Dr. Toby Slade

Dr. Toby Slade

Associate Professor

University of Tokyo

 

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Introduction

This course asks students to discuss and critically analyze aspects Japanese popular culture. It will examine contemporary cultural products from historical and theoretical perspectives. The scope of objects and practices discussed will be wide ranging, including architecture, advertising, consumption, cinema, anime, manga, magazines, literature fashion, music, food and art. The course will stress primary engagement with these cultural forms and weekly readings and discussions and active testing and calibration of cultural theory.

Course Schedule

Week 1: Guidance
Week 2: Space: Urbanity, advertising & architecture
Week 3: Cute: Class, gender, race and other stratifications of culture
Week 4: Cinema: Masterpieces and popular films
Week 5: Anime: Robots, monsters and super-girls
Week 6: Magazines: Instructions for everything
Week 7: Manga: Alternate universes and hyper-realities
Week 8: Popular Novels: Desire, alienation and fiction
Week 9: Fashion: Clothing and the economics of aesthetics
Week 10: Music: J-Pop, idols imitators and identity
Week 11: Food: Notions of purity in national culture and cuisine
Week 12: Unpopular culture: High art and low art
Week 13: Video Documentary Screening

We will read and discuss some of the big thinkers on popular culture:
    Edward Said on Orientalism
    Sigmund Freud on the Uncanny
    Theodore Adorno on the Culture Industry
    Susan Sontag on Camp
    Michel Foucault on Panopticanism
    Jacques Derrida on Deconstruction
    Koichi Iwabuchi on Cultural Odor
    Jean Baudrillard on Simulacra 

Course Assessment:

Video Documentary
    
The assessment for this course will be a video documentary on some aspect of Japanese popular culture.
The idea is to film and edit the video on your smart phones. (If you don’t have a smart phone, don’t worry, we will work in pairs and other arrangements can be made.)
Also all the software should be free software so no extra resources are required. 
Documentaries will be made in pairs under the principle of approximately 3 minutes per student. Documentaries should be around 6 minutes. 
You still have to research, cite sources and follow other academic conventions, but do this in video form. 
The videos will be due (posted to Youtube) for the final class so we can view them.  

Video Documentary = 80%  (3 minutes per student, groups of 2 people [6 minutes] or 3 people [9 minutes]).
Student’s active discussion participation = 20%

If you are absent four or more times, you will receive a failing grade (不可)
Penalties will be imposed on absence, tardiness, and late submission of assignments
The video script must be your own original writing. Do not copy text from other sources, including other students, as this is plagiarism. It will be dealt stringently according to University Regulations. (cf.「自分の言葉?他人の言葉?」p.8)

 

Videos:

Week 2: Space: Urbanity, advertising & architecture


Week 3: Cute: Class, gender, race & other stratifications of culture


Week 4: Cinema: Masterpieces and popular films


Week 5: Anime: Robots, monsters and super-girls


Week 6: Magazines: Instructions for everything


Week 7: Manga: Alternate universes and hyper-realities


Week 8: Popular Novels: Desire, alienation and fiction


Week 9: Fashion: Clothing and the economics of aesthetics


Week 10: Music: J-Pop, idols imitators and identity


Week 11: Food: Notions of purity in national culture & cuisine


Week 12: Unpopular culture: High art and low art


Week 13: Video Documentary Screening

Xinqi's Example Video on Purikura:

Lecture Videos:

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There is a reader to accompany the course which is available in the first class for ¥1000.

Introduction: Culture & Nationality: Nations as a Categorization Tool for Culture; Perspective, Othering and Exoticism

Ronald Richie, The Image Factory: Fads & Fashions in Japan, Reaktion Books, London, 2003. ‘Forward’ and ‘The Image Factory’. 

Further Reading:

Treat, John Whittier. "Introduction: Japanese Studies into Cultural Studies" in Contemporary Japan and Popular Culture, J. W. Treat (ed.), University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, 1996. Pp. 1-14.

Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism, Verso, London, 1991 [1983]. Chapter 1

Theodor Adorno & Max Horkheimer, ‘The Cultural Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception’ in The Cultural Studies Reader, 2nd Edition, S. During Ed., pp. 29-41 Routledge 1999. 

