The Japan Foundation’s virtual speakers series on Anime and Manga Studies

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The Japan Foundation in New York has organized this featured series on Anime & Manga Studies. They invited scholars of Anime and Manga to present their research. The recordings are available on the Japan Foundation’s YouTube channel.

  • Episode 1: Roundtable: Why Do We Study Anime and Manga by Christopher Bolton, Wendy Goldberg, N.C. Christopher Couch, and Frenchy Lunning (Wednesday, September 30, 2020)
    Let’s dive into the world of Anime & Manga Studies! Join us for a discussion with professors about the field that fascinates them so much. Please feel free to ask questions in the Live Chat. We will discuss them with our guests during the Q&A session.

  • Episode 2: Through a glass darkly: Identity Crises in Ghost in the Shell and Neon Genesis Evangelion by Stevie Suan and Frenchy Lunning (Tuesday, October 20, 2020)

    Let’s analyze two iconic animes: Ghost in the Shell & Evangelion! Join us as two leading experts will help us to understand them from an academic perspective! Please feel free to ask questions in the Live Chat. We will discuss them with our guests during the Q&A session.

  • Episode 3: The Power of Music in Anime by tacey Jocoy, Kunio Hara, and Rose Bridges (Thu, November 19, 2020)

    For our third session, three musicologists in U.S academia will unravel the power of music in anime. You may love anime soundtracks as much as the anime itself, but have you ever thought about the role of music in storytelling, how the music affects the work itself, and what meanings might be hidden in the music?

  • Episode 4: Satoshi Kon: Tracing the Legacy of an Anime Giant by Andrew Osmond, Alice Teodorescu, and Will Gardner, moderated by Sandra Annett (Sat, December 12, 2020)

    It’s been 10 years since Japanese anime director Satoshi Kon died at the age of 46. While he only directed four movies and a TV series, he is one of the world’s most applauded creators of anime films, who is often mentioned in the same breath as Hayao Miyazaki and Katsuhiro Otomo. His films masterfully blur the lines between fantasy and reality, and have influenced countless other films such as Christopher Nolan’s Inception and Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan.

  • Episode 5: Sailor Moon: How These Magical Girls Transformed Our World by Kumiko Saito, Mari Morimoto, Samantha Close, and Kathryn Hemmann (January 28, 2021)

    Can you believe that it has been almost 30 years since Sailor Moon was first published in the weekly girl’s manga magazine Nakayoshi in 1992?! It and its animation adaptation quickly broke records and became a milestone of ’90s girls’ manga and anime. Sailor Moon next turned into a social phenomenon by reaching far beyond the boundaries of its genre, gaining widespread popularity among adults as well as children, and appealing to all genders and sexual orientations. Then, as it started being exported to other parts of the world, it became many people’s first introduction to Japanese pop culture.

  • Episode 6: Anime Takes the Stage: The Rise of 2.5-Dimensional Musicals and Beyond by Akiko Sugawa-Shimada, Zihui Amethy Lu, and Mayuko Fujiwara (Tue, March 30, 2021)

    What is a 2.5-Dimensional (2.5D) musical? It is a stage adaptation from two-dimensional media such as anime, manga and video games. This new genre of Japanese pop culture has gained remarkable popularity in Japan since the debut of Musical The Prince of Tennis in 2003. 2.5D culture attempts to recreate the fictional world (2D) in the real world (3D) and is expanding and deepening in Japan. It has manifested itself in different forms such as cosplay, voice actors’ concerts and V-tubers. As a part of the phenomenon, 2.5D musicals have brought anime, manga and video games to the stage and created a whole new cultural practice of theatrical performances.

  • Episode 7: Hayao Miyazaki: Children Entrusted with Hope by Susan Napier and Helen McCarthy (Thu, April 29, 2021)

    The Japan Foundation, New York will start a special “Studio Ghibli series” as a part of our pop culture series! For the first episode on Studio Ghibli, we will take a closer look at the director of Studio Ghibli, Hayao Miyazaki’s life experiences and how it influenced his work, especially the children characters he created. Come join us for a discussion with two anime experts, Susan Napier and Helen McCarthy. Susan will introduce us to the story of Miyazaki’s life and works based on her latest book , Miyazakiworld: A Life in Art, taking a closer look at how children characters guide us to deal with an increasingly uncertain future. Following the presentation we will have a live discussion between Helen and Susan about their perspectives on Miyazaki’s various characters.

  • Episode 8: Exporting Studio Ghibli: The Road to Worldwide Recognition (05/27/2021)

    Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki can now be considered household names around the world, but it was not always that way. In the early days of global distribution with 1997’s Princess Mononoke, major companies like Disney and Miramax were reluctant to take risks on a then-largely unknown animation studio. Various dramas took place between the unbending integrity of Miyazaki and those companies while deciding how to “westernize” the very Japanese style of Ghibli works.

