Dramatic advances in genetics, cloning, robotics, and nanotechnology have given rise to both hopes and fears about how technology might transform humanity. As the possibility of a posthuman future becomes increasingly likely, debates about how to interpret or shape this future abound. In Japan, anime and manga artists have for decades been imagining the contours of posthumanity, creating dazzling and sometimes disturbing works of art that envision a variety of human/nonhuman hybrids: biological/mechanical, human/animal, and human/monster. Anime and manga offer a constellation of posthuman prototypes whose hybrid natures require a shift in our perception of what it means to be human. Limits of the Human—the third volume in the Mechademia series—maps the terrain of posthumanity using manga and anime as guides and signposts to understand how to think about humanity’s new potentialities and limits. Through a wide range of texts—the folklore-inspired monsters that populate Mizuki Shigeru’s manga; Japan’s Gothic Lolita subculture; Tezuka Osamu’s original cyborg hero, Atom, and his manga version of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (along with Ôtomo Katsuhiro’s 2001 anime film adaptation); the robot anime, Gundam; and the notion of the uncanny in Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, among others—the essays in this volume reject simple human/nonhuman dichotomies and instead encourage a provocative rethinking of the definitions of humanity along entirely unexpected frontiers. Contributors: William L. Benzon, Lawrence Bird, Christopher Bolton, Steven T. Brown, Joshua Paul Dale, Michael Dylan Foster, Crispin Freeman, Marc Hairston, Paul Jackson, Thomas LaMarre, Antonia Levi, Margherita Long, Laura Miller, Hajime Nakatani, Susan Napier, Natsume Fusanosuke, Sharalyn Orbaugh, Ôtsuka Eiji, Adèle-Elise Prévost and MUSEbasement; Teri Silvio, Takayuki Tatsumi, Mark C. Taylor, Theresa Winge, Cary Wolfe, Wendy Siuyi Wong, and Yomota Inuhiko.
The themes of war and time are intertwined in unique ways in Japanese culture, freighted as that nation is with the multiple legacies of World War II: the country’s militarization, its victories and defeats, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the uneasy pacifism imposed by the victors. Delving into topics ranging from the production of wartime propaganda to the multimedia adaptations of romance narrative, contributors to the fourth volume in the Mechademia series address the political, cultural, and technological continuum between war and the everyday time of orderly social productivity that is reflected, confronted, and changed in manga, anime, and other forms of Japanese popular culture. Grouped thematically, the essays in this volume explore the relationship between national sovereignty and war (from the militarization of children as critically exposed in Grave of the Fireflies to reworkings of Japanese patriotism in The Place Promised in Our Early Days), the intersection of war and the technologies of social control (as observed in the films of Oshii Mamoru and the apocalyptic vision of Neon Genesis Evangelion), history and memory (as in manga artists working through the trauma of Japan’s defeat in World War II and the new modalities of storytelling represented by Final Fantasy X), and the renewal and hybridization of militaristic genres as a means of subverting conventions (in Yamada Futaro’s ninja fiction and Miuchi Suzue’s girl knight manga). Contributors: Brent Allison; Mark Anderson; Christopher Bolton, Williams College; Martha Cornog; Marc Driscoll, U of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Angela Drummond-Mathews, Paul Quinn College; Michael Fisch; Michael Dylan Foster, Indiana U; Wendy Goldberg; Marc Hairston, U of Texas, Dallas; Charles Shiro Inouye, Tufts University; Rei Okamoto Inouye, Northeastern U; Paul Jackson; Seth Jacobowitz, San Francisco State U; Thomas Lamarre, McGill U; Tom Looser, New York U; Sheng-mei Ma, Michigan State U; Christine Marran, U of Minnesota; Zilia Papp, Hosei U, Tokyo; Marco Pellitteri; Timothy Perper; Yoji Sakate; Chinami Sango; Deborah Scally; Deborah Shamoon, U of Notre Dame; Manami Shima; Rebecca Suter, U of Sydney; Takayuki Tatsumi, Keio U, Tokyo; Christophe Thouny; Gavin Walker; Dennis Washburn, Dartmouth College; Teresa M. Winge, Indiana U.
Anime and Philosophy focuses on some of the most-loved, most-intriguing anime films and series, as well as lesser-known works, to find what lies at their core. Astro Boy, Dragon Ball Z, Ghost in the Shell, and Spirited Away are just a few of the films analyzed in this book. In these stories about monsters, robots, children, and spirits who grapple with the important questions in life we find insight crucial to our times: lessons on morality, justice, and heroism, as well as meditations on identity, the soul, and the meaning -- or meaninglessness -- of life. Anime has become a worldwide phenomenon, reaching across genres, mediums, and cultures. For those wondering why so many people love anime or for die-hard fans who want to know more, Anime and Philosophy provides a deeper appreciation of the art and storytelling of this distinctive Japanese culture.
