Emma Cook degree icon

Associate Professor

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Research Faculty of Media and Communication, Hokkaido University

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Feel free to contact me at:

cook [at] imc.hokudai.ac.jp




Anthropology of Youth in Japan

Japan is well known for its popular culture, fashion and music, and for youth groups that have inspired a variety of moral panics. This course looks at how the idea of youth has been created in Japan, how notions of group and individuality are appropriated, how youth cultures are discussed and viewed and the ways in which these groups may be changing Japanese society. The first half of the course looks at particular groups of youth and their interaction with social pressures to live and work in particular post-war ways. The second half shifts focus to subcultural use of fashion, music and popular culture.

 

Weekly Schedule (Not Offered in 2016-2017)

Week 1 Introduction

The lecture this week introduces the course and explores what constitutes a subculture.

No reading is due.

Slides

Week 2 Delinquent Girls

This week explores the lives of schoolgirls and the social context of female delinquency.

Reading due: Kinsella, Sharon 2012. ‘Narratives and Statistics: How Compensated Dating (enjo kōsai) was Sold’ In Goodman, R, Imoto, Y and T. Toivonen A Sociology of Japanese Youth: From Returnees to NEETs. Routledge. Chapter 3

Discussion Question Due

Slides

Week 3 Delinquent Boys

This week, through a lecture and documentary, we will focus on the lives and experiences of bosozoku and explore what constitutes a moral panic.

Reading due: Sato, Ikuya. 1991. Kamikaze Biker: Parody and Anomy in Affluent Japan. Chicago: Chicago University Press. Chapter 7 (pp. 181-209)

Discussion Question Due

Slides

Week 4 Youth and Employment

Youth employment has changed significantly since the 1990s and has been considerably affected by the continued recession. We will focus specifically on freeters and, to an extent, NEETs in this class.

Reading due: Honda, Yuki. 2005. ‘Freeters: Young Atypical Workers’ in Japan Labor Review 2 (3):5-26.

Discussion Question Due

Slides

Week 5 Social Withdrawal

This week we explore what constitutes social withdrawal among youth.

Reading due: Horiguchi, Sachiko 2012. ‘Hikikomori: How Private Isolation Caught the Public Eye.’ In Goodman, R, Imoto, Y and T. Toivonen, A Sociology of Japanese Youth: From Returnees to NEETs. Routledge. Chapter 6

Discussion Question Due

Slides

Week 6 The Rise of the ‘Herbivores’ and ‘Meat Eaters’

Focusing on changing ideals of masculinity and femininity this week explores the so-called rise of herbivorous men (and meat-eating women) and analyses why these categories have emerged in social discourse.

Readings due: Harney, Alexandra. 2009. ‘The Herbivore’s Dilemma’ Access online at: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/foreigners/2009/06/the_herbivores_dilemma.single.html
AND:
Lim, Louise. 2009. ‘In Japan, ‘Herbivore’ Boys Subvert Ideas Of Manhood’ Access online at: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=120696816

Discussion Question Due

Slides

Week 7 Otaku and Popular Culture

The focus in this lecture is on the ways in which otaku have come to be portrayed in public discourse alongside their use in a cultural diplomacy (soft power) strategy known as ‘Cool Japan’.

Reading due: Galbraith, Patrick 2010 ‘Akihabara: Conditioning a Public “Otaku” Image in Mechademia Volume 5 pp. 210-230

Discussion Question Due

Slides

Week 8 Fashion Subcultures

This week we begin to look at the diverse ways in which fashion subcultures have emerged and their links to specific subcultures.

Readings due: Kawamura, Yuniya 2012. Fashioning Japanese Subcultures London: Bloomsbury. Chapter 2 (pp21-32) and Chapter 5 (pp. 65-75)

Discussion Question Due

Slides

Week 9 Music Subcultures

We will focus specifically on the case of hip-hop in Japan to look at the intersections between music, fandom, politics and consumption

Reading due:B-Boys and B-Girls: Rap Fandom and Consumer Culture in Japan,” in Kelly, W. (ed.) Fanning the Flames: Fans and Consumer Culture in Contemporary Japan, Albany: SUNY Press, Chapter 1, pp. 17-39

Discussion Question Due

Slides

Week 10 Combining Technology and Music

This week we will explore the kinds of community practices that emerge when technology and music emerge in conjunction, using Hatsune Miku as our main example.

No reading due

Slides

Week 11 Presentation Preparation

No reading due

Week 12 Student Presentations

Student Presentations, including Q&A sessions for each group

No reading due.

Week 13 Student Presentations

Student Presentations, including Q&A sessions for each group

No reading due.

Week 14 Student Presentations

Student Presentations, including Q&A sessions for each group

No reading due.

Week 15 The future of Japan via youth?

In our final class we will reflect on the topics covered in the course to discuss the ways in which contemporary youth subcultures are changing Japan, and what the future may hold for the youth of today.

Information on Presentations and Essays

 

Yosakoi

Yosakoi Festival, Sapporo