Azuma Hiroki, ‘Superflat Japanese Postmodernity’ Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, Home Page: http://www.hirokiazuma.com/en/texts/superflat_en1.html, 22 March 2006.

Peter N. Dale, The Myth of Japanese Uniqueness, St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1986. Introduction. 

Edward Said, Orientalism, Vintage Books, New York, 1978. 

 

Urbanity, Advertising and Architecture: The Spaces of Popular Culture in Modernity and Post-modernity; Critical Mass, Stimulus Shields & the Appropriateness of Spaces

Isozaki Arata, ‘Of City, Nation, and Style’ in  Masao Miyoshi & H.D. Harootunian, Postmodernism in Japan, Duke University Press, Durham, 1989.

and

Jordan Sand, House and Home in Modern Japan: Arhcitecture, Domestic Space and Bourgeois Culture, 1880-1930, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 2003. Introduction.

Further Reading:

Roland Barthes, Empire of Signs, Richard Howard (trans.), Hill and Wang, New York, 1983.

Jennifer Robertson, Native and Newcomer: Making and Remaking a Japanese City, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1991.

Miriam Silverberg, Erotic Grotesque Nonsense: The Mass Culture of Japanese Modern Times, University of California Press, Berkeley, 2006. Part 1.

Edward Seidensticker, Tokyo Rising: The City Since the Great Earthquake, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1991. Selections.

 

Class, Gender and Race: Other Stratifications of Culture and Cute

Yuko Hasegawa, ‘Post-identity Kawaii: Commerce, Gender and Contemporary Japanese Art’ in Consuming Bodies: Sex and Contemporary Japanese Art, Fran Lloyd (ed.), Reaktion Books, London, 2002. 

and

Sharon Kinsella, ‘Cuties in Japan’ in Women Media and Consumption in Japan, Shov & Moeran (eds.), University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, 1995.

Further Reading:

Anne Allison, Nightwork: Sexuality, Pleasure and Corporate Masculinity in a Tokyo Hostess Club, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1994. 

Jennifer Robertson, Takarazuka: Sexual Politics and Popular Culture in Modern Japan, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1998.

Hiroshi Ishida, Social Mobility in Contemporary Japan, Palgrave Macmillan, London, 1992. 

Hiroshi Ishida & David Slater, Social Class in Contemporary Japan, Routledge, New York, 2009. 

 

Cinema: Masterpieces and Popular Films

Donald Richie, A Hundred Years of Japanese Film, (Tokyo: Kodansha International, 2005)

Further Reading:

Marilyn Ivy, Discourses of the Vanishing. Modernity, Phantasm, Japan, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1995.

Steven Heine, “Ie-ism (“Sacred Familism”) and the Discourse of Postmodernism in Relation to Nativism/Nationalism/Nihonism” in Japan in Traditional and Postmodern Perspectives. Charles Wei-Sun Fu & Steven Heine (eds), State University of New York Press, New York, 1995.

Donald Richie, Japanese Cinema: Film Style and National Character, Anchor, New York, 1971.

Donald Richie, The Films of Akira Kurosawa, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1984.

Darrell William Davis, Picturing Japaneseness: Monumental Style, National Identity, Japanese Film, Columbia University Press, New York, 1996.

Gergory Barrett, Archetypes of the Japanese Cinema: The Sociological and Religious Significance of the Principle Heros and Heroines, Associated University Press, London,1989.

 

Anime: Robots, Monsters and Super-girls

Susan Napier, From Impressionism to Anime: Japan as Fantasy and Fan Cult in the Mind of the West, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2007. Chapters 6.

and

Philip Brophy, ‘Sonic - Atomic - Neumonic: Apocalyptic Echoes in Japanese Animation’ in A. Cholodenko (Ed.), The Illusion of Life 2: More Essays on Animation, Sydney: Power Publications, Sydney, 2007.

Further Reading:

Susan Napier,  “Elegies” in Anime: From Akira to Princess Mononoke: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation, Palgrave, New York, 2001. pp. 219-238.

Anne Allison, “The Japan Fad in Global Youth Culture and Millennial Capitalism.” in Mechademia: Emerging Worlds of Anime and Manga, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 2006.

