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Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential: How Teenage Girls Made A Nation Cool

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3.61  ·  Rating Details ·  215 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
From manga and anime to movies, magazines, video games, advertising and music, Japanese schoolgirls are everywhere. For years, schoolgirls have shown up in internationally popular anime such as Sailor Moon, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, and Blood: The Last Vampire. Films such as Battle Royale inspired Quentin Tarantino to include a fighting schoolgirl in Kill Bill; an ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published August 1st 2010 by Kodansha
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Randee
Feb 12, 2015 Randee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this brief exploration into Japanese pop culture and how teenage girls have dominated trends in everything from fashion to music. Each chapter discusses a different medium in which female teens have prevailed into making something like cell phones fashionable, trendy and popular to the Japanese public. I, myself, am a big fan of Japan and found some of the origins to be quite interesting. I wish the writer had gone into more detail. Each chapter is relatively brief with lots of drawing ...more
Steve
Jul 22, 2016 Steve rated it liked it
Shelves: japanology
OK, so I’ve read a book about Japanese Schoolgirls; It really isn’t what you think.

Here’s the thing. If you watch a Japanese film, anime, read manga or Japanese literature, the hero, the villain, the principle characters always seem to either be, or have connections to Japanese School Girls, and I want to know why. Why is it modern Japanese stories always feature young, strong, female characters, when other nations output almost always has girls as fodder for the male leads and, at best, love in
...more
Sarah
Jan 08, 2012 Sarah rated it liked it
Pretty entertaining book, though it is quiet short and tells a lot of its story through pictures. If you're looking for an in-depth description of elements of Japanese popular culture, this isn't it. But it touches on quite a few interesting elements, and it's an entertaining, light read.
Sam Brattle
Aug 06, 2012 Sam Brattle rated it it was amazing


An interesting book that is a must for all fans of Japanese culture.
Brenna
Jun 11, 2012 Brenna rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I LOVE this book!
abatage
Jan 19, 2011 abatage rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Remember that the author is a journalist, so there isn't a lot in the way of academic integrity. His research methods (unsurprisingly) are convenience based and often the result of limited surveying. He can't decide whether he's writing a piece for a magazine, or a serious investigation into this unique culture. There are some sentences that stand out for being too much like an attempt at prose, especially when they are plonked at the beginning of a typical magazine interview. Do I need to hear ...more
Holly Letson
Once you get past the boring first chapter of this book, which discusses uniforms, this book is really good. I'd give it 4.5 stars myself. I won this book from Tuttle here on Goodreads from First Reads. I was excited to receive it, and was not let down.
I consider myself pretty read-up and in-the-know about anime and manga. But, still, I enjoyed reading that section of the book, and learning the stories behind what we read and watch.
I also enjoyed reading the sections on music and gaming as w
...more
Randee
Jan 19, 2015 Randee rated it liked it
Shelves: asian-books
I enjoyed this brief exploration into Japanese pop culture and how teenage girls have dominated trends in everything from fashion to music. Each chapter discusses a different medium in which female teens have prevailed into making something like cell phones fashionable, trendy and popular to the Japanese public. I, myself, am a big fan of Japan and found some of the origins to be quite interesting. I wish the writer had gone into more detail. Each chapter is relatively brief with lots of drawing ...more
Michelle
Sep 27, 2014 Michelle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This book is an light overview of what kind of impact Japanese schoolgirl have had in popular culture. The first chapter covers the history of school uniforms, and the other chapters thematically cover the rest of pop culture. It's a good book for getting an understanding of that part of Japanese culture. It avoids a prurient and immature view of schoolgirls and goes for an understanding of them beyond sexual fetishes but rather the independence and economic power of teen girls that give them cu ...more
John King
Jan 17, 2017 John King rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Call it serendipity, but I came across this book while taking an online course in Japanese Subcultures given by Keio University. It fit right in. The Japanese schoolgirl in her habitual sailor suit, navy blazer, socks and loafers is an icon of that country and has been exported in movies, musical groups, computer games, visual novels and mangas, and other vehicles such as fake sexed up school uniforms marketed to older women. She can be anything from a pure and innocent student to an avenging de ...more
Josh Brown
May 27, 2014 Josh Brown rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For anyone who has ever shown an interest in Japanese culture, Brain Ashcraft's 'Japanese SchoolGirl Confidential' brings 200 pages of well-written, thouroghly engaging historical facts and trivia surrounding what you'll learn to be almost the bread and butter of modern Japanese society.

Even though the book's cover may not be the first thing you'd like to envision other commuters eye-balling on your way to work - and certainly being one to raise a few questions when seen sitting on your bookshel
...more
Sarah Crawford
Jan 22, 2016 Sarah Crawford rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is basically a history book about how Japanese schoolgirls have influenced the development of Japanese culture and it is an absolutely fascinating work. It covers everything from tamogatchi through picture booths through the idea of schoolgirls dating older guys to get money.

