Orientaliska studier. 2018. V.156. Special Issue: Manga, Comics and Japan: Area Studies as Media Studies
This year’s final issue of Orientaliska studier consists of papers initially
given at the conference on Manga Studies held at Stockholm University,
Department of Asian, Middle Eastern and Turkish Studies from
6-8 September. The conference was arranged on the occasion of the
150th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations
between Sweden and Japan. A wide variety of topics within this broad
field of research are covered by the 15 contributors. An introduction
is written by conference organizer and guest editor Jaqueline Berndt,
professor of Japanese Language and Culture at Stockholm University,
Department of Asian, Middle Eastern and Turkish Studies.
This article combines Media Studies' and Fan Studies' approaches to such phenomenon as global manga spread, highlighing the role of participatory cultures and fan communities in the distribution, translation and interpretation of manga in Russia. The first part of the article is dedicated to participatory cultures as a concept and cultural reality in Russia, to differences between such notions as "otaku" (manga and anime fans), fan practices, fan cultures and participatory cultures. The article stresses the productive transformative potential of participatory cultures as cultural agents, their ability to cross national and cultural borders on their own terms and to influence the development of global phenomena within local contexts, even when national cultural industries, including the mass market, are not capable for some reasons to fulfil this task properly. The second part of the article is dedicated to the international reception of a controversial manga and anime title "Made in Abyss". This case demonstrates the ability of participatory cultures to become a space for open discussions of problematic questions, for production of knowledge and thinking about Japan as well as about local cultures.