Written by an experienced teacher and scholar, this book offers university students a handy "how to" guide for interpreting Japanese society and conducting their own research. Stressing the importance of an interdisciplinary approach, Brian McVeigh lays out practical and understandable research approaches in a systematic fashion to demonstrate how, with the right conceptual tools and enough bibliographical sources, Japanese society can be productively analyzed from a distance. In concise chapters, these approaches are applied to a whole range of topics: from the aesthetics of street culture; the philosophical import of sci-fi anime; how the state distributes wealth; welfare policies; the impact of official policies on gender relations; updated spiritual traditions; why manners are so important; kinship structures; corporate culture; class; schooling; self-presentation; visual culture; to the subtleties of Japanese grammar. Examples from popular culture, daily life, and historical events are used to illustrate and highlight the color, dynamism, and diversity of Japanese society. Designed for both beginning and more advanced students, this book is intended not just for Japanese studies but for cross-cultural comparison and to demonstrate how social scientists craft their scholarship.
In recent years, otaku culture has emerged as one of Japan's major cultural exports and as a genuinely transnational phenomenon. This timely volume investigates how this once marginalized popular culture has come to play a major role in Japan's identity at home and abroad. In the American context, the word otaku is best translated as “geek'—an ardent fan with highly specialized knowledge and interests. But it is associated especially with fans of specific Japan-based cultural genres, including anime, manga, and video games. Most important of all, as this collection shows, is the way otaku culture represents a newly participatory fan culture in which fans not only organize around niche interests but produce and distribute their own media content. In this collection of essays, Japanese and American scholars offer richly detailed descriptions of how this once stigmatized Japanese youth culture created its own alternative markets and cultural products such as fan fiction, comics, costumes, and remixes, becoming a major international force that can challenge the dominance of commercial media. By exploring the rich variety of otaku culture from multiple perspectives, this groundbreaking collection provides fascinating insights into the present and future of cultural production and distribution in the digital age.
Although its early films featured racial caricatures and exclusively Caucasian heroines, Disney has, in recent years, become more multicultural in its filmic fare and its image. From Aladdin and Pocahontas to the Asian American boy Russell in Up, from the first African American princess in The Princess and the Frog to “Spanish–mode” Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story 3, Disney films have come to both mirror and influence our increasingly diverse society. This essay collection gathers recent scholarship on representations of diversity in Disney and Disney/Pixar films, not only exploring race and gender, but also drawing on perspectives from newer areas of study, particularly sexuality/queer studies, critical whiteness studies, masculinity studies and disability studies. Covering a wide array of films, from Disney’s early days and “Golden Age” to the Eisner era and current fare, these essays highlight the social impact and cultural significance of the entertainment giant. Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.
Noise, an underground music made through an amalgam of feedback, distortion, and electronic effects, first emerged as a genre in the 1980s, circulating on cassette tapes traded between fans in Japan, Europe, and North America. With its cultivated obscurity, ear-shattering sound, and over-the-top performances, Noise has captured the imagination of a small but passionate transnational audience. For its scattered listeners, Noise always seems to be new and to come from somewhere else: in North America, it was called "Japanoise." But does Noise really belong to Japan? Is it even music at all? And why has Noise become such a compelling metaphor for the complexities of globalization and participatory media at the turn of the millennium? In Japanoise, David Novak draws on more than a decade of research in Japan and the United States to trace the "cultural feedback" that generates and sustains Noise. He provides a rich ethnographic account of live performances, the circulation of recordings, and the lives and creative practices of musicians and listeners. He explores the technologies of Noise and the productive distortions of its networks. Capturing the textures of feedback—its sonic and cultural layers and vibrations—Novak describes musical circulation through sound and listening, recording and performance, international exchange, and the social interpretations of media.
Annotation. Limits of the Human the third volume in the Mechademia series maps the terrain of posthumanity using manga and anime as guides and signposts to understand how to think about humanitys new potentialities and limits. Through a wide range of texts the folklore-inspired monsters that populate Mizuki Shigerus manga; Japans Gothic Lolita subculture; Tezuka Osamus original cyborg hero, Atom, and his manga version of Fritz Langs Metropolis (along with tomo Katsuhiros 2001 anime film adaptation); the robot anime, Gundam; and the notion of the uncanny in Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, among others the essays in this volume reject simple human/nonhuman dichotomies and instead encourage a provocative rethinking of the definitions of humanity along entirely unexpected frontiers.
The contributors to this volume explore the themes of fear, cultural anxiety, and transformation as expressed in remade horror, science fiction, and fantasy films. While opening on a note that emphasizes the compulsion of filmmakers to revisit issues concerning fear and anxiety, this collection ends with a suggestion that repeated confrontation with these issues allows the opportunity for creative and positive transformation.