Aoyama Gakuin University
The organizers of the Mechademia Conference on Asian Popular Culture annual conference, held at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design annually since 2001 (originally as Schoolgirls and Mobilesuits) are now accepting presentation and panel proposals for the Mechademia Conference on Asian Popular Cultures 2016, to be hosted in Tokyo, Japan (at Aoyama Gakuin University), from March 18 to March 20, 2016.
The theme of the conference is “Conflicts of Interest in Anime, Manga and Gaming”. There is no formal list of potential or suggested topics, but the organizers describe its theme as follows:
“After the initial period of explosive expansion and innovation in the arts of Japanese anime, manga, and gaming in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, a new era has arrived in which the effects of that massive emergence and expansion have begun to appear in, on, and around the surface of those arts, in the form of conflicts, ambiguities, controversies, disappointments, as well as stunning opportunities and innovation. These cracks on the smooth surface of this global phenomenon may in fact be the ‘stretch marks’ of its rapid global growth.
In terms of books on anime/manga, whether written by single authors, or collecting essays by several, 2006 was simply like no year that came before. In fact, I would be comfortable saying that it marked the point when the academic study of Japanese animation and Japanese comics could really be thought of as a discreet academic field or area. Of course, academic authors had been writing books, chapters, and articles on anime/manga for years already, but, by 2006, it was clear that there was now enough interest in these topics to support a book from a major publisher claiming right in its title that “Japanese pop culture has invaded the U.S.“, dedicated essay collections such as Cinema Anime and Reading Manga, as well as, for the first time, an ongoing series of volumes that would explore a new general theme every year – Mechademia: An Annual Forum for Anime, Manga, and the Fan Arts. And it’s also worth noting that both the essay collections and the first Mechademia volume drew contributions from authors, such as Susan Napier, Anne Allison, Jaqueline Berndt, Antonia Levi, Thomas Lamarre, Sharalyn Orbaugh, and Brian Ruh, who were already at the forefront of writing about anime and manga – and who have continued playing major roles in how the field has developed since. In addition, the 2006 list of new academic publications on anime/manga includes 14 individual chapters in other general essay collections, as well as a pair of entries (“manga” and “yaoi”) in the scholarly Encyclopedia of erotic literature.
As always, the full list of books, book chapters, and academic journal articles on anime/manga that appeared in 2006 is permanently archived as a separate page. Any new addition will be reflected on that page only. And, also as always, if you have any additions to this list, please do not hesitate to let me know!
English-language books and book chapters on anime (Japanese animation) and manga (Japanese comics): 2006
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…)
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…)
It is always hard to come up with adequate words for the role that Osamu Tezuka played in the development of Japanese comics and Japanese animation. The epithets are plenty – “one of the most respected cultural figures of 20th century Japan”, “godfather” of anime/manga, “God of manga”, even “God of comics” – and there is a reason for them.
But, at the same time, when considering Tezuka, it is also crucially important to avoid exaggeration and hyperbole, to evaluate the man and his work critically, to consider it in a proper context. Yes, Tezuka largely defined “manga” and “anime” as we know them, and his influence on anime and manga is felt to the present day. But, for example, no, Osamu Tezuka did not “invent” Japanese comics or Japanese animation. How “manga” and “anime” would have developed without him and what form Japanese comics and Japanese animation would have taken in his absence is a valid question, but there is no reason to assume that these forms of popular visual culture would not have existed at all without Osamu Tezuka.
Regardless, t is also no surprise that Tezuka – the artist, the writer, the creator – has been the subject of significant scholarly attention. For example, he is one of only four anime/manga creators who are the subject of a full-length English-language study of their work – the others being Hayao Miyazaki, Mamoru Oshii, and Satoshi Kon. (more…)
When I talk about anime and manga studies, especially in formal presentations, some questions come up over and over again. How much academic/scholarly writing on anime/manga is out there? How many scholars study (and more specifically, write about) Japanese animation, Japanese comics, and related topics? And, can we really talk about a “history” of anime/manga studies and anime/manga scholarship?
My work has actually put me a in pretty good position to answer the first two questions. I have identified almost 100 individual English-language books on anime/manga (with several more due to be published later this year). When I put it on hiatus about a year ago, my database of English-language publications on anime/manga of all types (books, book chapters, and journal articles), contained over 1,520 entries, and the names of over 900 individual authors. And neither of those numbers include the materials and authors I have identified in 2014 and this year so far.
It’s the third question – “what are the origins of anime/manga studies?” that’s more complicated. (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.