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Manek 1 Themes in the discourse on Japanese mass and popular culture Starting in the Taisho period and going

on toward the early Showa, a growing group of social scientists, including Gonda Yasunosuke, Kon Wajiro, and Obayashi Soshi, began to document what they referred to as 'taishû bunka' or 'mass culture.' These men studied a new class of people composed of the urbanizing masses in order to document the social changes going on at the time. Taishû bunka thus came to be defined as a product of this prewar era, and studies of it, now conducted by historians, continue to the present (Seidenberg 1983, Silverberg 2006, Yoshimi 2002, Hanes 1998). Over the years, however, there has been a rise in concern with taishû bunka in the postwar (Inoue 1987, Yoshimi 1999, Ukai 2002). This period has also seen a return to the contemporary study of this kind of culture by, amongst others, social scientists, this time under the general term of 'popular culture' (Treat 1996, Miyadai and Matsuzaka 1999, Marinez 1998, Craig 2000). Thus, the study of mass and popular culture has a dual framework: one encompassing the 20s to the 80s, while the other is comprised of the early 90s until now. In the following, I will examine the formation of this dual framework, which involves changes to not only the perception of mass/popular culture but also to the objects of study. I will then look at some of the main issues that arise in these studies: the relationship mass/popular culture has with the self and self expression and with national identity. Finally, I will look in more depth into who writes about mass culture and the different approaches this leads to, as well as the state of a little touched upon area of popular culture studies: the effects of digitization. From Mass to Popular Culture For the social scientists of the Taisho period, mass culture referred to the leisure activity of the new urban classes. This included, among other things, print media, spaces for the pursuit of leisure like restaurants, bars, movie theaters, and dance halls, clothing, and other consumer goods making their way into the mass market at the time. Mass culture was characterized by a certain amount of vulgarity (as the “ero guro nonsensu” epithet indicates), consumption – often public consumption, and the pursuit of the modern (or the Western). Finally, these early social scientists were driven largely by what Miriam Silverberg calls the documentary impulse and were thus largely concerned with chronicling mass culture as evidence of social change (Hanes 1998, Silverberg 2006). From the postwar period until about the 1980s, historians continued to site mass culture in the Taisho and early Showa eras. The postwar era, however, had seen the growing influence of the Frankfurt school with regard to mass culture. Spurred by such scholars as Theodor Adorno and his critique of television, mass culture became a homogenizing force imposed upon passive consumers (1954). Thus, few scholars saw it as a legitimate area of study tended to engage with it at a shallow level (Seidensticker 1983). The late eighties and nineties, however, saw a reevaluation of the inherent worth of mass culture as well as a recognition of its continuation after the Pacific War. Recent scholarship on prewar mass culture, then, engages with it on a deeper level, as in the case of Miriam Silverberg's account of the everyday life of the masses and their impact on media and literature (2006). Silverberg's consumers are anything but passive and she, especially, focuses on the then-new recognition of women as consumers and potential political actors that emerged during this time. Yoshimi Shun'y, too, approaches

Manek 2 mass culture on a variety of ways, including as a participant in Japan's preparation for Pacific War (2002). Thus, he highlights the tension between the progressiveness of the Taisho period and the militarization that eventually followed it. The reevaluation of Taisho mass culture was accompanied by reevaluation of postwar mass culture as well. While this continues to be a topic that has received little attention, a number of volumes have looked at mass culture from the fifties on in light of changes that have taken place in mass media and in consumption (Inoue 1987, Yoshimi 1999, Ukai 2002). For these scholars, mass consumption from the fifties to the seventies again takes the form of homogenous consumption – albeit of more technologically advanced products like television – the most common area of examination, refrigerators, and air conditioning. These products are easily obtainable, quite often easy to understand, and, most importantly, universally desired. This universality, and the homogenization that it implies, however, begins to come under suspicion the further analysis extends. Already in 1989, Inoue Hiroshi remarks that the term 'mass culture' no longer truly applies due to the fragmentation of the masses and the adaptation of consumer culture to fit this fragmentation, although he does not advance an alternate term. Later writers concurred that while media and information culture continue to proliferate, the masses no longer existed in the way they had previously, if they existed at all (Inoue 1987, Ukai 2002). This fragmentation, then, marked the