Mio Bryce, “Cuteness Needed. The New Language/Communication Device in a Global Society” in International Journal of the Humanities, 2004. Vol 2 No 3.

Philip Brophy, Neon Genesis Evangelion: The Tyranny of the English Voice in Anime, in Realtime, Number 31 (June/July 1999)

 

Magazines: Instructions for Everything: Communication and Reproduction of Styles & Values

Barbara Sato, ‘An Alternate Informant: Middle Class Women and Mass Magazines in 1920s Japan’ in Tipton & Clark (eds.) Being Modern in Japan, Australian Humanities Research Foundation, Sydney, 2000.

Further Reading:

Barbara Sato, The New Japanese Woman: Modernity, Media and Women in Interwar Japan, Duke University Press, Durham, 2003. 

Joseph J. Tobin, “Introduction” in Re-made in Japan: Everyday Life and Consumer Taste in a Changing Society, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1992. pp. 1-41.

Keiko Tanaka, ‘Japanese women's magazines and the language of aspiration’ in D. P. Martinez (Ed.) The Worlds of Japanese Popular Culture, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1999. pp. 110-132.

 

Manga: Alternate Universes and Hyper-realities

Paul Gravett, Manga: Sixty Years of Japanese Comics, (New York: Harper Design, 2004).

Further Reading:

Susan Napier, ‘Vampires, Psychic Girls, Flying Women and Sailor Scouts: Four Faces of the Young Female in Japanese Popular Culture’ in The Worlds of Popular Culture, D.P. Martinez (ed.), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2008. 

Sharon Kinsella, Adult Manga: Culture and Power in Contemporary Japan, University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, 2000. 

Susan Napier, “Why Anime” and “Anime and Local/Global Identity” in Anime: From Akira to Princess Mononoke: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation, Palgrave, New York, 2001. pp. 3-34.

Peter Matanle et al., “Men under Pressure: Representations of the Salaryman and his Organization in Japanese Manga”. Organization 2008. Vol 15(5). Online at:
http://org.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/15/5/639

Maia Tsurumi, “Gender Roles and Girls’ Comics in Japan: The Girls and Guys of Yûkan Club” in Craig, Timothy J. (ed.). Japan Pop! Inside the World of Japanese Popular Culture, M.E. Sharpe, New York, 2000. pp. 171-185.

 

Popular Literature: Desire, Alienation and Fiction

Toby Slade, ‘Junichiro Tanizaki's 'Naomi' and the Power of Foreign Clothing in Modern Japanese Fiction’ in Fashion in Fiction: Text and Clothing in Literature, Film and Television, McNeil, Karaminas & Cole (eds.), Berg, Oxford, 2009.

and

Dana Goodyear, ‘I ♥ NOVELS: Young women develop a genre for the cellular age’, The New Yorker, December 22, 2008. 

Further Reading:

Tanizaki Jun’ichirō, Naomi, Trans. Anthony Chambers, Tuttle, Tokyo, 1985.

Donald Keene, Dawn to the West, Vol. 3, Japanese Literature of the Modern Era: Fiction, Columbia University Press, New York, 1999. 

Aoki Tamotsu, ‘Murakami Haruki and Japan Today’ in Contemporary Japan and Popular Culture, J. W. Treat (ed.), University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, 1996. Pp. 265-274.

John Whittier Treat, "Yoshimoto Banana Writes Home: The Shōjo in Japanese Popular Culture." in Contemporary Japan and Popular Culture, J. W. Treat (ed.), University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, 1996. Pp. 275-308.

 

Fashion: Clothing and the Economics of Aesthetics

Toby Slade, ‘The Japanese Consumer’ in Peter McNeil (ed.), The Routledge Global Fashion Reader, (London: Routledge, 2009)

and

Rebecca Mead, ‘Shopping Rebellion: What the Kids Want,’ The New Yorker, March 18, 2002.

Further Reading:

Ronald Richie, The Image Factory, Fads & Fashions in Japan, Reaktion Books, London, 2003. Chapter 3, Fashion’s Tongues. 

Yuniya Kawamura, The Japanese Revolution in Paris Fashion, Berg, Oxford, 2004.  Chapter 5. 

