Tag: Studio Ghibli

Call for Papers – Mechademia: Second Arc, 18.2 “Studio Ghibli”

Japanese animation is many things. On the very first page of the excellent Anime: A Critical Introduction, animation scholar Rayna Denison uses the phrase “a shifting, sliding category of media production”, and further in the same book Dr. Denison also refers to anime as a “cultural phenomenon”. But outside Japan, and especially in Western media, Japanese animation is (still) often synonymous with the persona of Hayao Miyazaki and the films he has directed at Studio Ghibli. In fact, Jaqueline Berndt specifically points to this as one of the shortcomings in contemporary scholarly approaches to Japanese animation, writing that “Non-Japanese scholars tend to assume that [Hayao Miyazaki’s] movies are typical of anime as a whole because of their mere presence in Japan”.

But just because some of these assumptions may be incorrect, does not mean that all of them are. Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli are the subjects of almost 20 English-language scholarly books, from Helen McCarthy’s Hayao Miyazaki: Master of Japanese Animation – Films, Themes, Artistry, which will be celebrating its 25th anniversary later this year, to last year’s – and very different in scope and in tone Studio Ghibli: An Industrial History (also by Prof. Denison), as well as a full collection of essays on Princess Mononoke, and two different entries in the BFI Film Classics line of handbooks (on Grave of the Fireflies and on Spirited Away). Miyazaki and Ghibli have also been the subjects of a special section in the Journal of Ecocritical Humanities, and other essays discussing particular aspects of and approaches to Ghibli films, or comparing them to other works, such as non-Japanese animations – appear frequently in edited essay collections and peer-reviewed journals – an excellent recent example is Miyazaki’s monstrous mother: A study of Yubaba in Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away, in a recent issue of Feminist Media Studies.

Now, it appears that plans are underway for another major contribution to Miyazaki/Ghibli studies, with a dedicated “Studio Ghibli” issue of Mechademia: Second Arc, set for a Summer 2026 publication date. Prof. Denison will serve as one of the editors, joined by Dr. Jaqueline Ristola (University of Bristol).

One of the goals of the issue will be to significantly expand the potential critical approaches to undertake in connection with Ghibli, such as “investigations into the studio’s wider politics, its industrial activities, and cultural impact in Japan and around the world”.

Papers for the issues can address topics such as:

  • New theoretical approaches to studying Hayao Miyazaki’s films
  • Analyses of Japanese academic approaches to Studio Ghibli
  • Sound and Studio Ghibli films
  • Studio Ghibli’s animation aesthetics – e.g. background art, CG aesthetics, hand-drawn animation
  • Studio Ghibli’s other directors (Isao Takahata, Yoshifumi Kondō, Gorō Miyazaki, Tomomi Mochizuki, Hiromasa Yonebayashi, etc.)
  • Producers at Studio Ghibli (Toshio Suzuki, Yoshiaki Nishimura, Eiko Tanaka, etc.)
  • Studio Ghibli CEOs/Leaders (Toshio Suzuki, Koji Hoshino, Yasuyoshi Tokuma, etc.)
  • Studio Ghibli’s below the line workers (animators, inbetweeners, colorists, etc.)
  • Studio Ghibli’s Art Museum and the Ghibli Park
  • Advertising, partnerships, sponsors and Studio Ghibli
  • Studio Ghibli’s environmental activism

Authors are invited to submit essays of between 5,000 and 7,000 words. The submission deadline for the issue is July 1, 2024.

Full details about the CFP are available on the Mechademia website.

Highlighting New Publications – JAMS v. 3

I think it’s safe to say we are comfortably past the point where the appearance of a new scholarly article on a topic related to anime/manga is something remarkable or extraordinary. As other scholars have already noted – and as I have worked to demonstrate – “anime and manga studies” (or the broader area of “Japanese popular culture studies” is now very much “a field in formation”, establishing itself and developing, and evolving.

But, even if a new publication on anime/manga is not particularly remarkable or even groundbreaking, it may still be worth examining. And this is especially true when we are looking not just at a single article, but several that appear at once – as is the case with the new third volume of the Journal of Anime and Manga Studies, the only “open-access journal dedicated to providing an ethical, peer-reviewed space for academics, students, and independent researchers examining the field of anime, manga, cosplay, and fandom studies”. JAMS launched in 2020, and with this latest volume, with nine stand-alone articles, one event report, and two book reviews, continues to make a very significant contribution to anime and manga studies as an academic field.

