Fun New Book Looks at Japanese School Girls

The image of the Japanese schoolgirl has gained iconic recognition all over the globe. With inspiration from all facets of Japanese culture, from samurai to geishas, she's every woman – a pop star, a muse, a heroine.

Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential: How Teenage Girls Made a Nation Cool (Kodansha International, August 2010, $16.95) by Brian Ashcraft with Shōko Ueda, provides an insider's glimpse into the lives, fashions and motivations of the women who have created the universal symbol of girl power.

Ashcraft, who is well-known for his Wired column, “Japanese School Girl Watch,” explains the fascination. “For women, the appeal of schoolgirls is that they are in the prime of their lives, unfettered by work, marriage and children. They are young and relatively free,” he says. “For men, the appeal is the memory of a first crush, of sitting in a classroom surrounded by girls in skirts and sailor outfits. But the attraction isn't drawn across gender lines.”

Japanese Schoolgirl Confidentail explores the history of the schoolgirl and how the she evolved into the international symbol of hip Japan. Ashcraft and Ueda uncover the origins of the sailor dress that is synonymous with the image, and explains how the image of the schoolgirl became so popular in manga, anime and gaming. Ashcraft and Ueda also look into the Japanese schoolgirl's influence on movies, music and the advertising industry.

Packed with dozens of color illustrations, photos and magazine covers, Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential is the essential reference for anyone interested in Japanese pop-culture.



The husband and wife writing duo of Brian Ashcraft and Shōko Ueda reside in Osaka, Japan.

Ashcraft is the author of Kodansha International's Arcade Mania and is a Senior Contributing Editor for the popular video game site, In addition to his job as contributing editor at Wired magazine, he has written for Metropolis Magazine, Popular Science, Otaku USA and The Japan Times, among others.

Ueda has been a research assistant for Wired's “Japanese Schoolgirl Watch” column and is a former Japanese schoolgirl. This is her first book.

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