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Debating Otaku in Contemporary Japan


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Foreword: Otaku Culture as 'Conversion Literature' Otsuka Eiji (International Research Center for Japanese Studies, Japan) Introduction: 'Otaku Research' Past, Present and Future Patrick W. Galbraith (Duke University, USA) Thiam Huat Kam (Rutgers University, USA) and Bjoern-Ole Kamm (Heidelberg University, Germany) Section 1: The 1980s 1. 'Otaku' Research and Anxiety About Failed Men Patrick W. Galbraith 2. The Birth of 'Otaku:' Centring on Discourse Dynamics in Manga Burikko Yamanaka Tomomi (Yokohama National University, Japan) 3. Opening the Black Box of the 1989 Otaku Discourse Bjoern-Ole Kamm Section 2: The 1990s 4. Traversing Otaku Fantasy: Representation of the Otaku Subject, Gaze, and Fantasy in Otaku no Video Shen Lien Fan (University of Utah, USA) 5. Introduction to Otaku Studies Okada Toshio (Osaka University of Arts, Japan) Section 3: The 2000s 6. The Construction of Discourses on Otaku: The History of Subcultures from 1983 to 2005 Aida Miho (Hiroshima City University, Japan) 7. Train Man and the Gender Politics of Japanese 'Otaku' Culture: The Rise of New Media, Nerd Heroes and Consumer Communities Alisa Freedman (University of Oregon, USA) 8. The Transformation and the Diffusion of 'Otaku' Stereotypes and the Establishment of 'Akihabara' as a Place Brand Kikuchi Satoru (Shinshu Unviersity, Japan) 9. The Transition of Otaku and Otaku Okada Toshio 10. 'Otaku' as Label: Concerns over Productive Capacities in Contemporary Capitalist Japan Thiam Huat Kam Index

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A collection of essays, many translated from Japanese for the first time, discussing the debates surrounding 'otaku' in Japan from 1983 to 2013.

About the Author

Patrick W. Galbraith has a Ph.D. from the University of Tokyo, Japan and is currently pursuing a second Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology at Duke University, USA. He is the author of The Otaku Encyclopedia (2009), Tokyo Realtime: Akihabara (2010), Otaku Spaces (2012) and The Moe Manifesto (2014), as well as the co-editor of Idols and Celebrity in Japanese Media Culture (2012). Thiam Huat Kam is a Ph.D. candidate in Media Studies at Rutgers University, USA. Bjoern-Ole Kamm is a researcher and lecturer at the Graduate School of Letters, Kyoto University, Japan.


Debating Otaku sets a high bar for quality and is strongly recommended for grasping the historical evolution of the term, its perception in Japan, and the various discourses that shaped and continue to shape its legacy. With a wealth of Japanese-language material available for the first time in English and new scholarly texts, this volume's significance lies not only in its new insights into a category many may take for granted, but also in the tensions and elisions it exposes within key theoretical works about otaku. * Journal of Japanese Studies *
Debating Otaku offers a cogent introduction and a well-conceived series of essays that bring into focus not only the various socio-historical strands contributing to the discursive construction of otaku, but also the polemical stances that have made the term otaku central to debates about media and society in Japan. This collection succeeds beautifully in its central mission: to introduce a pause, a moment of hesitation, into the headlong rush of statements in circulation about Japanese youth, consumption, and pop culture. It will make you think again about otaku, and again. * Thomas Lamarre, James McGill Professor in East Asian Studies, McGill University, Canada *

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