In November of 2020, JAMS got 322 file views. In November of 2021, this increased to 755 files views. And in November of 2022, this increased again to 1286 file views.

The issue opens with a report from the journal’s editor, including a look at readership statistics and month-to-month trends. At launch in November 2020, JAMS received 322 file views. This number stayed stable at approximately 200 views through much of 2021, but began trending up significantly from September 2021 on. with peaks in January, March, and October of the following year. The final figure the editor was able to provide, for November 2022, was 1286 file views. The major explanations for the growth trends that the editor presented are JAMS’ inclusion in the Directory of Open Access Journals, starting in February 2022, and the related Anime News Network news item. One question the report does not consider is whether the articles that JAMS is publishing are achieving any “impact” in the sense of receiving citations in other publications, or at least mentions in online discussions. Granted, even expecting impact from a relatively recent journal in a specialized subject area may be a lot to ask for – but from what I can tell, at least a couple of the articles that were published in JAMS have already been referenced elsewhere, such as The indigenous shôjo: Transmedia representations of Ainu femininity in Japan’s Samurai Spirits, 1993–2019, cited in Edutaining with indigeneity: Mediatizing Ainu bilingualism in the Japanese anime, Golden Kamuy, and Embedded niche overlap: A media industry history of yaoi anime’s American distribution from 1996 to 2009 included in the online resource What are Fujoshi, Fudanshi & BL? – plus mentions of others, and of the journal as a whole, in blog posts and on social media!

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Call for Papers – Eyes Unclouded: The Films of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli

Ghibli

2019 Contemporary Directors Symposium
Eyes Unclouded: The Films of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli
Lewes Depot Cinema, Lewes, UK
May 8, 2019

Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli will be the focus of the 2019 Contemporary Directors Symposium, organized by the University of Sussex (UK) Centre for Photography and Visual Culture. Prof. Rayna Denison, a leading scholar of Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, whose recent work includes editing the essay collection Princess Mononoke: Understanding Studio Ghibli’s Monster Princess, and co-editing a Studio Ghibli special issue of the East Asian Journal of Popular Culture, will present the symposium’s keynote address, and scholars are invited to submit proposals for 20-minute talks on any topic that falls under the symposium’s broad theme. Some potential areas to explore can include authorship, representation (gender, ethnicity/nationality/culture, etc.), “material culture”, such as merchandising and advertising, and how Ghibli films are distributed, received, and interpreted outside Japan. Talk proposals (title, 250-word abstract, author biography) are due by March 31, 2019, and can be sent to the attention of Dr. Luke Robinson.

The full CFP for the Symposium follows and is also available on H-Film.

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English-Language Scholarship on Studio Ghibli Films: Looking at the Numbers

One of the paradoxes of scholarship in the humanities is that often, some questions that seem straightforward do not actually have simple answers. In fact, even coming up with an answer to some questions may be difficult, if not impossible. For example, it is relatively easy to demonstrate that a particular book or comic or movie is popular – the sales figures and box office numbers may not be immediately accessible, but the numbers do exist. But it is much harder to claim that a particular author – or a particular film – is “the most studied of all time” or something similar. Claims of this kind, applied to many different authors and many different films, are not uncommon – but the casual statements I have often seen, such as that “among the most studied films of the last few decades are those that descend from the mid-century fiction of Philip Dick and his contemporaries“, tend not to be supported in any way. Comparing authors or works based on the amount of critical attention they have received is equally challenging, though not unheard of – see, for example, Powrie, Phil, Thirty years of doctoral theses on French cinema, Studies in French Cinema, 3(3), 199-203, noting, among other things, “the most popular directors studied”. And, of course, studying the relative importance or prominence of actual scholarship is a well-established practice – and identifying the “most frequently cited works” and the “most frequently cited scholars” in particular fields is at the core of formal citation analysis.

Nonetheless, again, while providing an answer to the question of what is the most frequently studied anime ever – or the most frequently studied anime director ever – is impossible, narrowing the scope of the question can lead to interesting, and potentially insightful, results. The role that Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli have played in introducing Japanese animation to audiences and critics outside Japan, and in legitimizing academic approaches to anime, is easy to acknowledge. And, as it turns out, now that we are looking at something more narrow in scope than “all anime that has ever been written about critically”, we can, in fact, survey and quantify English-language scholarly writing on Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli. The end result, then, can be an actual illustration to the general discussion on how non-Japanese scholars have approached Miyazaki and his films.