impetus for a shift to the use of the term popular culture – variously translated as 'poppu karucha' and 'minzoku bunka' in Japanese scholarship. John Treat's 1996 volume Contemporary Japan and popular culture marked the entry of the term as well as the expansion of the study of leisure into new fields. Treat and the authors in his volume positioned themselves not only against the Frankfurt School but also, from the outset, against the idea of a homogenous Japanese popular culture. Thus, Treat refuses to accept that the activities and products in his volume possess uniquely Japanese characteristics, nor that they express a universal popularity, nor that culture itself has a universal definition. For Treat and the other scholars working with him, popular culture encompasses such topics as the deployment of the 'black other' in Japanese media and advertising (Russell, Moeran), as well as the more familiar topics of consumable media like music (Currid, Tansman), movies (Napier), television (Painter), and novels (Treat, Tamotsu). Most scholars of popular culture stay well within the above outlined consumable media, including a significant interest in anime and manga culture and science fiction in its many incarnatinos (Napier 2007, 2000, Kinsella 2000, Bolton et. al. 2007, CooperChen 2010, Sunaoshi 2006, Tobin 2004, Allison 2006, Azuma 2009, LaMarre 2009, Nakazawa 2004, Bouissou 2012, Thorn 2004, Dasgupta 2004). Music is also a frequent subject, ranging from the nostalgic Enka and vinyl collecting to more contemporary rock concerts or even hip-hop (Condry 2006, Stevens 2004, Hosokawa and Hosokawa 2004, Môri 2006, Roberson 2006). Other scholars, however, have indicated a wider understanding of what the term constitutes. This includes, for example, sports spectatorship (Kelly 2004, Holden 2006, Tierney 2004) and queer culture (McLelland 2006, Miyadai and Matsuzawa 1999, Dasgupta 2006). It is however most aptly demonstrated by Miyadai and Matsuzawa's extremely broad range of topics in their volume of interviews on current trends, which includes not only sections on the categories outlined above but also ones on kogyaru, the practice of compensated dating known as enjo kosai, and body ornamentation (1999). This last, especially, indicates a willingness to examine the significance of any social trend that characterizes post-

Manek 3 Frankfurt school study of popular culture. As a result of the acceptance of this potential significance, contemporary scholarship no longer has the need to position itself explicitly in contradiction to the Frankfurt school. Instead, scholars accept popular culture as a legitimate topic of study, often incorporating it into the theoretical framework of media studies, especially that prompted by members of the Birmingham school of cultural studies, like Stuart Hall (Lukacs 2010, Yoshimi 2001). Some scholars have even attempted a re-appropriation of the 'mass culture' term (Ukai 2000, Kelly 2004). These authors emphasize the continuity in development of cultural products and their consumption, while also rejecting negative or dismissive attitudes toward popular culture. Kelly, especially, in creating his volume on fandom in Japan, argues that the potential for consumer agency and productive power embodied by fans as opposed to the mainstream consumer masses requires the re-deployment of the term in order to acknowledge that much of non-fan consumption still has 'mass' characteristics. Although the reappropriation of this term continues to be the exception rather than the rule in scholarship, it is clear that contemporary scholars see in popular culture a pathway to a variety of topics. This includes, but is not limited to, discussions of normativity versus subculture, social change, alternative forms of political expression, and the relationship between the virtual and the physical. Mass/pop culture and the self The relationship of the self to mass culture versus popular culture differs greatly. Mass culture, by its very name, lends itself more to the construction of groups than of individuals. This can manifest as the construction of types, especially in the form of the moga, whose consumption may or may not have political implications, but who is important for how she is seen, rather than how she interprets herself (Silverberg 2006). It also shows in the way that consumption culture is formulated. In the Taisho and postwar era, scholars characterize consumer goods as created to appeal to the masses as whole. In the Taisho and Showa periods, especially, the potential of creating national subjects was often an underlying motivation. Thus, such areas as tourism, reconstruction of war memory, and radio broadcasting were deployed in such ways as to heighten a nationally-oriented mass appeal (Yoshimi, Nokami, Taka, Yamaguchi, 2002). Even media that broke with accepted state ideology tended to have as a goal the creation of a competing 'Japanese' mass subject (Kitada 2002). In the postwar, the most obvious example of universal mass appeal lies in television: this time was the heyday of 'broadcasting' in the strictest definition of the term – that is, attempts to appeal to the broadest audience possible (Lukacs 2010, Inoue 1987). Mass consumption also extended to the everyday, urged on by the rise of consumption psychology – that is, the growing will to purchase goods that the postwar economic prosperity gave birth to. For these consumers, the appearance of consumption became just as important as consumption itself. This was apparent in, among other things, the pride taken in having a refrigerator in the house, the rising popularity of family restaurants, the growth of larger wedding ceremonies, international travel etc. (Ukai et. al. 2000). The similarity in consumption goals allowed for easy identification into a shared class and, in some cases, comparison with the status of one's neighbors. Starting in the eighties, however, scholars note a growing fragmentation in these constructions of mass identity (Ukai 2000, Inoue 1987, Yamazaki 1984). Most attribute

