Monday, November 30, 2015

Call for Papers Communicating with Cool Japan ICA16 Preconference

ICA16 Preconference Communicating with Cool Japan: New International Perspectives on Japanese Popular Culture

Date: Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Location: Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan

Sponsors: ERIC; Pop Comm; Goldsmiths, University of London; Waseda University

Keynote Speaker: Koichi Iwabuchi (Monash University) 

More children around the world recognize Mario than they do Mickey Mouse, and Japanese popular culture, especially anime, manga, music, games, television, film, and street fashion, is among the most distinct and recognizable of any in the world. During a time of domestic economic malaise, these products of these creative industries have become increasingly important cultural exports. There is both intra-Asian cultural flow (e.g. between Japan and Korea), as well as “counter-flow” from East to West. Japan continues to be a subject of Orientalization, yet at the same time, Japan is one of the most well-developed, wealthy nations in its region, with its own history of colonialism.

This year’s International Communication Association Annual Conference theme is “Communicating with Power,” and it implies both speaking to the powerful and speech that is powerful in and of itself. Both are salient here because “Cool Japan” is a governmental catchphrase, and to a postcolonial country like Japan, which has renounced the “hard” military power of warmongering and violence, the “soft power” of cultural diplomacy and the global recognition of its powerhouse popular culture are especially important. What role should Japanese popular culture play on the twenty-first century international stage? What sorts of power are or ought to be vested in cultural producers? What can these media tell us about ourselves—and others? And what sorts of empowerment does Japanese popular culture make possible for consumers? We invite scholars who would explore some of the answers to these questions—as well as provide new ones—in order to better understand, ultimately, what it means to communicate with Cool Japan.

Papers and panels on topics related to any area of Japanese popular culture will be considered, including but not limited to:
-production processes and/or cultural workers 
-political economy (including the role of the state and markets) 
-media/cultural content (e.g. of anime, manga, fashion, videogames, film, music, television, etc.) 
-the Internet, social/online media, cellular phones, or other technology 
-uses of Japanese popular culture 
-globalization or diaspora 
-cultural policy/diplomacy
-consumption or media effects 
-identity and the self
-otaku and fandom

Submissions from graduate students and junior scholars are especially welcome. 

How to Submit: 

We will accept both individual abstract submissions and fully-constituted panel submissions (of 4-5 participants).

Individual paper submissions should include: 
-Title, name and affiliation, and email address of author(s). 
-Abstract of 150-200 words that discusses the problem, research, methods and relevance. 
-Use Microsoft Office or PDF format.

Panel proposal submissions should include:
-Title of panel and 100-word rationale.
-Titles, names and affiliations, and email addresses of panelists. 
-Abstracts of 150-200 words for each presentation that discusses the problem, research, methods and relevance. 
-Use Microsoft Office or PDF format.

Send all submissions to Please write “Communicating with Cool Japan Preconference” in the subject line.
Submission deadline is extended to February 15, 2016. 

Notification of acceptance will occur sometime in late February.

Please contact Casey Brienza ( or Anamik Saha ( with any inquiries.


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