Millennial Monsters: Japanese Toys and the Global Imagination
Faculty Bookwatch Publication
The Franklin Humanities Institute and Duke University Libraries hosted a Faculty Bookwatch panel on Anne Allison's Millennial Monsters: Japanese Toys and the Global Imagination, on January 23, 2007. Panelists included Lawrence Grossberg (Communication Studies and Cultural Studies, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill), Henry Jenkins (Humanities and Comparative Media Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology), and Tomiko Yada (Asian and African Languages and Literature, Program in Literature, and Women's Studies, Duke University).
A related event, a screening of Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away (2001), took place on January 17, 2007. The screening was presented by the Franklin Humanities Institute, Duke University Libraries, the Asian/Pacific Studies Institute, and the Film/Video/Digital Program.
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 Monstersexplores the global popularity of Japanese youth goods today while it questions 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.