  • Episode 9: How the Japanese Video Game Industry Found, Lost, and Rediscovered Its Way (07/28/2021)

    Super Mario, Pac-Man, Sonic, Final Fantasy, Street Fighter, and Metroid. If you have ever played a video game, chances are you have probably heard of some of these titles. Perhaps these titles might even evoke fond, nostalgic memories of childhood to some players who grew up with them. While many of these Japanese games are widely recognized, loved, and still played by many fans worldwide today, players might not realize just how integral these games were in popularizing the videogame culture in the West, and influencing both the growth and course of the global videogames industry.

  • Episode 10: Godzilla: A Pioneer of Global Pop Culture (08/31/2021)

    For the tenth episode of our JFNY pop culture series, we will take a closer look at Godzilla, the worldwide pop culture icon, and the longest-running film franchise in world history! Starting in 1954 with the Japanese release of Ishiro Honda’s Gojira, the franchise has since released 36 films made in Japan and in Hollywood, with new titles still being made today. Godzilla sparked the Kaiju (monster) genre, and its fandom has reached all generations and has spread all over the world. What were some of the cultural contexts in which Godzilla was created? What does Godzilla mean to Japanese people? How was it exported to the world, and what led Godzilla to become the “King of Monsters?” Come join our panel discussion with five Godzilla experts from both the U.S. and Japan: Bill Tsutsui, Takayuki Tatsumi, Norman England, Meghan Mettler and Steve Ryfle as they explore the history of Godzilla and discuss its universal appeal.

  • Episode 11: Cosplay: Discovering a Sense of Self Through Fandom (10/28/2021)

    Cosplay, a portmanteau of “costume” and “play,” is the practice of dressing up as a fictional character, usually from an anime, film or video game. The practice has grown in popularity around the world and has even evolved into a profession in some cases. Nowadays, cosplay represents a significant facet of popular culture, and has grown to a level where the practice has even produced conventions and competitions globally. Cosplay continues to maintain and expand on its massive social media presence and other forms of media, attracting new fans daily. What are the appeals of replacing one’s identity with a fictional personality? What powers do the costumes give us? Why do communities around the world embrace this activity so much?

  • Episode 12: Shojo Manga: The Power and Influence of Girls’ Comics (12/16/2021)

    As a part of our pop culture series, The Japan Foundation, New York will start a special “Girls’ culture series” exploring topics such as Shojo manga, Kawaii culture, Takarazuka Revue and Boys Love to gain a broader and deeper understanding of the roots of Japanese Girls’ pop culture.
    For our first episode, we will focus on Japanese girls’ comics, Shojo manga. Recently, Shojo manga has become popular globally, but its styles and themes come from more than a century of girls’ culture in Japan.
    Come join our panel discussion with four Shojo manga experts: Deborah Shamoon, Mia Lewis, Kazumi Nagaike and Erica Friedman. They will delve into the history of Shojo manga and take a closer look at the styles and themes that make the genre so unique, while exploring the universal appeal and influence of Shojo manga.

  • Episode 13: Takarazuka: The Interplay Between All-female Musicals and Girls’ Culture in Japan (3/23/2022)

    For our second episode of a special “Girls’ culture series”, we will focus on the Takarazuka Revue, a popular Japanese all-female theater group founded in the early 20th century. The melodramatic fantasies of feminine women and crossdressing-masculine women is a cultural phenomenon that has been interplayed with Shojo manga and anime: the Revue has inspired titles like Princess Knight, Sailor Moon, and Revolutionary Girl Utena, while it adapted classic shojo manga like The Rose of Versailles for the stage. This phenomenon has also influenced even wider aspects of Japanese pop culture such as idol culture and the Boys’ Love genre.
    Come join our panel discussion with four Takarazuka experts: Leonie Stickland,\0x202FNobuko Anan,\0x202FDaniela Mageanu\0x202Fand\0x202FZuzanna Baraniak-Hirata. They will delve into the company’s history, its distinctive world and fandom, as well as its mutual relationship with Shojo culture, while exploring its impact on empowering Japanese girls and women in a society with a rigid conception of gender roles.

  • Episode xx: Boys’ Love: The History and Transformation of BL in Asia (5/12/2022)

    For our third episode of a special “Girls’ culture series”, we will focus on Boys’ Love (BL) genre and its media explosion across Asia. BL is male-male romantic content, originally created and marketed towards women by female manga artists in Japan to challenge gender and sexual norms in the 1970s. Over the years, BL has seen a tremendous growth in popularity and become a global phenomenon, expanding into media such as anime, prose fiction, live-action dramas, and fan fiction. As BL became more popular in other parts of Asia, it has evolved uniquely in each Asian country, taking on new meanings and forms within their own cultures.
    Come join our panel discussion with four Boys’ Love experts: Akiko Mizoguchi, Hyojin KIM, Kristine Michelle Santos and\0x202F Thomas Baudinette. They will delve into the history and transformation of BL genre across Asia through the examples of Japan, South Korea, Philippines and Thailand, while exploring the transnational popularity and cultural influence of the BL genre in Asia.

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