Int’l Anime Research Project – 2017 Anime Survey

Who exactly are anime fans? What are their demographic profiles, their ethnic/racial/national backgrounds, their income and education levels? How do anime fans view themselves – how are anime fans viewed by non-fans, and by fans of other media or activities? How are anime fans’ personal choices and preferences correlated to their beliefs or behaviors?

Finding concrete answers to these kinds of questions is challenging. Interview-based approaches such as the one Brent Allison uses in his “Interviews with adolescent anime fans” chapter in The Japanification of Children’s Popular Culture: From Godzilla to Miyazaki present some answers, but these probably cannot be generalized in any meaningful way, while the results of any surveys that anime companies may conduct are proprietary and not open to the public. Continue reading

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Faculty Position Announcement – East Asian Visual Media/Popular Culture

bu-master-logo“The Department of World Languages & Literatures at Boston University invites applications for a tenure-track Assistant Professor position in East Asian Visual Media and Popular Culture, to begin July 1, 2017. Relevant expertise includes research in film, television, animation, graphic novels, or new media. Strong preference for transnational research reflecting the increasingly globalized sphere of popular culture across East Asia and potentially including South Asia. PhD is required at time of appointment, as is proficiency in an East Asian language.A robust research and publication agenda is essential.”

When talking about “anime/manga studies” as an actual academic field, rather than simply the idea of academic approaches to Japanese animation/comics, one point I always try to make is that while this field certainly already has some formal characteristics, it is still missing some others. Yes, authors are certainly writing books and book chapters and journal articles on anime/manga, and there are plenty of classes on anime/manga at colleges and universities around the U.S. But, at this point, it is not possible for a student to receive a degree in “anime studies” – then again, to the best of my understanding, only one university in the U.S. offers an actual undergraduate minor in comics and cartoon studies. For that matter, while plenty of college/university faculty members list anime or manga among their academic interests, there is no such thing as a “professor of anime studies” in the way that “professor of film studies” can be a title.

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Upcoming Exhibition – Cool Japan: A Worldwide Fascination in Focus

VolkenkundeNext year, starting in April, Museum Volkenkunde / The National Museum of Ethnology (Leiden, The Netherlands) will host “Cool Japan: A Worldwide Fascination in Focus“, an exhibition which will use original artwork, physical objects (manga, figures, costumes, video games, etc.), installations, displays and screenings to “examine the popularity of the Japanese visual popculture, explore the ways in it travels the globe and trace its historical roots.” One of the exhibition’s specific goals will be to highlight the actual work/labor behind anime and manga, and to emphasize the physicality of these forms of visual culture. To this end, the exhibit’s organizers hope to include in it drawings by actual creators/directors. And, they are actively looking to reach out to anime/manga art collectors who may be interested in contributing items from their own collections to this project.

As an announcement that was recently posted to the Anime and Manga Research Circle Mailing List:

“At this moment, I am searching for collectors who have original drawings and/or cels from the great masters, like Hayao Miyazaki, Osamu Tezuka, Hideaki Anno, Yoshihiro Tatsumi and Katsuhiro Ôtomo. Do any of you know any collectors? Or do you perhaps know of museums that have original works in the collection? Our museum is used to take care of the most rare, old and fragile objects so any items that would be put on loan are in care of professionals.”

If you think you can assist with this, know anyone who may be able to, or simply have comments or questions that you would like to pass on to the organizers, please let me know!

Factsheet – Cool Japan: A Worldwide Fascination in Focus
Museum Volkenkunde (Leiden, The Netherlands)
April 13 – August 28, 2017

Int’l Anime Research Project – 2016 Anime Survey

As an academic field or area, anime/manga studies is, of course, concerned primarily with Japanese animation and Japanese comics as art forms. But, anime is also a medium – the same goes for manga – and so, anime/manga studies is also inevitably concerned with how Japanese animation and comics are produced, distributed around the world, and experienced by viewers and readers.

Of course, studying media audiences means asking particular questions – and using approaches, methodologies, techniques and tools that are necessarily different from those used in studying art forms. Audience research is complicated, difficult logistically, time-consuming, and, in anime/manga studies, still rather infrequent, taking the form, primarily, of ethnographic studies such as Susan Napier’s The world of anime fandom in America (Mechademia1, 47-63) and Patrick Drazen’s “Reading right to left: The surprisingly broad appeal of manga and anime; or, ‘wait a minute'” (in Mangatopia: Essays on Manga and Anime in the Modern World). Sandra Annett’s recent book Anime Fan Communities: Transcultural Flows and Frictions (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014) is definitely a welcome addition to the literature on this topic, but again, its approach is essentially descriptive, not quantitative.

