unjapanologist: (Default)
[personal profile] unjapanologist
The second International Convention on Manga, Animation, Game and Media Art (ICOMAG) will be held in Tokyo this weekend. This year's title is 'Commons of Imagination: What Today’s Society Can Share through Manga and Animation'. The conference aims are described as follows:

Japanese Manga and animation are currently enjoying huge popularity all over the world. Manga and animation obviously have a major impact on society, although it has generally been regarded in terms of recreation up to this point. In reality, however, both the content and form of manga and animation touch upon the most profound aspects of how we see life and the world around us. But the mechanisms of such effects remain largely unconscious and are seldom the main focus of discussion. Manga and animation also fulfill a function that has conventionally been played by the arts, namely, serving to build connections among societies and communities with differing historical and linguistic backgrounds. Viewing manga and animation as a kind of cultural commons, this roundtable will aim to discuss what we can share through these genres and will focus on the possibility of sharing cultural imagination through manga and animation.

I decided to go because the person who told me about the conference said that it probably wouldn't be very interesting for me "because it's not about fan studies". This confused me, especially after I'd read more about the conference's themes. What this gathering is trying to do - like "focus on the possibility of sharing cultural imagination through manga and animation" and "discuss whether manga and animation have the potential to develop as a common language in the global culture of the future" sounds like it has a very, very great deal to do with how audiences for manga and anime decide to deal with those media. And with what millions of manga and anime fans around the world are already doing.

Judging from the texts on the site, the conference could turn out either very interesting or overly focused on what the industry and professional creators "can" or "should" do. I'm not quite sure where they'll try to go with all this, but I'm curious, and some of the speakers sound pretty interesting. Fingers crossed.

In any case, it's a great excuse to go to Tokyo. I've freed up two days to go bury myself in Comiket Service's new second-hand dojinshi shop and in the Yoshihiro Yonezawa Memorial Library. Yonezawa was one of the great driving forces behind Comiket, and after he passed away a couple of years ago, his massive collection of dojinshi and rare manga-related materials was turned into the cornerstone of a to-be-completed manga library at Meiji University. It doesn't look like I'll be able to access a lot as a one-day member in the library, but the new shop sounds like it couldn't possibly disappoint. The old second-hand dojinshi shop was crammed so full of books when I went there last December that I could literally not even turn around in some places; it had its own kind of charm, for sure, but it was hell to find anything - although I did buy a dojinshi with a very lovey-dovey drawing of Eomer and a horse on the cover that I still haven't dared to read. The new shop sounds most excellent: it focuses on gen and joseimuke ('for girls', which in practice means mostly boys' love) and promises a wide selection from old as well as new genres.

By the way, I love that the Japanese term 'ジャンル' or 'genre' is used to denote a fanwork's source work by dojinshi fans, in the way 'fandom' is used a lot by English-language fans. Wouldn't it be fascinating to consider how fanworks could also be thought of as belonging to 'genres' in the English-language sense of the word? What could be the implications of thinking of 'Harry Potter' or 'Avatar' in the same way we think of more well-known genres like 'horror' or 'action'? Think of the theoretical wrangling. What would be the properties of the genre 'Harry Potter' - those characteristics that make you recognize a work as 'Harry Potter' the second you catch a glimpse of it, the way you can often tell the traditional 'genre' of a movie with one glance at the poster? What would be... No? *cough* Okay.
Date: 2012-03-01 05:42 am (UTC)

I've seen it in English once

foxinthestars: cute drawing of a fox (Default)
From: [personal profile] foxinthestars
I've actually just been collecting doujin for the first time in my life in the past few months (for Psychic Force, a relatively obscure fighting game from the '90s of all things, but such great fun... Of course I had to run to the linked webshop and search but didn't find anything really up my alley). I had already noticed that use of the word "genre." Once upon a time there was a site called "Burned for Fandom" that was sort of an isolated early attempt at fandom advocacy and IIRC started with someone getting sued by Anne McCaffrey for selling Dragonrider fan-art, and I recall that person referring to it as working in McCaffrey's "genre;" actually a trace of the site is still online and still uses the term that way.
Date: 2012-03-01 02:10 pm (UTC)

Re: I've seen it in English once

foxinthestars: cute drawing of a fox (Default)
From: [personal profile] foxinthestars
I'd really appreciate that! I like pretty much anything that isn't a crossover and isn't hardcore porn (I'm fine with sexytiems but still nervous about explicit below-the-waist images). My favorite circle so far is Kappa (Miya Ikushima).

