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NEWS: 3 New Academic Books on Otaku, Anime, Manga Published




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Captain Crotchspike



Joined: 23 Mar 2005
Posts: 355
Location: Phoenix, AZ

PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 11:56 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
The first of these books is Otaku: Japan's Database Animals, a translation of 2001's Dobutsuka suru Posutomodan : Otaku Kara Mita Nihonshakai (Animalizing Postmodernity : Otaku and Postmodern Japanese Society), by the scholar and media critic Hiroki Azuma. The University of Minnesota Press published the book on April 10.

Whoa, awesome, I had no idea this was on the way. I was reading this old panel report the other month and mulling over how nice it would be to have that book translated.

I'm interested in seeing how this and the other two are received.
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saber_kite



Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 12:03 am Reply with quote
Oh where were these books when I was still studying? I remember using only two reference books (both by Frederik L. Schodt) back then for my thesis. Though I wonder how different how the contents would be.

Interesting though. I'm reading the chapter from "The Japanification of Children's Popular Culture: From Godzilla to Spirited Away" tackling Sleeping Beauty and Card Captor Sakura. I've always been interested in anime from the academic standpoint, so these books are something I wouldn't mind reading.
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nicomorr



Joined: 21 Aug 2006
Posts: 126
Location: London, UK.

PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 1:51 am Reply with quote
You know that when books like this start coming out - Japanime is heading for the mainstream.

Actually, not the mainstream, but for recognition about how much the art & culture of Japan continues to influence Western cultural life in the 21st century.

Curiously enough I went two days ago to a lecture talk by James Malpas, Sotheby's Institute, at the National Gallery, London The Influence of Japanese prints on western artists which was in the context of Hokusai & followed by a sweet (& pretty funny) NHK documentary Portraito of Artistc Genius, Katsushika hokusai

I had not known how much Van Gogh & other impressionistas were influenced by Ukiyo-E nor how big the Japonerie craze had been in the late 19th & early 20th centuries. Unfortunately Malpas never mentioned the erotic component, a serious omission, still I suppose he was being 'discreet' in that uptight British way.

Only problem for me is that these books are expensive! Amazon UK is quoting £61 for Reading Japan Cool:.

Regards,
Nico M Cool

Ref:
http://www.japanuk150.org/​
http://www.uk.emb-japan.go.jp/​japanuk150/​events/​film/​Japnese ​cinema ​&​Art.​html
http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/​what/​film/​japanesefilmfestival​/​default.​htm

edit:
A new copy of Reading Japan Cool: would set me back £70.50 + shipping from the US, expletives deleted!


Last edited by nicomorr on Fri Apr 17, 2009 1:58 am; edited 1 time in total
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DemonEyesLeo



Joined: 20 Feb 2005
Posts: 844
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 1:55 am Reply with quote
Definitely interested in Otaku and The Japanification.... I will be picking these up and adding them to my, ever growing, queue of books to read.
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Shadowlord



Joined: 24 Sep 2008
Posts: 37

PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 3:10 am Reply with quote
Wow, great news! I was going to order some books about otaku culture from Japan the next days for my MA thesis about otaku culture (well, most probably, if I don't switch to a similar topic).
"Otaku: Japan's Database Animals" was on my list. Now I can read it in English, which isn't my native language, too, but it's definitely easier for me than reading a Japanese book.

But the other two books are crazy expensive! I don't think I will buy them even though they could be interesting...
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Gilles Poitras



Joined: 05 Apr 2008
Posts: 370
Location: Oakland California

PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 8:39 am Reply with quote
Pricier but not crazy expensive. These are aimed at a small specialized market and the higher price reflects the fact that specialized works cost more to just cover the basic costs.

If anime and manga had a bigger market the books would be cheaper, and I sure wish they were.
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nicomorr



Joined: 21 Aug 2006
Posts: 126
Location: London, UK.

PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 9:04 am Reply with quote
Gilles Poitras wrote:
Pricier but not crazy expensive. These are aimed at a small specialized market and the higher price reflects the fact that specialized works cost more to just cover the basic costs.

If anime and manga had a bigger market the books would be cheaper, and I sure wish they were.

Well Gilles; you're probably not old enough to remember the pirate book publishing in Taiwan in the '70s. You could get any academic book or manual for US$2 or 3. A friend bought the entire manual set for a 747, around 30 volumes, as a giggle, for under $100. I myself have the odd book extant, well-bound still.

My point is that actually what you say is not true. The academic publishers gouge their captive market foe everything they can. Same is true (worse) for academic periodicals (I once sub-edited for Pergamon Press in Oxford .... Robert Maxwell ... academic publisher my arse!).