Manek 4 this change to the rise of individualism in succeeding generations who became increasingly dissatisfied with the images of ideal middle class life broadcasting tends to focus on (Ukai 2000, Inoue 1987). In response to this, television especially, became more specialized, resulting in a shift from broadcasting to narrowcasting (Lukacs 2010). This fragmentation is not limited to television, however, and has had an impact on all types of media, although some authors have noted a certain amount of homogenization occurring within these new subcategories – such as in adult manga (Kinsella 2000) and in trendy dramas (Lukacs 2010). The immediate result of this fragmentation in terms of self-hood, however, was the emergence of the possibility of constituting the self through ones consumption habits as a deliberate act. There is a certain amount of tension among scholars regarding the extent to which this is possible, however. The earliest writers to raise this possibility, like Yamazaki Masakazu, asserted complete consumer control over their identity, citing the consumers' lack of responsibilities in the postwar, which allowed them to focus on their own needs and desires (1984). A number of other writers, especially those focusing on fandom studies, concur with this approach (Napier 2007, Katô 2000, Yano 2004, Kelly 2004, Condry 2004, and Thorn 2004). Ian Condry, for example, looks at how rappers in Japan, as well as their fans, assert their own identity in the creation and appreciation of their music. Condry's work is based on the recognition of the differentiation of Japanese rappers from both each other and from non-Japanese rappers, which he explores through the concept of “genba” or “actual site.” For him, each site of hip-hop asserts its own identity and thus requires its own consideration in terms of the actors, their fans, and the language they use – all of which combine to create separate identities. Condry's work raises a number of points with regard to the constitution of the self through participation in popular culture. The use of genba to combat generalization and separate individual cases of consumption also occurs in Katô Haruhiro's work on personal media, for example. If anything, Kato is more convinced of the importance of individual choice in constituting one's media environment that Condry. Other scholars focusing exclusively on fans take a similar approach to the active role that fans play in establishing their own identity. One way this active role takes form, also stressed by Yamazaki is through community formation through fandom (or anti-fandom) (Thorn 2004, Kelly 2004, Napier 2007, Yamazaki 1984, Yano 2004, Tobin 2004). Another is through fan appropriation of their chosen subject matter and the creation of new products from it, whether this is in the form of fan letters, fanfiction, expressions of sexuality, or even a proprietary attitude towards one's pokemon (Thorn 2004, Saitô 2007, Yano 2004, Nakazawa 2004, Bromley 2004). By appropriating the objects of their interest, fans stress their own interpretations of popular culture, sometimes implicitly rejecting the interpretation of the creators or the companies behind them. One subset of fandom studies in Japan, that dealing with otaku, however, questions this image of the active role of the consumer in creation of their identity. This subset, on the one hand, attempts to reclaim the term from the negative connotations it has had since the late 80s when it became connected to murder and sexual deviancy. At the same time, scholars of otaku also see them as examples of the incorporation of the postmodern state into consumer culture. Scholars not working on otaku have described how this state has resulted in a form of consumption called “snacking,” which is too shallow to allow for identity formation (McCreery 2000, Tobin 2004). Selfconstitution, then, becomes possible only through fandom, which allows for a deeper

