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Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture Has Invaded the U.S.

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3.54  ·  Rating details ·  317 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
'Japanamerica' addresses the United States' experience with anime and the Japanese pop phenomenon. The book highlights the shared conflicts as American and Japanese pop cultures dramatically intersect.
Hardcover, 238 pages
Published November 1st 2006 by Palgrave MacMillan (first published 2006)
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Patrick Sherriff
Dec 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: japan, essays
As a Brit in Japan, I was intrigued by the parallels Kelts sees between the British invasion of the States in the 1960s and the Japanese invasion that has been ongoing since the late '70s or so. Just as the Brits learnt from US (black) culture and re-exported it back to white Americans, the Japanese manga and anime post-war innovators learnt from Disney and re-exported that knowledge to the US, but with a Japanese twist, that being an obsession with detail, an interest in the post-apocalyptic an ...more
Aaron
Japanamerica is an excellent introduction to the world of anime and manga for the general public. Roland Kelts explores the topic from several angles including the history of the medium, postwar Japan, film production production, business, marketing, Japanese fandom, foreign fandom, and the projected future of anime.

Two main comments about this book: First, Kelts does an excellent job of making meaningful and sound comparisons between particularly "Japanese" characteristics of anime and what's
...more
Natty
Aug 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Extremely insightful connection between history and Japanese pop culture, and why Americans in particular are fascinated by it.
Alexandra
Feb 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved Japanamerica. Very interesting topic to be sure--but more than that, Kelts has a voice that knows how to tell a story. A strong personal narrative voice is rare to find, and that alone would have kept me reading.
Anime and manga were subjects unfamiliar to me before I discovered Japanamerica (on the recommendation of a friend), so imagine my surprise when I couldn't put the book down: Kelts' firsthand accounts at studios in Japan, interviews with major players on both sides of the Pacific
...more
Jennie
Aug 04, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: japan
It's a shame because this book has some really great ideas but it's cloaked in sub par prose. The author is not a bad writer really, but this is not a nonfiction book, it's an honor's thesis. It is written exactly like an essay written by a high achieving grad student, meant to impress a professor. The mission statement is clear and oft repeated, arguments are made for and against, transitions are rigid and clear cut and evertything is wrapped up in a nice concluding statement. If I were Kelts p ...more
Christi
Mar 26, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
So far this is kind of boring and too general. Don't know if I will get through it. I saw Roland Kelts read and it was really interesting. He was more engaging than his book...

I only read half of this book!
Jean
May 10, 2013 rated it liked it
This book is written by a man who exists between two cultures -- Japanese and American. He looks at the Japanese influences in American pop culture and discusses the history, depth and the current struggles of Japanese anime industry.

I really enjoyed reading this account and found it very informative though at times romanticized. I was also very pleased that he did mention (though very brief) the female market. It did irk me how the males viewed the "strong, weak" female archetype as a celebrati
...more
Jess
Mar 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: media
Well, it only took me three years to read it but it was worth it! I started reading it for various assignments on Japanese culture. its a fascinating look at how the Japanese and American cultures have influenced each other following Americas occupation of Japan post WW2. Though it is essentially cultural criticism and social academia, it actually reads quite easy, and I am glad I put in the time to finish reading it beyond scholarly research. If you are interested in Otaku culture and post war ...more
Gopakumar
Jun 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
These are heady days for anime and manga as they occupy the mainstream spotlight. Japanophilia is on the rise. But how could a very singular culture (anime and manga riding the cultural tsunami wave) explode into an American phenomenon? Even the Japanese seem to be dumb founded. Roland Kelts topical book Japanamericaprovides that answer. Clocking in at 223 pages (HC) it's a cultural treatise on steroids. _Japanamerica_ provides an intimate insider's look and overturns some long held myths. Highl ...more
Kristi
Jul 23, 2015 rated it liked it
This book is only nine years old, but it's already feeling a bit dated. I wish I could find an annotated/footnote version with present-day updates. Kelts does a great job of introducing the creep of Japanese pop culture into mainstream U.S. pop culture, but I think it's come so far since 2006 that it's almost ubiquitous now. We've gone far beyond Pokemon and Akira.

The book generally stuck to an academic overview of things, but I would have appreciated a more personal touch. In particular, I thi
...more
Rebecca
Oct 04, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: manga
I found this book a very interesting study, not only in how Japanese culture has affect the United States, but finding that the things that get my students the most excited stem from American creations from my parents' childhood/young adult years.