Please Gilles, don't spoon up the party line please, your books are too good Wink

Nico M Evil or Very Mad
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Top Gun



Joined: 28 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 11:55 am Reply with quote
The sample chapter of that final book reminds me loud and clear why I find literary criticism to be such a laughable field. Ridiculous over-analysis, much? Very Happy
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ninjaclown



Joined: 17 Dec 2008
Posts: 196

PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 1:41 pm Reply with quote
Top Gun wrote:
The sample chapter of that final book reminds me loud and clear why I find literary criticism to be such a laughable field. Ridiculous over-analysis, much? Very Happy


No, not really, that stuff said a lot of things that had connected certain aspects of the fairy tale with things I would never have thought of.
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HellKorn



Joined: 03 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 1:43 pm Reply with quote
Top Gun wrote:
The sample chapter of that final book reminds me loud and clear why I find literary criticism to be such a laughable field. Ridiculous over-analysis, much? Very Happy
Because examining cultural expressions and rhetoric is absolutely useless and has no purpose whatsoever!

Not that I'm defending the sample chapter of anything (not interested in reading it), but detractors on this subject strike me as the sort of folk who find it useless to understand theories behind music, writing, film, et cetera. Comprehension of a medium of expression and figuring out why something works the way is does is hardly "laughable." A cigar is not always just a cigar, and people should really acknowledge this.
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Top Gun



Joined: 28 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 2:35 pm Reply with quote
HellKorn wrote:
Top Gun wrote:
The sample chapter of that final book reminds me loud and clear why I find literary criticism to be such a laughable field. Ridiculous over-analysis, much? Very Happy
Because examining cultural expressions and rhetoric is absolutely useless and has no purpose whatsoever!

Not that I'm defending the sample chapter of anything (not interested in reading it), but detractors on this subject strike me as the sort of folk who find it useless to understand theories behind music, writing, film, et cetera. Comprehension of a medium of expression and figuring out why something works the way is does is hardly "laughable." A cigar is not always just a cigar, and people should really acknowledge this.

I don't find it "useless," per se, but from my exposure to the field, I've received the rather strong impression that so much of what is attributed to particular works is coming from the critic's own head instead of the work itself. As just one example, I covered a few of Shakespeare's works in both high school and college, and I'm fully convinced that the Bard never intended a tenth of the references and nuances attributed to his works. No human being could, particularly one writing what were, at the time, pulp fiction plays. The same extends to this particular chapter. I appreciated the details on various versions of the Sleeping Beauty fable, and how the story was used in that particular Cardcaptor Sakura episode, but when the author started waxing poetic about symbolism of sexual awakening and complex light/dark dualism...that's where it lost me. I'm a scientist by choice (and hopefully by trade), so I view trying to attribute unnecessary complexities to events that can stand on their own two feet as being at best a misguided effort. We're talking about a CLAMP-created shoujo series here...the well only goes so deep. It's true that a cigar isn't necessarily always a cigar, but most of the time, all it's meant to do is to go up in smoke.

(Also, see this. Very Happy)

But all of this is neither here nor there to the topic. It is good to see anime and manga getting more coverage of an academic bent, whether or not I myself agree with the specifics of said coverage.
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TheBigN



Joined: 24 Oct 2005
Posts: 54
Location: Somewhere in DC

PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 3:01 pm Reply with quote
Top Gun wrote:
The sample chapter of that final book reminds me loud and clear why I find literary criticism to be such a laughable field. Ridiculous over-analysis, much? Very Happy


Well, knowing what you're getting into helps keep things in perspective. Ridiculous over-analysis, sure. But is it at least interesting? Razz
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configspace



Joined: 16 Aug 2008
Posts: 2962

PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 4:29 pm Reply with quote
HellKorn wrote:
Not that I'm defending the sample chapter of anything (not interested in reading it), but detractors on this subject strike me as the sort of folk who find it useless to understand theories behind music, writing, film, et cetera. Comprehension of a medium of expression and figuring out why something works the way is does is hardly "laughable." A cigar is not always just a cigar, and people should really acknowledge this.


I'm with Top Gun on this. Not that these academic works are uninteresting, but not as useful to the field as they appear to be. The theories behind the technical aspects of music and writing are quite concrete and objectively useful. However, it's less so with film and much less so with art in general. Everyone has their own reasons liking and disliking something, and their own reasons for participating in certain trends, and the fact that a variety of people would differ from the analysis in different ways shows how such work is really less academic and more opinionated.
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HellKorn



Joined: 03 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2009 10:58 pm Reply with quote
configspace wrote:
I'm with Top Gun on this. Not that these academic works are uninteresting, but not as useful to the field as they appear to be. The theories behind the technical aspects of music and writing are quite concrete and objectively useful. However, it's less so with film and much less so with art in general. Everyone has their own reasons liking and disliking something, and their own reasons for participating in certain trends, and the fact that a variety of people would differ from the analysis in different ways shows how such work is really less academic and more opinionated.

Uh, okay? No offense, but I'm not sure what you said other than "art is relative, so it should be stressed that things are opiniated, not acedemic." I'm not sure what point that is arguing against; if anything, that basically contradicts Top Gun's push of authorial intent, placing emphasis on how art goes beyond that conscious motivation.

I'm not a fan of bullshitting, either, but analysis is still vital for those medium of expressions. Nothing exists solely within its own context, and studying how one aspect of culture impacts another (the latter being music, prose, film, whatever) is an important part of understanding that.
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