On March 6 and April 4, The Ohio State University’s East Asian Studies Center will present Manga at a Crossroads, a two-day symposium on manga as a major form of Japanese popular culture, with influence and impact world-wide. The symposium’s first session will focus on the origins, history and development of manga; the second will examine its global reach. Both sessions will feature talks by leading scholars of Japanese popular culture from around the U.S., Canada, and Great Britain, and are designed to run in connection with the exhibit World of Shojo Manga!: Mirrors of Girls’ Desires, which will be hosted by OSU’s Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum from March 28 to July 15. (more…)
This month, Baruch College (New York) will host the art exhibition “World of Shojo Manga: Mirrors of Girls’ Desires”. In conjunction with the exhibition, the college will also present a one-day “mini-symposium” on certain aspects of Japanese comics and their worldwide reception.
Globalized Manga Culture and Fandom
Thursday, February 19, 12:40 p.m. – 2:20 p.m.
Baruch College Vertical Campus
55 Lexington Avenue, 5th Floor, Room 165
- Masami Toku (Professor, Art and Art History, California State University, Chico)
The focus of Prof. Toku’s research is on the effect of popular visual culture, including manga, on children’s art artistic development, and the potential for the use of manga in art education. She is also one of the organizers of the touring exhibition series Shojo Manga! Girls’ Power! (2005-2006) which was presented at various locations around the U.S. and Canada, including the University of New Mexico, Columbia College Chicago, Pratt Institute, the Japanese Canadian National Museum (Burnaby, British Columbia, and the Japan Exhibition and Culture Center at the Embassy of Japan (Washington, DC).
- Kathryn Hemmann (Assistant Professor, Modern and Classical Languages, George Mason University)
Prof. Hemmann teaches Japanese culture and Japanese literature, and has presented on topics related to Japanese comics extensively, including at the AX Anime and Manga Studies Symposium, where she has spoken on the concept of the “female gaze” in contemporary Japanese anime and manga. She is also the author of the blog Contemporary Japanese Literature, and is currently working on a book-length project to be entitled “Writing Women Readers: The Female Gaze in Contemporary Japanese Narrative Media”.
- Ed Chavez (Marketing Director, Vertical, Inc.)
Vertical, Inc., based in New York City, is a leading publisher of English translations of contemporary Japanese literature, including non-fiction (The Toyota Leaders: An Executive Guide, Nintendo Magic: Winning the Videogame Wars), novels (Parasite Eve, The Summer of the Ubume), and manga (Chi’s Sweet Home, Paradise Kiss, Sakuran, Twin Spica).
This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica is easily one of, if not the most memorable – and influential – anime series to run on Japanese television and expand outside Japan – in recent years. So far, however, responses to Madoka have been limited to reviews, blog and forum posts, and other personal reflections, not scholarship. This is not surprising – the low speed of scholarly publishing, especially in the humanities – is a well-known issue.
So, it is quite exciting to see what I believe is the first full-length scholarly article published in English on Madoka:
Shen, Lien Fan (2014). The hysterical subject of shojo: The dark, twisted heroines in Revolutionary Girl Utena and Puella Magi Madoka Magica. In N. Jones, M. Bajac-Carter, and B. Batchelor, (Eds.). Heroines of film and television: Portrayals in popular culture. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.
Prof. Shen (Film and Media Arts, University of Utah) presented earlier versions of this paper at A Comic of Her Own, the University of Florida Conference on Comics and Graphic Novels, and at the 2013 AX Anime and Manga Studies Symposium.
In the abstract the author submitted for the Symposium, she provided this description:
“Literally meaning a girl or girls in Japanese, shojo entails cultural connotations of innocence, purity, and fragile female figures with full range of emotion. Anime portrays a significantly large number of shojo heroines to exaggerate this female representation as an object of fetish eroticism. This essay pays attention to the portrayals of shojo heroines in two anime works: Revolutionary Girl Utena and Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Whereas shojo heroines are granted magic power as a form of female empowerment, the symbolic system of anime posits shojo heroines both as the subject and the Other, emphasizing their sexuality through visual symbols and narratives. Situated in psychoanalytic frameworks, this essay highlights shojo heroines’ persistent quest after ‘who am I to others’ as the hysterical subject who fully recognizes her subject self as an object in the masculine order. Through the examples of Revolutionary Girl Utena and Puella Magi Madoka Magica, I argue that the hysterical subject, the dark and twisted shojo heroines, is self-reflective in understanding her subject as one among many represented objects in the world, acknowledging the fundamental misrecognition of the self autonomy. This form of self-reflectivity may show us a way in which female subjects speaks an alternative language with and for herself/itself, hysterically yet persistently inquiring into her/its relation with others as a challenge of the masculine order.”
There may, of course, have been some changes between the version she presented then, and the final published version, but hopefully, even the abstract gives a general idea of the questions the author is asking, and the direction she pursues.