I don't know where that person got it, but thinking about it after reading kimboosan's comment, I'm starting to like it as a less prescriptively-loaded word. Genres do have common qualities but are very broad content-wise, and writing in a "genre" doesn't imply a social affiliation (see my recent rant about presuming social affiliations).
Date: 2012-03-02 02:33 pm (UTC)

Re: I've seen it in English once

foxinthestars: cute drawing of a fox (Default)
From: [personal profile] foxinthestars
Bible I would definitely want (Cain and Abel I already found myself). Thank you!

What shop is it, out of curiosity?
Date: 2012-03-06 02:09 am (UTC)

Re: I've seen it in English once

foxinthestars: cute drawing of a fox (Default)
From: [personal profile] foxinthestars
Awesome! PM sent. Thank you!

And that does make sense, even if it's disadvantageous for someone into an obscure thing like I am. But I'll remember that in case I ever want to hire a shopping service to go there for me or anything...
Date: 2012-03-01 12:17 pm (UTC)

kimboosan: (Pervert's Corner)
From: [personal profile] kimboosan
Well any excuse to go to Tokyo, I say! Not that I've ever been, but I'd sure grab any excuse I could! ;)

Wouldn't it be fascinating to consider how fanworks could also be thought of as belonging to 'genres' in the English-language sense of the word?

I want to marry this idea and have it's babies. I think the power of labeling something is profound, in any language, and to identify fandoms as genres would be, I think, transformative for perceptions of them. LOVE THIS.

Anyway fandom is a clunky word. I'm writing a long meta about fandom right now and I keep going to back to scrub or refine my use of it in different contexts: general fandom, online fandom, "genre" fandom, and even in some instances the use of fandom to designate the whole phenomenon of the source material, fans, fandom culture, and history. ARGH. *kicks language*
Date: 2012-03-02 01:26 pm (UTC)

kimboosan: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kimboosan
I like where your thoughts are going. Hmmm.

As well, where does the word "fen" come in? I use it a lot instead of "fans" because to me, fans is a *very* broad term while fen tends to designate (in MY mind, anyway) the online, fanfic-based culture dominated mostly by women. Have I genderized it? A little, I think; a fan, to me, is male or female, and very generally is involved in some form of fandom (cosplay, conventions, gaming). So "fen" would then technically be a mostly-female sub-group of "fans."

Which seems nit-picky, but as I write this, also necessary. Fandom is just simply one huge bucket word, something like "bourgeoisie": specific in designation, but very broadly applied across multiple sub-groups. I think it does have that erasing effect to some degree, but part of that I believe is simply lack of definition clarity.

And also, what is the difference between a fandom community and a fandom culture? Are they the same?

Roughly: there are fans who participate in fandom by way of fandom communities/cultures of various types (cosplay, fanfiction, online, LARPing) in different genres (SPN, Death Note, etc.), some of whom might be designated "fen" depending on the fandom culture they are in.

Needs work. :P

Date: 2012-03-02 01:32 pm (UTC)

Oh and also...

kimboosan: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kimboosan
Maybe "fandom" is something that encompasses the people ("fans"), especially when it's used to designate not just the people but also "the whole phenomenon of the source material, fans, fandom culture, and history"?

I'd agree with this. I don't like using "fandom" to designate just the people, as it both makes the word less useful and as you say, kind of erases the fans. The only thing that bugs me is here is including the source material in the definition, but it's pretty much done all the time as far as I can tell, as a short cut to saying "the show, it's fandom and it's fans" type of phrase. Which would be the correct way to do it, but as we've established: clunky. So instead we just say "the SPN fandom" to bucket it all together; to be fair, generally most people would understand the implication made and extrapolate it. But as I write this meta, I can't *assume* that, and so things get twisted. Bah.

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