English-Language Scholarship on Studio Ghibli Films: Examining the Numbers

Purpose: To compile and present specific figures on English-language research on the anime feature films of Studio Ghibli.

Scope: These figures are based on materials included in the Annual Bibliography of Anime and Manga Studies – books, chapters in edited essay collections, and articles in peer-reviewed journals and professional magazines. Articles in newspapers and general-interest magazines/websites, as well as blog posts and personal essays are not included, nor are dissertations/theses/papers written for class, or conference presentations, unless specifically published in Proceedings. The materials were identified using keyword searches in library catalogs, major and subject-specific academic databases, and Google Scholar, direct review of the bibliographies/works cited sections of many previously identified works, and in many cases, direct submissions by authors. All of the entries are listed separately in Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli: A Bibliography.

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Isao Takahata: A Bibliography of English-Language Scholarship

As several sources have reported, Isao Takahata, the co-founder of Studio Ghibli and the director of five Ghibli feature films films, passed away earlier today. Takahata’s output as a creator has always been second to Miyazaki’s. Nonetheless, his work, and in particular, Grave of the Fireflies, also received a significant amount of English-language scholarly attention. And, of course, Takahata’s work has been addressed extensively throughout the more general academic writing on the work of Hayao Miyazaki on on Studio Ghibli.

Isao Takahata (1935-2018): A Bibliography of English-Language Scholarship

Books


Michael Leader & Jake Cunningham
Ghibliotheque: The Unofficial Guide to the Movies of Studio Ghibli
London: Wellbeck

Alex Dudok de Wit
BFI Film Classics: Grave of the Fireflies

London: Bloomsbury Publishing

Colin Odell & Michelle Le Blanc
Studio Ghibli: The films of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata.
Harpenden, UK: Kamera Books (1st ed.: 2009; Revised & Updated Ed.: 2015; 3rd ed.: 2019)

Book Chapters and Journal Articles

Swale, Alistair. Memory and forgetting: Examining the treatment of traumatic historical memory in Grave of the Fireflies and The Wind Rises. Japan Forum, 29(4), 518-536. (more…)

AX 2017 Academic Program

axlogo_2017_date_black

Planning on attending next month’s Anime Expo convention? (Los Angeles, California – July 1-4)? Have always been interested in “anime and manga studies” – or just in the idea of approaching anime and manga in the same way that scholars approach film and literature? For that matter, want to see just how scholars from many different fields talk about anime and manga, and would like to participate in this conversation?

Anime Expo 2017 will once again offer an Academic Program (also known as the AX Anime and Manga Studies Symposium) – bringing together college/university professors, graduate students, undergraduates, and independent scholars from around the world for four days of lectures, presentations and discussions on a wide range of topics related to anime and manga. The Academic Track will be open to all AX attendees – no particular academic background is required, and all are welcome!

AX 2017 Academic Program
“Teaching Happiness” – Education With and About Anime and Manga

Anime Expo 2017
Los Angeles Convention Center
LACC 411 / AX Live Programming 4
July 1-4

Saturday, July 1:

6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Introduction and Welcome
Mikhail Koulikov (Executive Producer, Anime and Manga Studies Projects)

Keynote Address
Consuming Japan: Popular Culture and the Globalizing of America

mckevitt
Andrew McKevitt
Assistant Professor, History
Louisiana Tech University

Anime fandom in the United States was born at a tense moment in the relationship between the United States and Japan. To many Americans it seemed that, decades after the end of World War II, Japan’s newfound global economic power would challenge the U.S.-dominated international system. Popular publications foretold the “Danger from Japan,” or the “Coming War with Japan.” But a national “Japan Panic” was not the only way Americans encountered Japan in the 1970s and 1980s. Throughout the country, in local places like automobile factories and anime fan clubs, Americans engaged with Japanese culture in new and transformative ways.

Andrew McKevitt teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in the history of U.S. foreign relations, the postwar United States, modern Russia, and modern Japan. He received a Ph.D. from Temple University, and previously served as the Hollybush Fellow in Cold War History at Rowan University and as a visiting assistant professor of history at Philadelphia University

Dr. McKevitt’s research focuses on U.S. cultural relations in the postwar era. His book on the history of U.S.-Japan relations in the 1970s and 1980s told through the lens of consumerism in the United States will be published in October. In 2011, he received the Stuart L. Bernath Scholarly Article Prize, awarded by the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations for the year’s best article in the field, for his paper “You Are Not Alone!” Anime and the Globalizing of America. Published in the journal Diplomatic History, it examines the local, national, and transnational cultural networks created by fans of Japanese animation in the 1970s and 1980s. (more…)

New Issue – Resilience: A Journal of the Ecocritical Humanities

ResilienceMore than a year and a half ago, early in 2015, the editors of Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities announced a Call for Papers for a special Media Review section in an upcoming issue of the journal, that would be dedicated to “apply[ing] ecocritical and Green cultural studies approaches to the field of Japanese animation.”