Manek 5 engagement with the material consumed. Azuma Hiroki's Otaku: Japan's database animals (2009) problematizes this paradigm by combining postmodern fragmentation with fandom in the form of otaku. Azuma's otaku, the ideal postmodern consumers, express devotion not to specific products of popular culture but to databases – collections of desirable characteristics or elements that may be combined to create products. The links or justifications behind the desirable characteristics in the resulting products, including the plot or other raison d'etre, are generally perfunctory or forced. Thus, lacking a true referent, they take on the characteristics of Baudrillard's simulacra. Deep engagement with such products is impossible, leaving Azuma to declare that otaku have become animalized in that they lack the capacity to concern themselves with deeper meanings – one of the markers of humanity. Thus, while Azuma's otaku still express identity through their devotion to the database, they have little to no choice in determining its elements and the products created in order to appeal to such databases become increasingly homogenized. In this conceptualization, the postmodern state, limits, but does not eliminate agency in terms of self constitution. While scholars do not always reference Azuma's database model explicitly, they do accept the idea that certain aspects of otaku identity, especially in terms of sexuality, are predetermined and therefore appear within the products to which they gravitate (Saitô 2007, LaMarre 2009). For these writers, identification as otaku takes on its own set of semi-fixed associations, usually involving a non-normative sexual orientation and allegiance to some database and the various iterations of products that emerge from it. From this vantage, otaku-created goods, like fan created goods, affirm otaku identity within the framework of the databases, and the mediums that see the most otaku (anime and manga) restructure themselves to fit database production. LaMarre, especially, notes that this is something to which anime, as a medium, is eminently suited. The above work on otaku still grants otaku some element of agency in terms of choosing database allegiance and affecting production in that way, but some scholarship questions even that extent of agency. These scholars point out the potential of popular cultural products to promote or enforce certain kinds of subjectivities rather than to promote individuation. That is to say, they stress the role of mainstream society in essentially homogenizing certain kinds of popular culture in order to create desired subjects (Kinsella 2000, Lukacs 2010, McVeigh 2000, Tobin 2004). The mechanisms behind such homogenization range from the economic (McVeigh 2000, Tobin 2004) to the governmental (Kinsella 2000) to the institutional (Kinsella 2000, Lukacs 2010, Tobin 2004). In most cases, the desired subjectivity is one conforming to mainstream ideals of employees who will accept unfavorable conditions or economic actors who participate in specific accepted lifestyles. While these scholars also acknowledge the possibility of popular culture for self expression, their work makes clear the perils of disregarding the pressure of mainstream society. Mass/pop culture and the nation Another overarching theme is popular or mass culture in relation to the nation. Here, again, the dual framework manifests. In works dealing with mass culture, then, the State tends to be more of an actor. In addition, the overall trends in terms of the impact of mass culture on national identity are those of Westernization and modernization. Scholars who work on popular culture, on the other hand, tend to focus on the idea of Japan's national identity being transmitted through popular culture. In

Manek 6 these cases, the state becomes one actor among many, often appropriating popular culture in the service of increasing its soft power, that is, power that comes from cooption and attraction, rather than coercion or payment. These shifts indicate not only the changing status of Japan and America in the world, but also confirm the changing perception of where agency lies within consumption and the increase in options available to consumers in a globally oriented society. When speaking of the state as actor with regard to mass culture, the most important era is, of course, the twenties and thirties, when Japan's plans for expansion necessitated a united nation. The possibility that mass culture could contribute to the creation of national subjects was already put forward at the time. Gonda Yasunosuke, especially, came to see leisure as a way to express a unified national culture. Moreover, state control of the media at the time is well-documented and often remarked upon by scholars of this period – Gregory Kasza, for example, has written a thorough survey of the controls imposed, albeit largely from the point of view of state power (1993). Other scholars have explored less official forms in which state ideology spread – explicitly focusing on mass culture as a subject of study in a way that Kasza did not. Yoshimi Shun'ya's volume on media in the 1930s, for example, deploys total war theory – the idea of complete mobilization of resources and population for warfare, to show the variety of ways in which conceptions of empire and national identity spread through Japanese society. Specifically, it appeared in such things as advertisements, tourism, and the deployment of the memory of the Russo-Japanese war (2002). More recently, Miriam Silverberg, while acknowledging the trend toward unified national identity in mass culture, questions its effectiveness, bringing consumer agency and the potential for resistance into her discussion of Taisho culture (2006). Similarly to State control, the impact of the West on mass culture is welldocumented. Gonda and his contemporaries, like Obayashi Soshi and Kon Wajiro, noted the influx of