12-13th June 2015

Japanese pop cultures in Europe today: Economic challenges, Mediated notions, Future opportunities

For the third Mutual Images workshop, we seek to explore the dynamic relations between Japan and Europe through contemporary popular cultures. These past decades, Japanese pop cultures (manga, anime on television and at theatres, video games, toys, gadgets, cosplay, fan-fiction, light novels, dramas and other forms of current entertainment) have been an important vector of Japanese culture on Europe.

In the three sessions of this workshop, we will interrogate the commercial, media and cultural aspects of the development of Japanese popular cultures in Europe today. We particularly invite papers that consider the influence of Japanese popular culture on European societies and mentalities, within a wide range of cultural, social or economic aspects; e.g. from artistic media, such as literary productions, to eating habits. We encourage submissions characterized by interdisciplinary approaches. This workshop is open to Ph.D. students, Ph.D. holders and academics at any stage of their career.


Europe: just a market place or a true commercial partner for Japanese pop cultures?

Japanese pop cultures have reached many foreign markets and have been welcomed by European consumers as well. In this first section of the workshop we aim to interrogate the interactions that may have arisen and still arise from this continuing and ever-changing encounter. What are the contexts in which Japanese pop cultures were and are successfully (or unsuccessfully) imported? What social, economical, sociological, cultural aspects have contributed to its expansion? We encourage papers based on frameworks coming from all disciplines of Humanities and Social sciences.


Japan in European media and public opinion before and after the boom of ‘J-cultures’

Media in European nations show different conceptions and adopt several different rhetorical narratives on Japan. These varying notions are certainly due to the history of the diplomatic relations with Japan, the national cultural tradition, the critic literature along the centuries. However, in the last thirty years a further shift might have been at play, due to the success of J-cultures (especially manga, animation, toys), a phenomenon at work since the late 1970s. An example (but not the only possible) of this process is the impact of anime on television consumption and manga in the publishing market, which may have played a role in the definitions of Japan in the mainstream media and in the ways Japan has been told to the public. Therefore in this section we aim to interrogate the ways J-cultures have played and are currently playing a role upon the attitudes adopted in the media discourse on Japan.


Japan, outpost of the 21st century’s culture?

For the third part of this workshop, we seek to explore the role of Japanese pop cultures in the making of the 21st century’s culture. For the past decades, globalization and the intensification of transcultural exchanges have spread the seeds of future opportunities. Those seeds are now blooming, challenging our own very conceptions, starting with the ‘mutual images‘ between cultures. There is a wide range of elements at stake, be it the Literature’s creation and reception, the education of our new generations, or common politics. By considering the Japanese pop cultures’ phenomenon in Europe today, we aim here to determine, through a wide range of topics, to which extent it holds future opportunities. Can it participate in the making of new mutual images between Japan and Europe? Would it be able to influence the education of our future generations, their politics and their social lives? Can it be seen as an outpost of the 21st century’s culture, or just an ephemeral transition?


300 word abstracts should be submitted by 28 February, 2015. Acceptance notifications of the abstract proposals will be sent by 15 March, 2015. Full draft papers must be submitted by 31 May 2015. Presentations will be 20-minute long, followed by 15 minutes of Q&A and discussion. Abstracts are to be submitted to the following address:  mutualimages@gmail.com


Abstracts should be in Word format with the following information and in this order: a) title of abstract, b) body of abstract, c) up to 10 key words, d) author(s), e) affiliation, f) email address.

Please use plain text (Calibri 12) and abstain from using footnotes and any special formatting, characters or emphasis (such as bold, italics or underline).

E-mails should be entitled: MUTUAL IMAGES 2015 Abstract Submission.

All abstracts will be anonymously reviewed by a jury of specialists. Authors will be notified via email on the results of the review by 15th March 2015.

We acknowledge receipt and answer to all paper proposals submitted. If you do not receive a reply from us in a week you should assume we did not receive your proposal. We suggest, then, to resend it.

This edition of the Mutual Images workshop is organized in collaboration with the Department of Sociology of Kōbe University, Prof. Yui Kiyomitsu and Dr. Marco Pellitteri, with the strategic and financial support of JSPS.