2nd Edition

Introducing Japanese Popular Culture

Edited By Alisa Freedman Copyright 2023
    586 Pages 31 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    586 Pages 31 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Specifically designed for use in a range of undergraduate and graduate courses, while reaching specialists and general readers, this second edition of Introducing Japanese Popular Culture is a comprehensive textbook offering an up-to-date overview of a wide variety of media forms.

    It uses particular case studies as a way into examining the broader themes in Japanese culture and provides a thorough analysis of the historical and contemporary trends that have shaped artistic production, as well as politics, society, and economics. As a result, more than being a time capsule of influential trends, this book teaches enduring lessons about how popular culture reflects the societies that produce and consume it.

    With contributions from an international team of scholars, representing a range of disciplines from history and anthropology to art history and media studies, the book covers:

    • Characters
    • Television
    • Videogames
    • Fan media and technology
    • Music
    • Popular cinema
    • Anime
    • Manga
    • Spectacles and competitions
    • Sites of popular culture
    • Fashion
    • Contemporary art.

    Written in an accessible style with ample description and analysis, this textbook is essential reading for students of Japanese culture and society, Asian media and popular culture, globalization, and Asian Studies in general. It is a go-to handbook for interested readers and a compendium for scholars.

    1. Introducing Japanese Popular Culture: Serious Approaches to Playful Trends

    Part 1: Characters

    2. Kumamon: Japan’s Surprisingly Cheeky Mascot

    Debra J. Occhi

    3. ’Hello Kitty Is Not a Cat?!?’: Tracking Japanese Cute Culture at Home and Abroad

    Christine R. Yano

    Part 2: Television

    4. The Grotesque Hero: Depictions of Justice in Tokusatsu Superhero Television Programs

    Hirofumi Katsuno

    5. Tokyo Love Story: Romance of the Working Woman in Japanese Television Dramas

    Alisa Freedman

    6. The World Too Much with Us in Japanese Travel Television

    Kendall Heitzman

    Part 3: Videogames

    7. Nuclear Discourse in Final Fantasy VII: Embodied Experience and Social Critique

    Rachael Hutchinson

    8. Policing Youth: Boy Detectives in Japanese Visual Novel Games

    Tsugumi (Mimi) Okabe

    9. The Cute Shall Inherit the Earth: Postapocalyptic Posthumanity in Tokyo Jungle

    Kathryn Hemmann

    Part 4: Fan Media and Technology

    10. Managing Manga Studies in the Convergent Classroom

    Mark McLelland

    11. Thumb Generation Literature: The Rise and Fall of Japanese Cellphone Novels

    Alisa Freedman

    12. Purikura: Expressive Energy in Female Self-Photography

    Laura Miller

    13. Cosplay Everywhere: Costume Diplomacy at the World Cosplay Summit

    Emerald L. King

    14. Hatsune Miku: Virtual Idol, Media Platform, and Crowd-Sourced Celebrity

    Ian Condry

    Part 5: Music

    15. Electrifying the Japanese Teenager Across Generations: The Role of the Electric Guitar in Japan’s Popular Culture

    Michael Furmanovsky

    16. The "Pop Pacific": Japanese American Sojourners and the Development of Japanese Popular Music

    Jayson Makoto Chun

    17. AKB Business: Idols and Affective Economies in Contemporary Japan

    Patrick W. Galbraith

    18. In Search of Japanoise: Globalizing Underground Music

    David Novak

    19. Korean Pop Music in Japan: Understanding the Complex Relationship Between Japan and Korea in the Popular Culture Realm

    Eun-Young Jung

    Part 6: Popular Cinema

    20. The Prehistory of Soft Power: Godzilla, Cheese, and the American Consumption of Japan

    William M. Tsutsui

    21. The Rise of Japanese Horror Films: Yotsuya Ghost Story (Yotsuya Kaidan), Demonic Men, and Victimized Women

    Kyoko Hirano

    22. V-Cinema: How Home Video Revitalized Japanese Film and Mystified Film Historians

    Tom Mes

    Part 7: Anime

    23. Apocalyptic Animation: In the Wake of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Godzilla, and Baudrillard

    Alan Cholodenko

    24. Toy Stories: Robots and Magical Girls in Anime Marketing

    Renato Rivera Rusca

    25. The World According to Ghibli, or How a Small Japanese Animation Studio Became a Global Phenomenon

    Susan Napier

    26. Condensing the Media Mix: The Tatami Galaxy’s Multiple Possible Worlds

    Marc Steinberg

    Part 8: Manga

    27. A Jew and a Nazi Walk into an Izakaya: Tezuka Osamu’s Holocaust Manga

    Ben Whaley

    28. Gekiga, or Japanese Alternative Comics: The Mediascape of Japanese Counterculture

    Shige (CJ) Suzuki

    29. The Beautiful Men of the Inner Chamber: Gender-Bending, Boys’ Love and Other Shōjo Manga Tropes in Ōoku for Yoshinaga Fumi

    Deborah Shamoon

    30. Cyborg Empiricism: The Ghost Is Not in the Shell

    Thomas Lamarre

    Part 9: Spectacles and Competitions

    31. Hanabi: The Cultural Significance of Fireworks in Japan

    Damien Liu-Brennan

    32. Kamishibai: The Fantasy Space of the Urban Street Corner

    Sharalyn Orbaugh

    33. Making A Game of Their Own: Baseball as Japan’s National Sport

    Paul Dunscomb

    34. Pop Go the Games: Japanese Popular Culture and Politics at the Olympics

    David Leheny

    Part 10: Sites

    35. Shibuya: Reflective Identity in Transforming Urban Space

    Izumi Kuroishi

    36. Akihabara: Promoting and Policing ‘Otaku’ in ‘Cool Japan’

    Patrick W. Galbraith

    37. Japan Lost and Found: Modern Ruins as Debris of the Economic Miracle

    Tong Lam

    Part 11: Fashion

    38. Cute Fashion: The Social Strategies and Aesthetics of Kawaii

    Toby Slade

    39. Made in Japan: A New Generation Fashion Designers

    Hiroshi Narumi

    Part 12: Contemporary Art

    40. Superflat Life

    Tom Looser

    41. Aida Makoto: Notes from an Apathetic Continent

    Adrian Favell

    42. The Art of Upcycling in the Set Inland Sea

    James Jack


    Alisa Freedman is a Professor of Japanese Literature, Cultural Studies, and Gender at the University of Oregon, USA. Her books include Japan on American TV: Screaming Samurai Join Anime Clubs in the Land of the Lost (2021) and Tokyo in Transit: Japanese Culture on the Rails and Road (2010).