Western dress, architecture, and media, linking it to modernization. Gonda, for a time, even believed that hybridization of Japanese and Western culture would create Japan's new modernity. Later authors, too, acknowledge as characteristic of the time the tension caused by the twin impulses of accepting Westernization as a path toward modernization and maintaining a Japanese identity (Silverberg 2006, Hanes 1998). In scholarship on postwar mass culture the issue of Westernization, usually reframed as Americanization, remains central. Scholars writing on the subject link Americanization with the entry into the market of a number of (American) consumer goods, especially television, which not only came from America but could transmit images of it to Japanese homes (Ukai et. al. 2000, Partner 1999, Yoshimi 1999, Yoshitomo). America's prominence in global society and its relationship with Japan in the postwar also contributed to the influence of its culture. Still, not all authors, consider Americanization to be the overriding characteristic of the postwar mass culture space. Recent scholarship, especially, has tried to shift focus to other influences, like the interrelationships between the new media, globalization, and post-colonial thought (Yoshimi 1999). All of the above writers who touch on the topic, however, agree that, after the nineties, Americanization ceases to be an overriding concern. Instead, the main issue becomes the spread of Japanese culture and identity beyond its borders, that is, globalization. Yoshimoto Mitsuhiro (1989) frames this as a result of the postmodern state, claiming that it is impossible to speak of Americanization in a (fragmented)

Manek 7 postmodern global society. Instead, Japan has entered a period of internationalism – a growing awareness and willingness to participate in the international arena that is, somewhat ironically, marked by the valorization of a nostalgic past. This past becomes the image of Japan transmitted to other countries, fostering, in turn, neo-nationalism domestically. His conclusions are seemingly confirmed by such books as Nakazawa Shin'ichi's 2004 Poketto no naka no yasei, which examines the potential of technology to allow Japan to return to its original state of harmony with nature. The issues raised by Yoshimoto of globalization, internationalism, and transnationalism have become a major concern in scholarship on popular culture after the nineties. Authors deploy the terms above in a variety of ways, although few other than Yoshimoto use “internationalism.” Globalization, however, tends to refer to the mechanical process of the global spread of cultural products, while transnationalism applies more to the overriding attitude towards this spread. Themes often addressed include the potential of globalization to contribute to Japan's soft power, the danger of Orientalism and other modes of essentialization, and the problem of localization and its implications. One of the most influential volumes on the globalization of Japanese culture, Recentering Globalization: Popular Culture and Japanese Transnationalism (2002), was written in response to the idea that Japan lacked soft power. In the book, Koichi Iwabuchi positions Japan in relation to both the West and the rest of Asia, due to the tension between the country's need to differentiate itself from both while incorporating Western elements in its bid for “modern” status. He goes on to affirm that popular culture can be a site for transnationalism but cautions against the trap of equating popular culture to national culture. As a result, he problematizes its potential as a source of soft power, since consumers may not always equate Japan's popular culture with Japan as a nation. Many other scholars who address the issue of soft power express similar doubts regarding the efficacy of popular culture (Allison 2006; Bouissou 2012; Choo 2012; Kozuka 2012). This includes worries regarding both the effectiveness of Japan's policies regarding supporting the spread of popular culture (Kozuka 2012) and the degree to which the sympathy raised by pop cultural affiliation will extend to national policies (Allison 2006; Bouissou 2012, Choo 2012). Even Anne Allison's Millenial Monsters, which accepts that popular culture possesses uniquely Japanese characteristics, states that the image of Japan created by these characteristics is largely imagined: Japan becomes a signifier rather than a geographical space. Even those authors who accept the possibility that sympathy toward popular culture can extend to national policies return to Yoshimoto's point that the culture thus presented is both imagined and essentialized (Choo 2012). Other authors also acknowledge this potential (Cooper-Chen 2010, Napier 2007, Allen and Sakamoto 2004, Iwabuchi 2002, Dasgupta 2004, de Ferranti 2004, Condry 2004, and Sunaoshi 2004). Not all authors portray the Orientalist images that arise from such essentialism as necessarily negative, however. Susan Napier, for example, points out that such conceptualization of Japan in general, can contribute to the building of anti-mainstream identity (2007). Similarly, Anne Allison (2006) stresses that the specifically Japanese traits of consumer products (flexiblity, portability and techno-animism) are what allow them to appeal to a global market in the first place because they complement postmodern consumer behavior. Other scholars, however, treat the issue of Orientalism as a problem of

