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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Links to research resources on Japanese culture in general. Includes tabs on manga and anime and links and search tips to find more relevant information.
The Encyclopedia Japanese Pop Culture by Mark SchillingMark Schilling provides an encyclopedic compendium of books, movies, music, comedians, and cultural scandals that have had the greatest impact in Japan. Not content to simply catalog his entries, Schilling provides real depth and analysis in his articles, opening up Japan's rich pop heritage to the world at large.
Publication Date: 1997-05-01
Japan Pop! by Timothy Craig (editor)A fascinating illustrated look at various forms of Japanese popular culture: pop song, jazz, enka (a popular ballad genre of music), karaoke, comics, animated cartoons, video games, television dramas, films and "idols" -- teenage singers and actors.
From samurais to monsters to anime, Japan has a rich history of cinema. The library has over 1,000 films, documentaries, and TV shows in Japanese. If you're browsing, try filtering by genre with the links along the right. Stream more feature films and documentaries via Kanopy, including Rashomon.
In addition to English search terms, try the following film terms specific to Japanese cinema:
Tokusatsu – Live action films with lots of special effects. This term encompasses horror/monster films, science fiction, and fantasy.
Yakuza, samurai and horror films have been some of the most popular genres in Japanese cinema over the last two decades, with a clearly defined generic lineage in the country's cinematic tradition. Studying these genres through a close analysis of their most representative films, this innovative study examines the way individual films have either adapted to or drawn away from their own genre conventions, or, in the case of "magic realist" films, have introduced significant new developments which have little real precedence in Japanese filmmaking.
Although the horror genre has been embraced by filmmakers around the world, Japan has been one of the most prolific and successful purveyors of such films. From science fiction terrors of the 1950s like Godzilla to violent films like Suicide Circle and Ichi the Killer, Japanese horror film has a diverse history. The Encyclopedia of Japanese Horror Films covers virtually every horror film made in Japan from the past century to date. In addition to major and modest productions, this encyclopedia also features entries on notable directors, producers, and actors.
This study examines the history of the Japanese period film and proposes that a powerful relationship exists between the past and present in Japan's narrative tradition. The author also examines the ways in which the period film has allowed Japanese filmmakers to circumvent government censorship by serving as a rhetorical device with which they can explore contemporary concerns through a criticism of the past.
The Kaiju Film by Jason Barr
Publication Date: 2016-01-25
The Kaiju (strange monster) film genre has a number of themes that go well beyond the ""big monsters stomping on cities"" motif. Since the seminal King Kong (1933) and the archetypal Godzilla (1954), kaiju has mined the subject matter of science run amok, militarism, capitalism, colonialism, consumerism and pollution. This critical examination of kaiju considers the entirety of the genre-the major franchises, along with less well known films.
FRUiTS magazine documents street style in Harajuku, Tokyo. Founded in 1997 by Shoichi Aoki, Fruits focused on the unique and individual styles outside the mainstream fashion-industry. The library has issues from 1997 - 2017.
Tokyo is considered one of the world's style capitals for its vibrant youth fashion culture. Part guidebook, part fashion photography album, Tokyo Fashion City takes a stroll through eight Tokyo neighborhoods, each with its own unique fashion characteristics, to see what streetwise young Tokyoites are wearing, where they're shopping, what they're eating and drinking, and where they're hanging out.
The kimono is an iconic garment with a history as rich and colourful as the textiles from which it is crafted. Deeply associated with Japanese culture both past and present, it has often been thought of as a highly gendered, rigidly traditional and unchanging national costume. This book challenges that perception, revealing the nuanced meanings and messages behind the kimono from the point of view of its wearers and producers, many of whom - both men and women - see the garment as a vehicle for self-expression.
Although some trace the phenomenon of kawaii as far back as Japan's Taisho era, it emerged most visibly in the 1970s. As colorful as its subject matter, this book contains numerous interviews with illustrators, artists, fashion designers, and scholars. It traces the roots of the movement from sociological and anthropological perspectives and looks at kawaii's darker side as it morphs into gothic and gloomy iterations.
The home of Sega, Sony, Atari, and Nintendo, Japan is a powerhouse in the video game world. Check out the books and articles highlighted below to explore the history and influence of Japanese video games, or geemu, around the world.
The paper offers a short history of the origins and the establishment of the Japanese video game industry (from 1973 to 1983). It argues that specific local developments of a video game industry and market took place in Japan, which has never been addressed in Western histories of games, mainly interested in Japanese video games through a global perspective.