The CFP provided additional background for the section, and listed the specific titles that the editors were hoping to attract reviews of.

“2014 was a watershed year for Studio Ghibli, arguably the leading anime studio, because it marked the retirement of the founding directors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata. who issued their swan-songs The Wind Rises and Princess Kaguya. To honor this moment and attract more critical attention to anime, we are soliciting reviews of the following:

  • Miyazaki’s films, especially Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and Ponyo.
  • Takahata’s Ken the Wolf Boy, Heidi: Girl of the Alps, Pom Poko aka “Tanuki Wars,” Grave of the Fireflies, and Princess Kaguya.
  • We are also interested in work inspired by or intertextually related to Studio Ghibli, such as Disney’s Lilo and Stitch; Irish director Tomm Moore’s The Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea; and the animated version of Avatar: The Last Airbender (including its sequel, The Legend of Korra, which is a gold mine for feminist, post-colonial, eco-cosmopolitan, and queer ecocriticism, just sayin’).
  • Reviews of other anime films, TV series, and manga unrelated to Ghibli will also be considered.”

For a while after the call for papers went out, I had not heard anything about this project – and in fact, it does not appear that the journal’s website has not been updated in more than two years either. But, as it turns out, electronic versions of it are available in both JSTOR and Project Muse, and, Ecocritical Reviews to Studio Ghibli was in fact published as the Media Cluster section of Resilience‘s Fall 2015 issue (Volume 2, No. 3).

Looking at the articles that actually appeared in the section, a few things  come to mind right away. The “spread” of films that the authors who responded to the CFP addressed is definitely fairly expansive – though not quite comprehensive – with separate essays on Princess Mononoke, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Pom Poko, Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Howl’s Moving Castle, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, the non-Ghibli anime Mushishi, and the arguably “inspired by Studio Ghibli” The Secret of Kells, as well as two more that discuss broader topics as expressed in more than one film. And, the list of authors is fairly wide-ranging as well – although most are based at American colleges/universities, others are affiliated with institutions in Australia, Germany, and the U.K. At the same time, the question also stands – Miyazaki’s work and influence has already been the subject of literally dozens of journal articles, and at least two journal special issues. Is another one really necessary? And, does it then merely emphasize Jacqueline Berndt’s argument that Miyazaki exerts an undue influence on the shape of anime studies as a field, and that this outside influence leads to a tendency to treat Miyazaki’s films as “typical of anime as a whole”, and largely ignore anime that doesn’t neatly fit this image or stereotype?

Regardless, the actual contents of this Special Section are as follows:

Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities
Special Section – Ecocritical Approaches to Studio Ghibli

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Call for Papers – 30 Years of Studio Ghibli

New Issue: East Asian Journal of Popular Culture

Earlier this year, when the new East Asian Journal of Popular Culture published its first issue, I was pleased to profile it as a potential new venue for academic writing on a wide range of topics related to Japanese animation and Japanese comics. In fact, the first issue already included two papers dealing with manga – though the two were substantially different from each other in terms of their focus and methodologies. The journal’s second issue is now available, and 3 articles (out of a total of 8 in the issue) again specifically address anime/manga – again, broadly defined.

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Call for Papers – Ecocritical Reviews of Studio Ghibli Films

“The Media Review section of Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities calls for reviews that apply ecocritical and Green cultural studies approaches to the field of Japanese animation.

2014 was a watershed year for Studio Ghibli, arguably the leading anime studio, because it marked the retirement of the founding directors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata. who issued their swan-songs The Wind Rises and Princess Kaguya. To honor this moment and attract more critical attention to anime, we are soliciting reviews of the following:

Miyazaki’s films, especially Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and Ponyo.

Takahata’s Ken the Wolf Boy, Heidi: Girl of the Alps, Pom Poko aka “Tanuki Wars,” Grave of the Fireflies, and Princess Kaguya. (more…)