Today’s convergent media environment offers unprecedented opportunities for sourcing and disseminating previously obscure popular culture material from Japan. However, this presents concerns regarding copyright, ratings and exposure to potentially illegal content which are serious problems for those teaching and researching about Japan. Despite young people’s enthusiasm for Japanese popular culture, these concerns spark debate about whether it can be judged harmful for youth audiences and could therefore herald the end of ‘cool Japan’.
This collection brings together Japan specialists in order to identify key challenges in using Japanese popular culture materials in research and teaching. It addresses issues such as the availability of unofficially translated and distributed Japanese material; the emphasis on adult-themes, violence, sexual scenes and under-age characters; and the discrepancies in legislation and ratings systems across the world. Considering how these issues affect researchers, teachers, students and fans in the US, Canada, Australia, China, Japan and elsewhere in Asia, the contributors discuss the different ways in which academic and fan practices are challenged by local regulations. Illustrating from personal experience the sometimes fraught nature of teaching about ‘cool Japan’, they suggest ways in which Japanese Studies as a discipline needs to develop clearer guidelines for teaching and research, especially for new scholars entering the field.
As the first collection to identify some of the real problems faced by teachers and researchers of Japanese popular culture as well as the students over whom they have a duty of care, this book will be of great interest to students and scholars of Japanese Studies and Cultural Studies.
"The End of Cool Japan is a forceful intervention into the study and flow of Japanese pop culture around the world. Taking the arousals of fandom seriously, the essays also consider the ways J-pop culture gets both manipulated and constrained (by politics, legal constricts, religion, nationalism) to make it decidedly "uncool" at various hands. Advocating for a critical pedagogy that scrutinizes Japanese pop culture in all its complexities and iterations, the volume is sharp-edged and smartly conceived throughout. This is an invaluable contribution to the field—that of Japanese studies and also beyond."
Anne Allison, Duke University, USA.
"From its cheeky, quirky cover, to the selection of its contributors, to its unifying tone, Mark McLelland’s new anthology deserves to shoot right to the top of Japanese Studies reading lists. The End of Cool Japan: Ethical, Legal and Cultural Challenges to Japanese Popular Culture offers a vital and timely warning for all those students who think that scholarship amounts to a diary of what they did at the weekend…I cannot recommend this book highly enough, to libraries, lecturers and students."
Jonathan Clements, All The Anime, August 2016
Appendix: The Rise and Fall of the King of Lolicon: An Interview with Uchiyama Aki Patrick Galbraith