Girl Reading Girl in Japan: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Girl Reading Girl in Japan

1st Edition

Edited by Tomoko Aoyama, Barbara Hartley


238 pages | 12 B/W Illus.

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Girl Reading Girl provides the first overview of the cultural significance of girls and reading in modern and contemporary Japan with emphasis on the processes involved when girls read about other girls.

The collection examines the reading practices of real life girls from differing social backgrounds throughout the twentieth century while a number of chapters also consider how fictional girls read attention is given to the diverse cultural representations of the girl, or shôjo, who are the objects of the reading desires of Japan’s real life and fictional girls. These representations appear in various genres, including prose fiction, such as Yoshiya Nobuko’s Flower Stories and Takemoto Nobara’s Kamikaze Girls, and manga, such as Yoshida Akimi’s The Cherry Orchard. This volume presents the work of pioneering women scholars in the field of girl studies including translations of a ground-breaking essay by Honda Masuko on reading girls and Kawasaki Kenko’s response to prejudicial masculine critiques of best-selling novelist, Yoshimoto Banana. Other topics range from the reception of Anne of Green Gables in Japan to girls who write and read male homoerotic narratives.


"This collection strikes a delicate balance between the feminist desire to re-evaluate the girl’s subversive reading/writing practices and a careful attentiveness to their historical and textual ambiguities. The innovative significance of this volume also lies in the way it opens up the scope of Japanese girl studies by placing the girl texts within the context not only of Japanese studies but also of feminist literary criticism and cultural studies. Reading such diverse manifestations of girl-ness – even Dostoevsky’s anti-hero finds himself reincarnated as a girl-writer in contemporary Tokyo – reinforces and enhances the idea that the attribute “girl” is not restricted to its biological sense but can be assumed by any individual responsive to the paradoxical desire within her/himself to defy and at the same time to be desired by society. The reader of this volume, regardless of gender, age or nationality, is invited to add another layer of reading and participate in this intricate and irresistible practice of girl reading girl." - Mayako Murai, Kanagawa University; Asian Studies Review; March 2013 - volume 37, issue 1.

"This is a valuable resource… Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates." - L. I. Winston, CHOICE (July 2010)

Table of Contents

Introduction Tomoko Aoyama and Barbara Hartley Part 1: Genealogy of the Reading Girl 1. The Genealogy of Hirahira: Liminality and the Girl Honda Masuko 2. The Genealogy of the "Girl" Critic Reading Girl Tomoko Aoyama 3. The Climate of the Girl in Yoshimoto Banana Kawasaki Kenko Part 2: Reading against Social Constraint 4. Volatility and Diversity: Shiraki Shizu and the Reading Girl Barbara Hartley 5. Ribbons Undone: The Shôjo Story Debates in Prewar Japan Hiromi Tsuchiya Dollase 6. Japanese Girls’ Comfort Reading of Anne of Green Gables, Akiko Uchiyama Part 3: The Erotic Reading Girl 7. Matsuura Rieko’s The Reverse Version: The Theme of "Girl-Addressing-Girl" and Male Homosexual Fantasies Kazumi Nagaike 8. Murakami Haruki’s Shôjo: Kasahara Mei Maria Flutsch 9. A Girl with Her Writing Machine Rio Otomo Part 4: Reading the Performing and Visual Girl 10. Transcending Gender in Pictorial Representations of Miyazawa Kenji’s "Marivuron and the Girl" (Marivuron to Shôjo) Helen Kilpatrick 11. From The Cherry Orchard to Sakura no sono: Translation and the Transfiguration of Gender and Sexuality in Shôjo Manga, James Welker 12. Girls Reading Harry Potter, Girls Writing Desire: Amateur Manga and Shôjo Reading Practices Sharalyn Orbaugh 13. Reading Lolita in Japan Vera Mackie

About the Editors

Tomoko Aoyama is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Languages and Comparative Cultural Studies at The University of Queensland, Australia.

Barbara Hartley is a Lecturer in the School of Asian Languages and Studies at the University of Tasmania, Australia.

About the Series

Asia's Transformations

The books in this series explore the political, social, economic and cultural consequences of Asia's twenty-first century transformations. The series emphasizes the tumultuous interplay of local, national, regional and global forces as Asia bids to become the hub of the world economy. While focusing on the contemporary, it also looks back to analyze the antecedents of Asia's contested rise. Asia's Transformations aims to address the needs of students and teachers.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General