Kuki Shūzō, The Structure of Iki, (trans. John Clark), Power Publications, Sydney, 1997. Introduction. 

Philomena Keet, The Tokyo Look Book: Stylish to Spectacular, Goth to Gyaru, Sidewalk to Catwalk, Kodansha International, Tokyo, 2007. Introduction & Chapter 1. 

Hirano Ken’ichirō, ‘The Westernization of Clothes and the State in Meiji Japan’ in The State and Cultural Transformation: Perspectives from East Asia, Hirano Ken’ichirō (ed.), United Nations University Press, Tokyo, 1993. 

Jean Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulation, University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 1996. 

 

Music: J-Pop, Idols, Imitators and Identity

Mark Schilling, ‘SMAP’ in The Encyclopedia of Japanese Pop Culture, (Boston: Weatherhill, 1997)

and

Ian Condry, Hip-Hop Japan: Rap and the Paths of Cultural Globalization, Duke University Press, Durham, 2006. 

Further Reading:

Aoyagi, Hiroshi. “Pop idols and the Asian identity.” Japan Pop! Inside the World of Japanese Popular Culture. Ed. Timothy Craig. Armong, NY: M.E.Sharpe, 200. 309-326. 

Christine R. Yano,  "The Marketing of Tears: Consuming Emotions in Japanese Popular Song." in Japan Pop! Inside the World of Japanese Popular Culture, T. Craig. Armonk (ed.), M. E. Sharpe, New York, 2000. Pp. 60-74.

‘Can Japanese Sing the Blues? "Japanese Jazz" and the Problem of Authenticity’ in Japan Pop! Inside the World of Japanese Popular Culture. T. Craig. Armonk (ed.), M. E. Sharpe, New York, 2000. Pp. 27-59.

 

Food: Notions of Purity in National Culture and Cuisine 

John Clark, ‘Food Stories’, Gastronomica 4(2) 2004. 

and

Katarzyna J. Cwiertka, Modern Japanese Cuisine: Food, Power and National Identity, Reaktion Books, London, 2007.

Further Reading:

M. Yamamoto, ‘Japanese Food: A Feast for the Eyes’ in Y. Tsuchiya (ed.), A Feast for the Eyes: The Japanese Art of Food Arrangement, Kodansha, Tokyo, 1985. pp.35-51

Allison, Anne. “Japanese Mothers and Obentos: The Lunch-Box as Ideological State Apparatus.” Anthropological Quarterly 64, no. 4 (October 1991): 195-208.

Michael Ashkenazi and Jeanne Jacob.  “Aesthetics.”  in The Essence of Japanese Cuisine: An Essay on Food and Culture, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 2000.

Paul Noguchi, “Savor Slowly: Ekiben: The Fast Food of High-Speed Japan.” Ethnology 33, no. 4 (Autumn 1994): 317-330.

 

Unpopular Culture: High and Low Japanese Cultural Products

Azuma Hiroki, ‘Superflat Japanese Postmodernity’ Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, Home Page: http://www.hirokiazuma.com/en/texts/superflat_en1.html, 22 March 2006.

and

Jean Baudrillard, ‘After the Orgy’, in The Transparency of Evil: Essay on Extreme Phenomena, Verso, New York, 1993.

Further Reading:

Murakami Takashi, ‘Superflat Manifesto’ in Superflat, MADRA Publishing, Tokyo, 2000.

Thomas Lamarre, ‘Otaku Movement’ in Japan After Japan: Social and Cultural Life from the Recessionary 1990s to the Present, Yoda & Harootunian (eds.) Duke University Press, Durham, 2006. 

Omuka Toshiharu, ‘The Emergence of a Mass Audience for Modern Art in Japan’ in Eye of the Beholder: Reception, Audience and Practice of Modern Asian Art, Clark, Peleggi & Sabapathy (eds.), Wild Peony, Sydney, 2006.

Alexandra Munroe, Japanese Art After 1945: Scream Against the Sky, Harry N. Abrams, New York, 1994. Introduction. 

Toby Slade, ‘The Japanese Consumer’ in The Fashion History Reader: Global Perspectives, Routledge, New York, 2009.

 

 

Copyright © 2016, Toby Slade. All rights reserved.