Revisiting Japanese Fan Culture Theory

A/Prof. Zilia Zara-papp1, M.A Soomin Hong1

1Saitama University, Saitama, Japan

A controversy on the misrepresentation of Anime has been in both of two theoretical applications on previous and ongoing animation research; Feminist theories and Fan culture theories. The contrast stems from their point of view on how animation interacts with society. Feminist theories explore the general influence of animation on society, whereas fan culture theories separate the animation from society by specifying their subjects to a particular group of people. Most of the existing scholarly works of fan culture theory deal with fan viewers in Japan known as Otaku, the new type of fan emerged in the early 1980s. Broadly, three leading theorists have conducted studies on Otaku; Eiji Ōtsuka, Hiroki Azuma, and Tamaki Saitō. Contrary to such studies, Hemmann reconciles the link between society and Anime by criticizing three theorists’ failure to take a real human into account. To spot the misogyny and discriminatory ageism in the east Asian subculture, and to address the discounted presence of girls in Fan studies due to an academic inattention, this paper revisits Japanese Fan culture theory by reviewing the scholarly work of Hemmann which critically investigated major theorists of the field.


Zilia Zara-Papp, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Media Studies at Saitama University, where she specializes in contemporary media of Australia and the Asia-Pacific.


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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