Manek 8 perception rather than one inherent in popular culture products. From the outset, John Treat refuted the idea that there is something quintessentially Japanese about its pop culture. A number of scholars, including Iwabuchi, have taken this refutation to heart, pointing out that popular culture is just as often deployed by subculture as by mainstream culture (Dasgupta 2006, McLelland 2006, Sakamoto 2006, and Condry 2006). Similarly, other writers emphasize that popularization can facilitate the spread of a number of dissenting opinions, thereby lending heterogeneity to the image of Japan in global popular culture (Condry 2006, Penney 2006, Holden 2006, Roberson 2006, Allen 2006, Tobin 2004, Willett 2004). The final theme among scholarship that takes up the issue of the globalization of Japanese popular culture is that of localization. This includes looking at foreign cultural products localized to Japan and Japanese products reconfigured for nonJapanese audiences. In some cases, this discussion coincides with speculation regarding soft power, as localization can, in some cases also result in de-odorization that is, the removal of any specifically Japanese traits from a product (Iwabuchi 2002). This would completely sever the connection between Japan and the product in the eyes of consumers. Although some writers refute this possibility (Allison 2006), it is one that shows up especially in scholarship of the most popular Japanese products, like Pokemon or taiko drumming (Katsuno and Maret 2004, Lemish and Bloch 3004, Grougere 3004, de Ferranti 2006). Other writers focus on the potential for hybridization, often segueing into discussions of what is called 'glocalization,' the local adoption of global phenomena. This includes research on Japanese products adapted from similar foreign products, especially pop music (Môri 2006, Holden 2006, Sunaoshi 2006) and, more often, exploration of fan activity, which can involve unofficial glocalization as in the cases of Pokemon fans translating products themselves or the appropriation of Okinawan music by foreign bands (Tobin 2004, Roberson 2006). These explorations of local-level globalization, especially on the consumer level of action, stand against the looming threat of global essentialism, as, quite often, they show a wish to preserve the “Japanese parts” of the products. What is more, they show the importance of the global in contemporary popular culture as, even in Japan, some element of hybridization has entered popular culture productions. Who writes about mass/pop culture I have already touched upon the presence of social scientists and historians in mass/pop cultural studies. With the exception of the earliest, most of the social scientists, as well as the contemporary historians, tend to work within the framework presented by members of the Birmingham school of cultural studies, many of whom work within media studies. Thus, their work tends to be more oriented toward examinations of consumer agency and the ramifications of consumer agency. These include writers like William Kelly, Inoue Hiroshi, Yoshimi Shun'ya, Ian Condry, Katō Haruhiro and Gabriella Lukács. Brian Moeran's 1996 anthropological look at a Japanese advertising agency, while not overtly about popular culture, also fits into this category. Moeran's portrayal of the interlockedness of agency, client, and medium in advertising, while not directly connected to mass or popular culture, takes him to such topics as soft power and the generation of cultural capital. Many scholars of popular culture refer to his discussion of the differences between various advertising media, including TV, newspaper, and

Manek 9 magazines. A large subset of contemporary scholars studying popular culture, however, come from literary studies. Most such scholars focus on popular culture products as texts, and thus, especially after 2000, tend to look at anime and manga (Napier 2001, Napier 2007, Bolton 2007, Chiba and Chiba 2007, Orbaugh 2007, and Monnet 2007). Prior to this, scholars like those in John Treat's volume, looked at such objects as the contents of novels (Tansman, Treat, Tamotsu, 1996), as well as non-animated visual media, like movies or art (Painter, Skov, and Napier, 1996). The writers of the Mechademia volumes also come from this discipline. The volumes, themselves, contain short articles often apparently geared more towards lay people than scholars. Many volumes focus on the texts and the themes they reveal, including postmodernity and gender. Others, however, have shown a willingness to go beyond this approach, especially by examining fans and fan activity or the effects of globalization. For these writers, the emphasis is on the common themes displayed within the products they look at, especially that of gender and portrayal of the female body (Napier, Orbaugh, Kotani, Treat, and Monnet). The ubiquity of the former theme indicates that popular culture in general and anime in specific have become sites for the expression of an ambivalence with regard to the feminine form and female sexuality in fiction. More, it shows the role that popular culture plays in exploring