginary Japan: Japanese fantasy in contemporary popular culture; ‘Identity unmoored: Yaoi in the West’, in LGBT Identity and Online New Media) and several individual journal articles – Drawing desire: Male youth and homoerotic fan art (Journal of LGBT Youth, 7:1, 6-28); Representations of the masculine in Tagame Gengoroh’s ero SM manga (Asian Studies Review, 34:4, 443-465); Yaoi: Voices from the margins (Annals of Human Sciences, 31, 215-228).
- 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.
One of the most basic things to keep in mind about “anime/manga studies” is that it is not a discreet or formal academic area, discipline, or subject. It is frequently referred to as a “field” (especially in reviews of monographs and essay collections on anime/manga) – but it is certainly not an established, “institutionalized” academic subject like anthropology or East Asian studies or history. It welcomes different ways of asking questions – and different approaches from different disciplines. And this in turn means that scholars who want to explore anime/manga in their writing are not limited to publishing in only some particular types of journals, although of course some journals may be more open to scholarship on anime/manga than others.
One of the things that my work compiling the “research output” of scholars around the world who write about Japanese animation and Japanese comics allows me to do is to then examine particular types of this kind of work. I can look at publication patterns by specific journal, by year, by country of origin. I can also look at the full universe of published scholarship on anime/manga, and examine particular sub-sets of this universe. And, one particular sub-set that I think definitely deserves a closer look is anime/manga legal scholarship – the academic analysis of legal issues related to the creation, production, distribution and consumption of anime/manga. (more…)