Gender, manga, and anime

Authored by: Grace En-Yi Ting

The Routledge Companion to Gender and Japanese Culture

Print publication date:  December  2019
Online publication date:  December  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138895201
eBook ISBN: 9781315179582
Adobe ISBN:


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Research on gender and sexuality has formed a core part of anime and manga studies. Beginning in the 1990s, the shōjo, or girl, has been a reoccurring point of interest that English-language scholars have critiqued as a symptom of Japanese consumer culture but also elevated for possibly representing feminist agency and strength. Appearing slightly later, scholarship on otaku, or fans, argues against overly simplistic condemnation of fans of manga and anime (particularly men), explaining otaku consumption habits in terms of sophisticated or even radical engagement with cultural texts and narratives. Arguably, many of the greatest contributions have been made within the field of shōjo manga (girls’ comics) studies and its subfield of boys’ love or BL studies. Such scholarship considers the potential of reading communities built largely around female cultural producers and readers, beginning in prewar Japan with girls’ magazines, reaching new heights with the now-classic shōjo manga of the 1970s, and continuing to the present day with the transnational phenomenon of fujoshi, or female fans of boys’ love, as a major object of study.

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