Another initiative that has specifically focused on researching anime fans – their demographics, attitudes, behaviors, personal characteristics, political affiliations, and other related factors is the International Anime Research Project, a group of scholars led by Dr. Stephen Reysen (Texas A&M University-Commerce).

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Call for Papers: AX 2016 Anime and Manga Studies Symposium

axlogo_2016_date_blackAs many of you know, one of the major projects that I am involved with annually is developing, organizing/producing, and managing the AX Anime and Manga Studies Symposium, also known as the Academic Program track of Anime Expo, the largest anime convention in the U.S. Every year, the Symposium brings together a select group of academics, graduate students, undergraduates, and independent scholars who present their research on a wide range of topics related to anime/manga directly to AX’s attendees.

The Call for Papers for this year’s Symposium is now open. It will be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center from July 1 to July 4. If you would like to be considered for participation as a speaker, please review the CFP, and submit your proposal (300 words maximum) to me at mkoulikov@gmail.com. The proposal submission deadline is April 15. And, you are welcome (and encouraged) to pass it along to anyone who you think may be interested in speaking on the program or attending!

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Call for Papers
AX 2016 Anime and Manga Studies Symposium
Anime Expo 2016
July 1-4 | Los Angeles, CA

www.anime-expo.org
www.anime-expo.org/academic-program

The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation, the parent organization of Anime Expo (AX), the largest anime convention in the U.S., is inviting proposals for plenary addresses, presentations, and panel discussions for the 2016 AX Anime and Manga Studies Symposium. The Symposium will be held from July 1 to July, 2016 at the Los Angeles Convention Center (Los Angeles, California) as the Academic Program track of this year’s Anime Expo.

Japanese animation (anime) and comics (manga) are unique forms of visual culture that attract and inspire audiences around the world. The AX Anime and Manga Studies Symposium serves as the premier site for presenting and sharing research on a wide range of topics related to the creation, production, distribution, and worldwide reception of anime/manga, their history, relationships with other media, and the experiences and practices of anime and manga fans.

The Symposium’s goal is to bring together a diverse, international group of scholars, and facilitate the development of anime/manga studies as a defined academic field. As an integral part of Anime Expo, and open to all attendees, it also introduces general audiences to the methods, practices and tools of academic research into popular culture and fosters a dialogue between academics and fans. Participants in the Symposium will be able to join a celebration and appreciation of Japanese popular culture and interact directly with the convention’s attendees. Inherently interdisciplinary, it is open to approaches from different fields, and welcomes a wide range of speakers. Early-career scholars, graduate students, undergraduates, and independent researchers/industry professionals are especially encouraged to submit proposals!

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Speaking Opportunities (NYC): Anime Research Group

The Anime Research Group is an informal New York City-based organization that works to organize various cultural and educational events related Japanese animation. Its current major project is a series of anime film screenings held at Manhattan theaters. This year so far it has screened Magnetic Rose (one of the segments of 1995’s Memories anime anthology, with a script by Satoshi Kon), along with several other anime short films, and Gunbuster: The Movie, a condensed version of the classic 1998 Gunbuster series, directed by Neon Genesis Evangelion’s Hideaki Anno.

Going forward, the Group’s plans are to incorporate into each screening a short introductory lecture that would contextualize the film or films within Japanese animation as a form of media/visual culture, highlight major themes, and raise questions for audiences to consider. If you are interested in participating in this project as a speaker, please contact Michelle Ceja at info@animeresearchgroup.com for more information. Speakers who are able to discuss science fiction in anime, the magical girl genre, and kawaii culture are particularly welcome. Some compensation may be available for your time.

[Editor’s note: Several years ago, Gorgeous Entertainment, an NYC-based theater/film/special events production company organized a similar series of screenings and lectures, under the label Anime Masterpieces. Venues that hosted Anime Masterpieces screenings and accompanying lectures included the Smithsonian Institution, the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), the Fisher Center for the Study of Women and Men (Hobart and William Smith Colleges), and the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Japanese Studies.]