The organizers of the 桜SGMS: Mechademia Conference on Asian Popular Cultures, which will run at Aoyama Gakuin University (Tokyo, Japan) over this weekend (March 18-20) have now announced the full program for this event. The theme for this international conference “Conflicts of Interest in Anime, Manga, and Gaming”, and the program will consist of a total of twelve themed panel sessions, with over 40 individual presentations. It will also feature plenary addresses by Takayuki Tatsumi, who teaches at the Department of English, Keio University, and has been described as “one of Japan’s leading cultural critics”, author and science fiction critic Mari Kotani, and Vince Shortino, Executive Vice President of Japan Channels at Crunchyroll, Inc., the leading global platform for internet streaming of anime and other Asian video content, a “Cosplay: In Costume and Performance” workshop, and a “micro-museum” curated by the photographer, writer, and installation artist Eron Rauch.
Mechademia’s keynote address will be presented by Prof. Hiroshi Deguchi (Department of Computational Intelligence and Systems Science, Tokyo Institute of Technology), one of the founders of Comiket and a co-editor of the forthcoming essay collection The Rise of Japanese Visual Narratives: Cultural, Institutional, and Industrial Aspects of Reproducible Contents (Springer). Other speakers who will be participating in Mechademia include both a number of established who have written and lectured on anime/manga extensively, among them Deborah Shamoon, Marco Pellitteri, Akiko Sugawa-Shimada, Renato Rivera Rusca, Stevie Suan, Wendy Goldberg, Heike Hoffer and Andrea Horbinski, and scholars who are just entering the field. Just some of the specific talks on the program include:
- Mobile Suit Gundam War Narratives
- Romantic Love and the ‘Housewife Trap’: A Gendered Reading of The Cat Returns
- The Heretical Lineage: Images of Rural Blasphemy in Lovecraft and Lovecraftian Manga
- The Postmodern Magical Girl: The Evolution and Contemporary Representation of the Mahô Shôjo Genre
- Musical World-Making in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
- Performing Differently: Convention, Medium, and Globality from Manga (Studies) to Anime (Studies)
桜SGMS: Mechademia Conference on Asian Popular Cultures – full program
Friday, March 18:
Session I: 12:45 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Edmund W. Hoff, Frenchy Lunning
Panel 1 – Impact of the Global Expansion of Cosplay
Convener: Edmund W. Hoff
In the post war period, anime and manga of Japan has seen popular expansion around the world. Initially enjoyed through bookstores and on television, they have come to be consumed in various forms. This panel will explore the extent to which cosplay has had an impact in coordination with this global spread. Edmund Hoff will look at the soft power and hard power relations of two nations with long histories of costuming, the United States and Japan. In a world where cosplay has come to be enjoyed in many countries, Lillian Ruan will examine the global popularity of cosplay in relation to the relatively robust marketing machines of other contents from Japan. Tiffany Lim will discuss the implications of online social media on cosplay communities and with the Filipino cosplay community as a focal point she will consider presentation, esteem, and image of the self. With locations in India as a case study for the popular expansion of Japanese pop culture, Sharmishtha Rawat will explore the forms in which this culture has taken root and the various forms of interaction with greater society. Discussion will span a wide geographic range and share a common association in cosplay and its varied implications.