Millennial Monsters Japanese Toys and the Global

Millennial Monsters Japanese Toys and the Global Imagination Asia Local StudiesGlobal Themes From sushi and karaoke to martial arts and technoware the currency of made in Japan cultural goods has skyrocketed in the global marketplace during the past decade The globalization of Japanese “cool” is led by youth products video games manga comic books anime animation and cute characters that have fostered kid crazes from Hong Kong to Canada Examining the crossover traffic between Japan and the United States Millennial Monsters explores the global popularity of Japanese youth goods today while it uestions the make up of the fantasies and the capitalistic conditions of the play involved Arguing that part of the appeal of such dream worlds is the polymorphous perversity with which they scramble identity and character the author traces the postindustrial milieux from which such fantasies have arisen in postwar Japan and been popularly received in the United States

10 thoughts on “Millennial Monsters Japanese Toys and the Global Imagination Asia Local StudiesGlobal Themes

  1. Amelia White Amelia White says:

    While it is good in the department of cultural studies it fails at facts about what it is describing Allison's information about what she is discussing Power Rangers Sailor Moon and Pokemon is filled is misinformation that makes Wikipedia look credible I spent most of my time picking out aspects that were wrong instead of actual reading This made me take anything she said with a grain of salt

  2. Mishal Mahnuma Mishal Mahnuma says:

    For the most part the analysis in this ethnography is interesting and strong However it falls into the trap of being a bit of an overcompensating piece at times over analyzing some points unnecessarily including Japanese phrases A little jarring is that some chapters are simply riddled with factual errors It seems a little silly to nitpick at but given there is an entire chapter on Sailor Moon there is no reason why an established academic should get the most basic details incorrect Characters and notable phrases from the show are misnamedmisuoted the author alternates between the Japanese and Americanized names with no logical reasoning themes from the show are oversimplified to seemingly fit the desired framework I have to admit given the topic its increasing popularity and the wealth of access to information on it much of which the author proves to have had access to the final product is a disappointment

  3. Untimely Gamer Untimely Gamer says:

    I picked up this book to learn Japanese pop culture and anime It has some interesting insights but I have become suspicious of the factual rigor of this bookUnfortunately the chapters about Pokemon the ones whose material I am most familiar with do not inspire confidence The author thinks that Pokémon Red and Blue could be considered an action game if it wasn’t for the ability to trade Pokemon by link cable ? She calls Game Boy cartridges “cassettes She hyphenates Mewtwo as Mew two These are all admittedly nitpicks which would not detract from her readings if they were strong enough But the readings themselves are pretty out there as well She argues for instance that the way Pokemon evolve reflect Japan’s own evolution from conuered power in WWII to economic powerhouse She also claims that Ash’s uest to become the greatest Pokemon master reflects Japan’s new found confidence in its postindustrial society But Pokemon was released during the economic slump as she discusses later on and even disregarding this fact it seems extremely facile to simply euate a mechanic in a game to Japanese capitalism as a whole And the whole “I am going to be the best X” is a shonen trope This trope itself might plausibly reflect a new confidence in Japanese society but that reuires a much broader interrogation of the history of the trope outside of Pokemon I am sure there are many interesting things to say about Pokémon and Japanese national identity but they need a nuanced approach than the lazy theses offered by this bookThere is some genuinely useful information and readings in this book so it is worth checking out if you are doing active research in this field But the problems with the Pokemon chapters left a bad taste in my mouth and made me suspicious of her ideas in other parts of the book

  4. Jason Danely Jason Danely says:

    This book is a welcome addition for those like me who already enjoy Anne Allison's work on Japan including Nightwork and Permitted Prohibited Desires Like those works Allison employs eual parts psychoanalytic mostly Lacan and critical social theory Deleuze and Guattari Benjamin Williams to deepen our understanding of popular culture In doing so she is able to describe Japanese toys in terms of polymorphous perversity techno animism and fantasy while at the same time draw in ideas of enchanted commodities fairy scenes fetishism virtuality and nomadicism in relation to this global political and economic moment Few scholars combine both of these approaches so seamlessly and this reader is convinced that this has something to do with the nature of the subject matter the globalization of Japanese toys Although MM was published in 2006 it remains something students are immediately able to engage with from the post war descriptions of Gojira and manga culture to such seemingly benign contemporary icons like the Power Rangers Sailor Moon Tamagotchi and Pokemon Allison chose these examples well as they are still in our toy stores or phone appstoday and undergrads now love nostalgically remembering their obsession with them when they were youngerAllison's well researched outlines of the uneven process of globalization of Japanese toys she does not venture into all of Japanese pop culture covered elsewhere such as Hello Kitty McVeigh pop music Condry is fascinating since what it is really relating is a careful negotiation of the aesthetics of play with implications for corporate views of childhood One gets the sense that Japanese toy creators have a genuinely easier time creating toys sensitive to the child's world even as they offend many US adults In part this childlike nature of Japanese culture stems from an affinity with animism an aesthetic sense of cute things and a highly developed sense of transformation and evolution Toys provide a world for children and willing adults to explore these notions without a 'mature' sense of clear linear storylines that resolve in unambiguous answers If this is the case and I think it may be the book has much bigger implications for how we view Japanese culture and its place in globalizationI would rank this among the best works on pop culture by an anthropologist; it clearly lays out culturallymateriallyhistorically grounded concepts without being heavy handed It is also fun to read There is a sense of Allison's own personal enjoyment of the kind of Japanese aesthetics that she sees in toys and she's not going to use her keen critical eye to dissuade any of us from enjoying them either Highly recommended

