Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Magic, Shōjo, and Metamorphosis: Magical Girl Anime and the Challenges of Changing Gender Identities in Japanese Society

  • Kumiko Saito
Abstract

The magical girl, a popular genre of Japanese television animation, has provided female ideals for young girls since the 1960s. Three waves in the genre history are outlined, with a focus on how female hero figures reflect the shifting ideas of gender roles in society. It is argued that the genre developed in close connection to the culture of shōjo (female adolescence) as an antithesis to adulthood, in which women are expected to undertake domestic duties. The paper then incorporates contexts for male-oriented fan culture of shōjo and anime aesthetics that emerged in the 1980s. The recent tendencies for gender bending and genre crossing raise critical questions about the spread of the magical girl trope as cute power. It is concluded that the magical girl genre encompasses contesting values of gender, and thus the genre's empowerment fantasy has developed symbiotically with traditional gender norms in society.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Akita, Takahiro. 2005. “Koma” kara “firumu” e: Manga to manga eiga [From frame to film: Manga and manga films]. Tokyo: NTT Shuppan.
Allison, Anne. 2006. Millennial Monsters: Japanese Toys and the Global Imagination. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Amano, Masako. 1997. “Women in Higher Education.” Higher Education 34(2):215–35.
Azuma, Hiroki. 2001. Dōbutsukasuru posutomodan: Otaku kara mita Nihon shakai [Otaku: Japan's database animals]. Tokyo: Kōdansha.
Azuma, Hiroki. 2007. “The Animalization of Otaku Culture.” In Mechademia 2: Networks of Desire, ed. Lunning, Frenchy, 175–88. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Bandai Visual Co. Ltd. n.d. “Production Reed Blue-Ray Disk Lineup.” http://www.bandaivisual.co.jp/reed/index.html (accessed December 15, 2008).
Chiavacci, David. 2005. “Changing Egalitarianism? Attitudes Regarding Income and Gender Equality in Contemporary Japan.” Japan Forum 17(1):107–31.
Dollase, Hiromi Tsuchiya. 2003. “Early Twentieth Century Japanese Girls' Magazine Stories: Examining Shōjo Voice in Hanamonogatari (Flower Tales).” Journal of Popular Culture 36(4):724–55.
Hausmann, Ricardo, Tyson, Laura D., and Zahidi, Saadia. 2009. “The Global Gender Gap Report 2009.” Economic Forum. http://www.weforum.org/pdf/gendergap/report2009.pdf (accessed February 18, 2010).
Holloway, Susan D., Suzuki, Sawako, Yamamoto, Yoko, and Delasendro Mindnich, Jessica. 2006. “Relation of Maternal Role Concepts to Parenting, Employment Choices, and Life Satisfaction Among Japanese Women.” Sex Roles 54(3/4):235–49.
Honda, Masuko. 2004. Henbō suru kodomo sekai: Kodomo pawā no hikari to kage [Children's society in transformation: Light and shadow of child power]. Tokyo: Chūōkōronshinsha.
Inglehart, Ronald, and Norris, Pippa. 2003. Rising Tide: Gender Equality and Cultural Change around the World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Ishida, Atsuko. 2007. Mahō shōnen Majōrian [Magical boy Majorian], vol. 1. Tokyo: Futabasha.
Itō, Gō. 2005. Tezuka izu deddo: Hirakareta manga hyōgenron e [Tezuka is dead: Toward the open expression of manga]. Tokyo: NTT Shuppan.
Japan Institute for Labour Policy and Training. 2007. “Shigoto to seikatsu: Taikei-teki ryoritsu shien no kochiku ni mukete.” http://www.jil.go.jp/institute/project/h15-18/07/ (accessed February 18, 2010).
Japan Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. 2009. Business Labor Trend 43 (May). http://www.jil.go.jp/kokunai/blt/backnumber/2009/05/042-044.pdf (accessed February 18, 2010).
Kinsella, Sharon. 1995. “Cuties in Japan.” In Women, Media, and Consumption in Japan, eds. Skov, Lisa and Moeran, Brian, 220–54. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press.