Home of Sega, Nintendo and Sony, Japan has a unique and powerful presence in the world of video games. This book introduces overseas readers to the world of the Japanese gemu senta. It deals with a different kind of game, starting with the UFO catchers and print club machines at the entrance and continuing through rhythm games and fighting games.
In the early days of arcades and Nintendo, many players didn't recognize Japanese games as coming from Japan; they were simply new and interesting games to play. But since then, fans, media, and the games industry have thought further about the "Japaneseness" of particular games. In this book, Mia Consalvo looks at what happens when Japanese games travel outside Japan, and how they are played, thought about, and transformed by individuals, companies, and groups in the West.
Power-Up is the first English-language work of its kind to examine the reasons behind the success of Japanese video games, rather than focusing on the history of video games. Profiles of some of the most fascinating Japanese video game designers in the industry, along with a critical look at Japanese video games from their earliest beginnings to new, exciting trends that ride the bleeding edge of popular culture.
Learn more about idols and popular music in Japan:
From the beginning of the American Occupation in 1945 to the post-bubble period of the early 1990s, popular music provided Japanese listeners with a much-needed release, channeling their desires, fears, and frustrations into a pleasurable and fluid art. Pop music allowed Japanese artists and audiences to assume various identities, reflecting the country's uncomfortable position under American hegemony and its uncertainty within ever-shifting geopolitical realities. In postwar Japan, pop music both accelerated and protested the commodification of everyday life, challenged and reproduced gender hierarchies, and insisted on the uniqueness of a national culture, even as it participated in an increasingly integrated global marketplace.
Since the late 1960s a ubiquitous feature of popular culture in Japan has been the "idol," an attractive young actor, male or female, packaged and promoted as an adolescent role model and exploited by the entertainment, fashion, cosmetic, and publishing industries to market trendy products. This book offers ethnographic case studies regarding the symbolic qualities of idols and how these qualities relate to the conceptualization of selfhood among adolescents in Japan and elsewhere in East Asia.
Tears of Longing by Christine Reiko Yano
Publication Date: 2002-03-01
Enka, a sentimental ballad genre, epitomizes for many the nikongin no kokoro (heart/soul of Japanese). To older members of the Japanese public, who constitute enka's primary audience, this music - of parted lovers, long unseen rural hometowns, and self-sacrificing mothers - evokes a direct connection to the traditional roots of Japaneseness. Overlooked in this emotional invocation of the past, however, are the powerful commercial forces that, since the 1970s, have shaped the consumption of enka and its version of national identity. Informed by theories of nostalgia, collective memory, cultural nationalism, and gender, this book draws on the author's extensive fieldwork in probing the practice of identity-making and the processes at work when Japan becomes Japan.
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised by Noriko Manabe
Publication Date: 2015-12-15
Nuclear power has been a contentious issue in Japan since the 1950s, and in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster, the conflict has only grown. Government agencies and the nuclear industry continue to push a nuclear agenda, while the mainstream media adheres to theofficial line that nuclear power is Japan's future. Public debate about nuclear energy is strongly discouraged. Nevertheless, antinuclear activism has swelled into one of the most popular and passionate movements in Japan, leading to a powerful wave of protest music.The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Protest Music After Fukushima shows that music played a central role in expressing antinuclear sentiments and mobilizing political resistance in Japan. Combining musical analysis with ethnographic participation, author Noriko Manabe offers an innovative typologyof the spaces central to the performance of protest music - cyberspace, demonstrations, festivals, and recordings. She argues that these four spaces encourage different modes of participation and methods of political messaging. The openness, mobile accessibility, and potential anonymity ofcyberspace have allowed musicians to directly challenge the ethos of silence that permeated Japanese culture post-Fukushima. Moving from cyberspace to real space, Manabe shows how the performance and reception of music played at public demonstrations are shaped by the urban geographies of Japanesecities. While short on open public space, urban centers in Japan offer protesters a wide range of governmental and commercial spaces in which to demonstrate, with activist musicians tailoring their performances to the particular landscapes and soundscapes of each. Music festivals are a space apartfrom everyday life, encouraging musicians and audience members to freely engage in political expression through informative and immersive performances. Conversely, Japanese record companies and producers discourage major-label musicians from expressing political views in recordings, forcingantinuclear musicians to express dissent indirectly: through allegories, metaphors, and metonyms.The first book on Japan's antinuclear music, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised provides a compelling new perspective on the role of music in political movements.
