Although anime has its origin in Japan, Japanese sociologist, Dr Yoshitaka Mōri, argues that anime can be understood as a transnational cultural product welding together Japanese, Korean and Chinese histories. Mōri shows how some sub-genres within anime are tremendously popular in overseas markets, while others have yet to find a strong international audience. Continue reading Anime as a Transnational Cultural Product
A common misconception about anime cartoons amongst uninitiated audiences in majority-English-speaking countries is that anime characters are drawn to look ‘White’ rather than ‘Asian’. First of all, neither of terms are factual fixed categories – they are social constructions. That is, the meaning attached to race, whether ‘White’, ‘Black’, ‘Asian’ and so on, and the groups classified under these labels, change from one society to another, depending upon culture, time and place.
In an excellent exploration of the social construction of race in popular culture, sociologist Julian Abagond shows that Japanese animators do not, in fact, draw anime characters to personify their aspiration to be ‘white’. Instead, these characters reflect the animators’ own cultural biases – which is that Japanese people are the prototype model of the ’default human being’. Continue reading Anime and the Social Construction of Race