The first chapter deals with the sailor uniforms that girls wear to school, where they came from and how they changed through the ages. The second chapter talks about music and idols such as Morning Musume and Seiko Ma
...more
M.L. Sparrow
May 20, 2016 M.L. Sparrow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love all things Japanese and am really fascinated by the culture, so as soon as I heard about this book I knew I wanted to read it. Unfortunately it’s actually quite expensive on Amazon – both Kindle and Paperback – but I recently discovered it at the Manga Museum in Kyoto for half the price and immediately snapped it up!

It’s a light, entertaining read and I actually found it very interesting.After reading this there are several more Japanese books on my wish list as well as films I’ve made a
...more
Jen
Jan 03, 2016 Jen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential explores the popularity of the schoolgirl in Japanese media. With chapters examining fashion, music and manga, it offers a brief insight into the cultural developments of twentieth-century Japan, and the key role young women played in shaping Japanese culture as we know it today.

Don't let the cutesy pink cover fool you - Ashcraft's written a serious collection of short essays on the subject (albeit in an easy-going, colloquial style), and the book is full of inte
...more
Hollowspine
Aug 20, 2014 Hollowspine rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I think I know much more than I needed or ever wanted to know about Japanese School Uniforms. It was interesting to read about some of the Japanese Originals, like the Ko-Gals, and also to take a look at the language of teenage girls in Japan, similar to the text speak we have developed among young girls here. The face letters ( ^o^ ) of course originated in Japan, but in teenage girls rather than anyone else.

I don't think teenage girls are very trendsetting here in the States...at least I hope
...more
Patrick
Very brief popular introduction to, well, what the title says. I'm afraid I had a very difficult time following the book, as there were a lot of names thrown at the the reader, and my sense is the text assumed a level of knowledge upon opening this book that I simply do not have. Covers everything from movies, television, anime, manga and video games, but does so in kind of a scattershot fashion. Can't argue w/the central thesis, though.

ISBN # 9781462914098, which does not appear when searching
...more
kb
Sep 26, 2016 kb rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfic, qt-pie
Informative and entertaining read! I liked that it discusses theories about how the school girl is a Japanese icon (and of course, other elements of pop culture) but does not use the academic approach and instead talks about things in a friendlier and more consumable way. And the pictures! They are glorious! Great for anyone fascinated by the Japanese culture AND those who have yet to get into the fan club.
Yue
Schoolgirls are taken for granted in Japanese Culture (to us Western I mean), but they are really something. They are everywhere: music (AKB48, Morning Musume), movies (Battle Royale, Kill Bill), manga (Sailor Moon), games... And Japanese girls even COSPLAY. Like, there are "fake" uniforms that girls purchase, that are cuter or better looking than the real uniforms.

I loved the book, it is very complete and with many details. And many beautiful pictures.
Natalie
Nov 15, 2014 Natalie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book. It's right along the lines of Japanese Schoolgirl Inferno. It's a quick read on the cultural influence of schoolgirls on Japan. The chapters are broken up in to different mediums and themes. I greatly prefer the focus on fashion and culture rather than anime and manga in this book. Absolutely recommended to anyone interested in modern Japanese pop culture.
Kate
I liked this book. Love Japanese culture. This was a good intro to "schoolgirl" culture with a lot of mentions of different aspects of it (fashion, manga, bands, magazines). Would love to see a companion website with links to everything they mentioned. Good jumping off point for further investigation.
Tasha
Nov 01, 2013 Tasha rated it liked it
Slightly repetitive, at times a bit shallow in its analysis, but quite interesting exploration of the schoolgirl figure in Japanese art and media. Good historical view. Great pictures, wish some of them were bigger or in color.
FutureSimp
Aug 10, 2010 FutureSimp rated it liked it
3.5 stars actually. This book was better than it had to be, but I wish there was a closer chapter. The book immediately ended after a brief anime summary. But will summarize the appeal of schoolgirls listed in the book for you right now: "Natsukashii" and "Seishun".
Jennifer
Oct 27, 2011 Jennifer rated it liked it
Cute and trendy but superficial book about the appeal of the schoolgirl stereotype. Some fun stuff, some inaccuracies, nothing too serious in any direction.
Geku
Oct 23, 2011 Geku rated it really liked it
Quite insightful and informative, an easy and fun read with a ton of helpful photos and illustrations.
Brian Geringer
Brian Geringer rated it it was amazing
Dec 28, 2013
Derek Vasconi
Derek Vasconi rated it it was amazing
Aug 04, 2015
Mel
Mel rated it liked it
Jun 06, 2015
Kevin
Kevin rated it it was amazing
Apr 09, 2015
Rick Moya
Rick Moya rated it it was ok
May 17, 2013
Jess
Jess rated it it was amazing
Mar 13, 2015
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Brian Ashcraft is a writer based in Japan. He is the Senior Contributing Editor for video game site Kotaku. Ashcraft was previously a Contributing Editor at Wired Magazine and his work has also appeared in Popular Science, The Guardian, The Japan Times, and design journal Metropolis Magazine as well as publications in the United Kingdom, Portugal, Italy and South Africa. He has been interviewed ab ...more
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