It's also an interesting look at the cultural differences, and how that has played into the accommodation of the other culture. Thankfully, Kelts doesn't paint this with a Pollyanna shade, instead pointing out that for all the good this cultural sharing
...more
Sarah
Jul 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who has ever wondered: "What the F is Pickachu, anyway?"
Shelves: non-fiction
This book came out in 2006 but I only got to it now. I write a blog on Japanese pop culture for a business company in Los Angeles, so I was familiar with the basics of the topic, but there was still plenty of new information, expertly explained. The author is half Japanese and half American, and he's spent many years living in both countries and writing about Japan so I found his information useful and informative. He also interviews some key figures in Japanese pop culture (including Haruki Mur ...more
Jesse
Sep 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who likes good stories about the world
Recommended to Jesse by: Sasha
One of my best friends gave me this book for my birthday. I wasn't so sure what to think at first because I only know a bit about Japan and a few anime movies like Totoro and Spirited Away. But this book is really a lot of fun to read and has a lot of entertaining stories and comments from people who make Japanese Pop and fashion. The author Kelts knows how to tell good stories and he did a ton of research. I'm ging to give this to another friend of mine who is having a birthday next week.
Tosh
Apr 14, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author Roland Kelts did a great job on the global influence of Japanese Manga comics and it's fascinating to read his take on the current art scene in Japan as well. Well thought out interviews and a good perspective on Japan-pop life. One of the better books that are out there on Japanese contemporary culture.
Ariolander
Mar 18, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent book that covers a segment of culture I have always been interested in. Talks about the early history of the anime/manga industry and Japanese culture's spread across the globe. Reminds me of Douglas McGray's article on "Gross National Cool" explaining Japan's "soft power" in the world today.
Michal
Jan 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
An overall enjoyable and informative read with a heavy focus on the market of anime, manga, and related commodities. The best aspects are to be found in its initial chapters that focus on a more culturally-anthropological perspective of the reasons for the media's existence, potential, and appeal as an art form.
Karen
Jun 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
I read this for a project, not for fun, but it was really intriguing. I don't know how well it covers the topic of anime, manga, and other Japanese pop culture but it certainly made me want to watch some, and it definitely made me want to go to Japan. And now I want to seriously track down the rest of the Gaiman Sandman books!
Jared Miller
Mar 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
I used this book as a reference for a paper I wrote in college competition. It is well done and a very good read
Josh
Dec 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A good read for otaku; even those that have been fans for decades.
Sebastiano Mereu
Mar 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Enjoy it a lot. Gave me great insights into the dominant pieces of pop culture today.
Jason
Apr 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Who would have thought a book about Japanese culture's effect in America would be an interesting read, but I was totally engrossed. Absolutely fascinating!
Anne Wi
Jun 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I thought this book was awesome! My only gripe is in the section where they talk about toys I thought they talked about Pokemon WAY too much.
Courtney
Mar 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Not quite what I needed for my paper but interesting nonetheless.
Nicolaus Miller
Feb 12, 2015 rated it liked it
Japanamerica, is a solid book on culture as far as books of this type go, I give it a 3.4/3.5, but no higher. I take the biggest issue with the fact that I felt kind of lied to. I bought this book because I expected to learn how Japanese culture invaded America, but instead (aside from the first chapter and few parts towards the end) I was given a compare/contrast book which often came back to Japan recovering from the bombs, post-apocalyptic Japan, and how all of this relates to 9/11 (which I d ...more
Christine
Nov 17, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people interested in Japanese pop culture, anime, manga
This book basically put into words a lot of what my friends and in Japan and at University would chat about. The thing that stays with me the most from this book isn't the tentacle discussions, but the descriptions on how lots of Japanese people react to their pop culture being popular in the US. In my experience their are twin reactions to hearing Americans like something: "wow! Omg, I can't believe they like it! that's so crazy cool!" and "there is no way Americans could possibly understand or ...more
GONZA
Jun 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: ebk
Very interesting even if it's not the first book I read on the topic. As a matter of fact I didn't even know how much the Japanese culture was present in the U.S., as I don't live there, but I'm pretty sure there is not such a big difference compared for example to Italy of my childhood or the Germany of my kid's childhood.

Molto interessante anche se non é il primo libro che leggo sull'argomento. Per essere precisi non avevo idea di quanto fosse presente la cultura giapponese negli Stati Uniti,
...more
Jordan
Dec 31, 2008 rated it liked it
Sort of uneven. Gives way too much info about the business side of things. Barely covers some of the more..tastier topics. Worth a read if you are into Japan Pop culture, though. I did learn quite a few cool things (like how the guy who invented PacMan barely made any money. Why isn't that guy a millionaire? That sucks!)

Danielle
While this might be edifying for those new to Japanese/US cultural studies, it's not that innovative of a work for those somewhat familiar with recent developments. Aside from the predictable nature of the content, I felt that the writing style itself could have been a little more engaging. Still, it's a decent book overall, and quite good for those just dipping into the area.
malika
Jul 28, 2007 rated it it was ok
Author wanted to write about anime, someone probably decided it would sell better if it was a broader topic, author ends up writing about anime and marketing sells it as being about pop culture. Too adulatory and too repetitive and I'm only half way through...
Mark
Feb 27, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Honestly, never got the whole anime thing and was not a huge fan; however, I really liked this book and how it dealt with the history of the industry, the artists themselves as well as the way anime has influenced both Japanese and American culture.
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Roland Kelts, half-Japanese American writer, editor and lecturer, lives half of each year in Tokyo and New York. He is the author of "Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture has Invaded the US," writes about contemporary Japan for several publications in the US, Japan, Europe and Canada, and is a frequent commentator on Japan for National Public Radio and the BBC. He also plays the drums.
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