Topics in Japanese Culture


The global spread of Japanese popular culture since the turn of the millennium brought with it increased visibility of the 'otaku' - the superfans of anime, manga, videogames, and other forms of entertainment. This course will examine the role anime in particular played in the creation of otaku culture, how anime and other media both reflects and shapes evolving attitudes towards otaku in Japanese society, and the advent of the 'global otaku' in the digital age. Beginning with the origins of the term 'otaku' in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the course will consider how and why overwhelmingly negative stereotypes of otaku as potential threats to society eventually gave way to more positive perceptions in tandem with the rise of anime and manga as internationally recognized icons of Japanese culture. To answer these questions the course will look at a variety of written and animated texts that consider otaku in terms of fandom activities, perceived social worth, and as an alternative lifestyle to constrictive Japanese social norms, revealing what it means to be an otaku in the global 21st century. Undergraduates enroll in the 400-level section; 500-level section is for graduate students only. Prerequisite: junior level or above or permission of instructor
Course Attributes: EN H; AS HUM; AS LCD; FA HUM; AR HUM

Section 01

Topics in Japanese Culture
INSTRUCTOR: Michael Crandol
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