In this lecture and discussion course, we broadly examine manga (Japanese comics), anime (Japanese animation), and related consumer goods and cultures in Japan. Drawing on assigned academic readings and manga, we use a number of analytical perspectives in the course, including those coming from the disciplines of anthropology, literary studies, history, and film studies, and from the interdisciplinary fields of gender and sexuality studies, and globalization studies. The course focuses on a wide range of genres of manga and anime targeting a variety of audiences. We analyze the texts themselves, and consider who is consuming these works and why. We discuss the extent to which manga and anime are representative of “Japanese culture,” as well as the influence they have had on it. We also examine related subcultures in Japan, including those of otaku (obsessive fanboys/fangirls) and fujoshi (rotten girls).
Note: One salient aspect of many genres of manga/anime is sometimes extreme representations of sexuality. While no assigned manga/anime include explicit depiction of sex, in some classes and on excursions we will see and discuss sexually explicit materials, possibly including sexual violence and sexual activity by minors. If you would be too uncomfortable to look at and discuss such materials, this may not be the course for you.