problematic topics in contemporary society. There are, of course, a number of authors who do not fit in either category, Tom LaMarre and Nakazawa Shin'ichi, among them. LaMarre, while coming from media studies, nevertheless takes a more text-oriented approach, analyzing anime from a technically oriented perspective by drawing on Guattari's notion of the machine to arrive at the term 'animetism' (as opposed to cinematism). Nakazawa, on the other hand, is known in Japan for his books on popular spiritual phenomena, making him one of the few writers to look at explicitly spiritual themes in popular culture. His 2004 work on Pokemon, while ostensibly couched in terms of engagement with the game, nevertheless focuses more on the text, analyzing it from a distinctly (almost Orientalist) Japanese and even Shintoist perspective. Mass/pop culture and the digital While scholars of the popular have often engaged with the new medium of television, mostly in their examinations of anime, the digital medium has yet to see similarly direct attention. One tangential way in which the digital appears in this scholarship is through the Internet's potential for aiding the spread of popular culture. This includes grass roots publicity through, for example, fan sites and forum posts (Condry 2007, Dasgupta 2006), as well as the global possibilities offered by the Internet as a medium. In the latter case, authors stress not only the ease of access provided by (not always legal) digital distribution, but also the ability of participants, fans or, in one case, anti-fans, to form communities regardless of location (Cooper-Chen 2010, Napier 2007, Yano 2004, Tobin 2004, Sunaoshi 2006). It also includes the recognition of increased space for fan creation and distribution of fan creation (Tobin 2004, Thorn 2004). The above uses of the internet, however, tend to be offhand mentions, often listed in the context of other sites of fan interaction and creation like the convention or the 'zine. In contrast, William O. Gardner (2007)and Katô Haruhiro (2001)approach the idea of the internet as a potential site for research, that is, they differentiate it from other

Manek 10 sites of popular culture. Both also fit into the above trajectory of the digital as a space for greater action on the part of the consumer. Gardner's article, for example, follows his subject, Tsutsui Yasutaka's initiative in attempting a multimedia project with the aid of his audience through the medium of both letters and the Internet. Katô Haruhiro, on the other hand, uses the digital as a potential site for studying what he calls “personal media:” media experience from the point of view of, and aimed at, the individual. This includes cell phones, e-mail, and personal gaming systems, all of which create an individual's personal media sphere. He thus potentially sets the digital medium against the unidirectionality of media production. Both writers focus on the potential of the digital for new forms of expression and new, more personalized, forms of consumption. Both, however, also end up dubious of the current state of the fulfillment of that potential. All of the work referenced above is in line with scholarship done so far on the Internet throughout most of the world, rendering these manifestations of the interaction between the digital and popular culture global, rather than Japanese phenomena. A few attempts have been made, however, to articulate a specifically Japanese manifestation of the interaction. This results in an overwhelming focus on access of the digital through cellphones, which allow for greater portability, visibility, and frequency of use. These characteristics, then, turn the cell phone itself into a tool of identity formation and expression, both in terms of the appearance of the phone itself (McVeigh 2003, Hjorth 2003) and its ability to create the illusion of private space around the user (McVeigh 2003, Holden and Tsuruki 2003). While this is clearly a Japanese phenomenon, the focus on the tool takes these scholars away from the topic of digital content and the possibilities it holds. This indicates that scholars must still find a way to reconcile the dual impulse of differentiating Western and non-Western digitization and exploring its actual content and effects, as well as its globalizing power. Indeed, much remains to be done in this area. How has digitization impacted the creation of identity and the nature of globalization? How have fans and consumers incorporated it into their activities and how will scholars incorporate it into their own work? Can organizations not usually associated with popular culture capitalize on the Internet's potential for the spread of fads for their own purposes? These are some of the issues facing popular/mass culture studies today.

Works Cited Allen, Matthew, and Rumi Sakamoto. 2006. Popular culture, globalization and Japan. London: Routledge. Allison, Anne. 2006. Millennial monsters: Japanese toys and the global imagination. Berkeley: University of California Press. Azuma Hiroki. 2009. Otaku: Japan's database animals. trans. Jonathan E. Abel and Shion Kono. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Bolton, Christopher, Istvan Csicsery-Ronay, and Takayuki Tatsumi. 2007. Robot ghosts

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