Grounded in the fields of Ethnomusicology, Anthropology, Popular Music Studies, and Japanese Studies, this book explores the underground Tokyo hardcore scene, ultimately asking what play as resistance through performance of the scene tells us about Japanese society in general.
The library has over 300 Manga titles in Japanese and many more in English. To browse these in the catalog, you can search for the subject: Comic books, strips, etc. and limit the language to Japanese. The library also has about 150 anime films and TV shows. Start your research with the books and journals listed here, and visit the LibGuides listed below for additional suggested resources and search tips. The box to the right explores gender and manga.
Search the Catalog:
Animated television shows
Comic books, strips, etc.
Read and watch online:
Viz Media, a major publisher and distributor of English-language manga and anime, offers a mix of free and paid content on their site, with subscription options for ongoing series and mobile apps.
Anime Planet provides recommendations based on your interests, and links to access content online.
Crunchy Roll also offers a mixture of free and paid content, news on upcoming titles, and apps available for most streaming platforms (Roku, etc.)
This page on the Japanese Studies for Undergraduates LibGuide has a long list of resources on manga and anime available from the library and online, including more general resources about animation and comics.
Mechademia’s subject area extends from manga and anime to game design, fashion, graphics, packaging, and toy industries, as well as a broad range of fan practices related to popular culture in Japan. We are interested in how the academic and fan communities can provide new possibilities for critical thinking and popular writing.
An exhaustive and visually engaging account, Mangasia charts the evolution of manga from its roots in late nineteenth-century Japan through the many and varied forms of comics, cartoons, and animation created throughout Asia for more than one hundred years. With maps, timelines, and reproductions from Japan, China, Taiwan, North Korea, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, the Philippines, Vietnam, India, and Bangladesh, this book is the first to explain the significance of key themes, the meanings of embodied myths, and the connections between various manga traditions.
Anime: A Critical Introduction maps the genres that have thrived within Japanese animation culture, and shows how a wide range of commentators have made sense of anime through discussions of its generic landscape. From the battling robots that define the mecha genre through to Studio Ghibli's dominant genre-brand of plucky shojo (young girl) characters, this book charts the rise of anime as a globally significant category of animation.
Japanese Animation: East Asian Perspectives makes available for the first time to English readership a selection of viewpoints from media practitioners, designers, educators, and scholars working in the East Asian Pacific. This collection not only engages a multidisciplinary approach in understanding the subject of Japanese animation but also shows ways to research, teach, and more fully explore this multidimensional world.
In recent years Japan's cuisine, or washoku, has been eclipsing that of France as the world's most desirable food. UNESCO recognized washoku as an intangible cultural treasure in 2013 and Tokyo boasts more Michelin-starred restaurants than Paris and New York combined.
Many manga and anime are notable for their exploration and disruption of gender norms. Shojo manga, or girls' manga, crosses a range of genres, unified by their target audience of adolescent girls and focus on female heroines. Yaoi, or boys' love, features gay male characters and romances, and is also marketed to and primarily written by women. Yaoi originated in fanfiction and dojinshu (zines) but now has international reach and appeal. It is distinguished from bara(men's love), manga and anime featuring gay relationships for a gay male audience. Manga and anime focusing on romantic and sexual relationships between women is called yuri (girls' love).
From the open source journal Refractory: A Journal of Entertainment Media, this essay gives an overview of the origins and international appeal of yaoi.
Straight from the Heart: Gender, Intimacy, and the Cultural Production of Shojo Manga by Jennifer S. ProughManga is the backbone of Japanese popular culture, influencing everything from television, movies, and video games to novels, art, and theater. Shojo manga (girls' comics) has been seminal to the genre as a whole and especially formative for Japanese girls' culture throughout the postwar era. In Straight from the Heart, Jennifer Prough examines the shojo manga industry as a site of cultural storytelling, illuminating the ways that issues of mass media, gender, production, and consumption are involved in the process of creating shojo manga.
Beautiful Fighting Girl by Saito Tamaki; J. Keith Vincent (Translator); Dawn Lawson (Translator); Hiroki AzumaSometimes overtly sexual, always intensely cute, the beautiful fighting girl has been both hailed as a feminist icon and condemned as a symptom of the objectification of young women in Japanese society. In Beautiful Fighting Girl, Saito Tamaki offers a far more sophisticated and convincing interpretation of this alluring and capable figure. For Saito, the beautiful fighting girl is a complex sexual fantasy that paradoxically lends reality to the fictional spaces she inhabits.