  5. Chi Pham Chi Pham says:

    If you grow up with Doraemon Power Rangers Sailor Moon tamagotchi and Pokemon you will likely find Millenial Monsters very fascinating for many reasons As the author traces the history of the Japanese toy industry from its humble re invention in the very first years of postwar Japan until its seemingly worldwide domination at the beginning of the 21st century the reader will also embark on a journey to observe the changing perceptions of Japan's place in the world To sum it up which is to grossly oversimplify the argument through the various cultural productions Japan firmly posits the somewhat imagined postwar narrative of transformation from a victimized nation to an influential global player brimming with self confidence On the other side of the Pacific the US witnesses the rapid rise of its former enemy into a cultural economic force to be reckoned with yet this feat seems entirely of the US's own making Even if you are not terribly enchanted with the politics you cannot help being enad by another line of argument surrounding the fetishim of fantasy and capitalism within the toy industry Deeply alienated by a post modern world which places heavy demands on its next generation the young boys and girls look for an escape in a fantasy world only to be charmed into buying ever and toys thus feeding the very own capitalism that creates their post modern world in the first place Yet they and myself included still wear this fetishim publicly as a marker of identity as an inalienable part of their existenceThis book does get some facts wrong And it hopelessly dwells on the Pokemon phenomenon where I lost interests considerably because I have not had the honor to intersted in that adorable Pikachu But than a decade from the published date in a world where fantasy somewhat euals Marvel I believe that we all deserve to know fantasy is a value laden sphere that merits closer inspection

  6. Kam Kam says:

    Napier is obviously an anthropologist doing her research on toy commodities and their world wide spread focusing on it's origins in Japan and it's arrival to the USA Her own field work and research on the subject is highly valuable and as it seems entirely correctHowever she doesn't write her book only in the toy commodities She also writes on a range on topics from sexualization to proper cultural studies that she has done not enough research on and therefore makes some worrisome errors or mileads the readerTherefore if you are hoping to use this book as a cultural studiesmangaanime main book I'd rather recommend others since she isn't an expert on that field I'd recommend this book just for its anthropologist take on toy commodities sales and revenues which are accurate and interesting

  7. Amber Amber says:

    4550 I understand her previous research was concerned with sexuality but the inclusion of Freud was a little weird for me Plus the usage of the term money shot which is waaay too value laden Altogether interesting but the take away was awkward For Japan the millenial monsters can be problematic and may be indicative of larger social problems but in the US the widening global view is welcome to combat America's xenophobia This book also promises a global peek but restricts research between the US and Japan This is obviously due to practicality but still felt misleading However I think Allison raises very important uestions for the technogical age and presents a thorough research for one aspect of a larger phenomenon A constructed review coming later

  8. Aaron Chu Aaron Chu says:

    The author's perspective is perhaps at times authentic only through the lens of an outsider and does not fully uncover the Japanese mentality and culture From an anthropological perspective the author may have imbued too much of her own interpretation as opposed to allowing the subject Japanese culture to unveil itself through lived experience and critical observation note that the author's fieldwork consists of 1 year of field work and multiple travel to Japan I enjoyed reading the book at it provides a lot of information on the history of Japan The author's arguments were strong and the chapters are cohesive

  9. Summer Summer says:

    A fine study of Japanese popular culture on the international scale and of 20th century Japanese history and sociology This book contains legitimate scholarship than similar titles on the worldwide spread of pop culture Two nitpicks The Rose of Versailles is by Ryoko Ikeda not Osamu Tezuka and the author is severely misinformed if she thinks that animemanga fans in the US are overwhelmingly male

  10. Miami University Libraries Miami University Libraries says:

    This is a very interesting title about the global cultural impact of Japanese toys video games anime and Manga Especially good are the sections on what part of the global psyche Pokemon taps intohttpbetalibmuohioedudrupalsolrpacsearch?tbibnob3997856

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