Kotani, Mari. 2006. “Metamorphosis of the Japanese Girl: The Girl, the Hyper-Girl, and the Battling Beauty.” In Mechademia 1: Emerging World of Anime and Manga, ed. Lunning, Frenchy, 162–70. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Loos, Ted. 2000. “Breaking Through Animation's Boy Barrier.” New York Times. September 17. http://www.nytimes.com/2000/09/17/movies/television-radio-breaking-through-animation-s-boy-barrier.html (accessed February 18, 2010).
Lyotard, Jean-François. 1984. The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. Translated by Bennington, Geoff and Massumi, Brian. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
McGray, Douglas. 2002. “Japan's Gross National Cool.” Foreign Policy 130 (May/June):44–54. http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2002/05/01/japans_gross_national_cool (accessed February 18, 2010).
Minaguchi, Kiseko. 2005. Eiga no bosei: Mimasu Aiko o meguru hahaoyazō no nichibei hikaku [Motherhood in film: Japan-US comparison of maternal figures surrounding Mimasu Aiko]. Tokyo: Sairyūsha.
Miyadai, Shinji. 1993. Sabukaruchā shinwa kaitai: Shōjo, ongaku, manga, sei no 30-nen to komyunikēshon no genzai [The deconstruction of subculture myths: Shōjo, music, manga, thirty years of sexuality, and the present of communication culture]. Tokyo: Parco shuppan.
Moseley, Rachel. 2002. “Glamorous Witchcraft: Gender and Magic in Teen Film and Television.” Screen 43(4):403–22.
Napier, Susan Jolliffe. 2005. Anime from Akira to Howl's Moving Castle: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
National Institute of Population and Social Security Research (Japan). 2010. “Jinkō tōkei shiryōshū” [Population statistics]. http://www.ipss.go.jp/ (accessed February 18, 2010).
Nomaguchi, Kei M. 2006. “Time of One's Own: Employment, Leisure, and Delayed Transition to Motherhood in Japan.” Journal of Family Issues 27(12):16681700.
Okada, Toshio. 1996. Otakugaku nyūmon [Introduction to otaku studies]. Tokyo: Ōta Shuppan.
Oshiyama, Michiko. 2007. Shōjo manga jendā hyōshōron: “Dansō no shōjo” no zōkei to aidentiti [Representations of gender in shōjo manga: Models and identities of girls in male attire]. Tokyo: Sairyūsha.
Otmazgin, Nissim Kadosh. 2008. “Contesting Soft Power: Japanese Popular Culture in East and Southeast Asia.” International Relations of the Asia-Pacific 8(1):73101.
Ōtsuka, Yasuo. 2001. Sakuga asemamire [Sweat-drenched animators]. Tokyo: Tokuma Shoten.
Saitō, Minako. 1998. Kōitten ron: Anime, tokusatsu, denki no hiroinzō [One woman among men: Heroines in anime, tokusatsu, and biographies]. Tokyo: Birejji Sentā Shuppankyoku.
Saitō, Tamaki. 2000. Sentō bishōjo no seishin bunseki [Beautiful fighting girl]. Tokyo: Ōta Shuppan.
Suzuki, Kazue. 1996. “Equal Job Opportunity for Whom?Japan Quarterly 43(3):5460.
Suzuki, Michiko. 2006. “Writing Same-Sex Love: Sexology and Literary Representation in Yoshiya Nobuko's Early Fiction.” Journal of Asian Studies 65(3):575–99.
Tada, Makoto. 2002. Kore ga anime bijinesu da [This is the anime business]. Tokyo: Kōsaidō Shuppan.
Takeuchi, Naoko. 1993. Bishōjo senshi Sailor Moon [Pretty soldier Sailor Moon], vol. 3. Tokyo: Kodansha.
Tōei Animation. 2010. “Tōei Animation.” http://www.toei-anim.co.jp/ (accessed October 23, 2013).
Tsugata, Nobuyuki. 2004. Nihon animēshon no chikara: 85-nen no rekishi o tsuranuku futatsu no jiku [The power of Japanese animation: Two axes that run through eighty-five years of history]. Tokyo: NTT Shuppan.
Video Research Ltd. n.d. “Video Research.” http://www.videor.co.jp/ (accessed March 14, 2010).
Yano, Christine R. 2009. “Wink on Pink: Interpreting Japanese Cute as It Grabs the Global Headlines.” Journal of Asian Studies 68(3):681–88.
Yonezawa, Yoshihiro. 2007. Sengo shōjo mangashi [Postwar history of shōjo manga]. Tokyo: Chikumashobō.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The Journal of Asian Studies
  • ISSN: 0021-9118
  • EISSN: 1752-0401
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-asian-studies
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Related content

Powered by UNSILO

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed