Japanese popular culture
products such as manga (comics), anime (animation),
television, film, and popular music are an increasingly
vital element of Twenty-First Century global culture,
attracting ardent fans around the world. In this course
we will critically examine the postwar development
of Japanese popular culture, together with the proliferation
of new media that have accelerated the global diffusion
of popular cultural forms.
Engaging with theoretical ideas and debates regarding
popular culture and media, we will discuss the significance
of fan cultures, including the “otaku”
phenomenon in Japan and the United States, and consider
how national identity and ethnicity impact the production
and consumption of popular cultural products.
We will also explore representations of technology
in creative works, and consider the global and the
local aspects of technological innovations, including
the internet, mobile phones, and other portable technology.
Readings and discussion will be in English. The course
will be conducted in a seminar format with student
research and presentations comprising an important
element of the class. Previous coursework in Japanese
studies or media studies is recommended but not required.