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Hybridized Whiteness: Japanese Anime and Manga in Global Postcolonial Context
Individual Paper Presenter(s)
Temple University, United States
Theories of whiteness posit a positioning of an invisible, intangible scale that coalesces within a normative center that other bodies are measured against. As previous scholars (Darling-Wolf, Russell, Lu, Kawashina) on race and Japanese anime and manga have pointed out there is a certain whiteness, separate (or overlapping) caucasian whiteness, that leaves the question of race open to decoding by local semiotic lexicons. This “whiteness” is categorized more within traditions of cultural, economic, and imperialist colonialism as a hybridized whiteness of economic class, gender, and education (among others). By putting the now global medium of Japanese manga and anime in conversation with the political context and history of colonization, this research project questions the connections between whiteness, colonization, and the cultural hybrid forms of manga and anime. What residual identities are left in the scrutinized box of the “Other”? As described by Iwabuchi, this project recognized the substantial ties anime and manga have to the national identity of Japan and the political ties to the Japanese government. It is through such political systems that this project seeks to read the braid of colonial and colonized Japan. Rather than focus on a general consideration of medium or genre this project will focus on a semiotic and narrative analysis of Appare-Ranman!