Japanese Transnational Fandoms and Female Consumers

Japanese Fandom Project

Two-day Workshop, 3 - 4 July 2008, University of Wollongong


A two-day workshop on the topic of “Japanese” transnational fandom with a specific focus on women’s participation. The workshop will be one of the first attempts to theorise the enormous impact of Japanese popular culture on young women’s participatory fan cultures throughout the Asian region and more broadly. The workshop will be held at the University of Wollongong’s Centre for Asia-Pacific Social Transformation Studies and will be offered free of charge for registered participants (including presenters, discussant, and listeners).


Dr Fran Martin, Professor Christine Yano, Samantha Hill, and Dr Mark McLellandThis workshop investigated the different ways in which originally Japanese genres, aesthetics and styles have been taken up, deployed and transformed by female fans transnationally. The way in which Japanese products, styles and images are received in different cultures as well as the (sub)cultural ends to which they are deployed will be investigated, as will the impact of the fandom on the changing nature of consumerism, participatory fan culture and particularly gender in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.

Of particular interest was the ‘yaoi’ or ‘boys’ love’ (BL) manga/animation fandom popular with girls and young women. Over the last decade there has been a massive boom in interest in this genre (including commercially translated and published volumes as well as amateur fan-authored productions) in Korea, China, Taiwan, Thailand and the United States.

About 20 speakers looked at the impact of Japanese popular culture in Australia and the region.

The keynote lecture was delivered by Professor Christine Yano from the University of Hawaii who spoke on the global Hello Kitty Fandom.

The workshop will result in a themed edition of the journal Intersections : http://wwwsshe.murdoch.edu.au/intersections/ due for release in April 2009.

The event garnered some favourable publicity – most notably a spread in A2, the culture pull out of The Age newspaper on Saturday August 18 (Age journalist Fran Atkinson attended the whole event).