The Worlds of Japanese Popular Culture

Gender, Shifting Boundaries and Global Cultures

The Worlds of Japanese Popular Culture

This is a lively discussion of Japanese popular culture from an anthropological perpective. An international team of authors considers a broad range of topics, including sumo, karaoke, manga, women's magazines, soccer and morning television. Through these topics--many of which have never previously been addressed by scholars--the contributors also explore several deeper themes: the construction of gender in Japan; the impact of globalization and modern consumerism; and the rapidly shifting boundaries of Japanese culture and identity.


'Sumo, karaoke and Japanese comic-inspired teenage superheroes are part of Western popular culture as well as Japan's, but the contributors to this book show that while globalization may be making Western and Eastern audiences familiar with each other's culture, a great deal is altered in the transfer. Derived mainly from anthropological perspectives, these essays are strong on folkloric continuities, giving rich and subtle readings of a wide range of 'worlds' - how, for instance, the enormous market for magazines, comics and daytime soap operas represents the rapidly changing role of women, or how the cult of the racehorse Oguricap marked the changing status of horseracing from its disreputable, male-dominated past to a respectable leisure activity with female fans … the contributors write with insight and enthusiasm.' The Times Literary Supplement