Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture Has Invaded the U.S.

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

Roland Kelts

St. Martin's Press



Contemporary Japanese pop culture such as anime and manga (Japanese animation and comic books) is Asia's equivalent of the Harry Potter phenomenon--an overseas export that has taken America by storm. While Hollywood struggles to fill seats, Japanese anime releases are increasingly outpacing American movies in number and, more importantly, in the devotion they inspire in their fans. But just as Harry Potter is both "universal" and very English, anime is also deeply Japanese, making its popularity in the United States totally unexpected. Japanamerica is the first book that directly addresses the American experience with the Japanese pop phenomenon, covering everything from Hayao Miyazaki's epics, the burgeoning world of hentai, or violent pornographic anime, and Puffy Amiyumi, whose exploits are broadcast daily on the Cartoon Network, to literary novelist Haruki Murakami, and more. With insights from the artists, critics, readers and fans from both nations, this book is as literate as it is hip, highlighting the shared conflicts as American and Japanese pop cultures dramatically collide in the here and now.


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

Japanamerica is the book I have been waiting for. It tells the incredible story of the way the colorful and eccentric world of Japanese entertainment and popular art has enriched our lives in the West. But it also deals with why it has a poetry that has taken Americans many years to understand and feel able to echo. Japan's holocaust was equally traumatic to the ones experienced by many Americans, and perhaps more sudden, more extreme and more focused. This story shows how today we all use movies, comics, music, art and advertising to face our past and its traumas, rather than to escape. The Japanese methods of facing the past are restrained and unusual, but ultimately glorious, and mean more to us in our post-9/11 era than ever they could before. Roland Kelts, part American, part Japanese, brings real insight to the way this union of hearts and souls through entertainment will continue to grow and draw two very different worlds together.” —Pete Townshend, The Who

“Roland Kelts sees deeply and writes elegantly; he gives us a unique and powerful vision of Japanese and Western culture.” —Daniel Bergner, author of In the Land of Magic Soldiers and God of the Rodeo

“Roland Kelts is a keen observer of both American and Japanese pop culture, placing him in a unique position to discuss the rise of anime in America and the West.” —Daniel Bergner, author of In the Land of Magic Soldiers and God of the Rodeo

“The brain of Roland Kelts is not only a brilliant interpreter of places where Japanese and American culture meet, it is also one such important place.” —Matthew Sharpe, author of the NBC book club selection, The Sleeping Father, and Nothing is Terrible, Stories from the Tube, and the forthcoming Jamestown: A Novel

“As the step-mother of an anime-crazed teen, I read Japanamerica curious to understand the obsession. What I didn't expect was that Roland Kelts's intelligent and precise observations would shed so much light on my own cultural experience.” —Adrienne Brodeur, author of Man Camp, Founding Editor of Zoetrope: All-Story

Japanamerica provides insight into the collision of Eastern and Western pop culture, and the aftermath that is this cutting edge phenomenom known as Anime.” —Joe Hahn, Linkin Park

“Embrace the world of otaku in Roland Kelts' comprehensive study of how Japanese pop culture enchanted the West, from Speed Racer and Pokémon to cosplay and hentai manga.” —Wired magazine

“Like a Wired magazine article on steroids, Japanamerica segues between street-cred observation and bullish corporate discourse. Kelts's analysis is more nuanced than that of a typical otaku ... [and] Japanamerica is a broad primer; if you're seeking investment opportunities, it's practically a prospectus.” —The Village Voice

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Roland Kelts

Roland Kelts is a Lecturer at the University of Tokyo and a co-editor of the New York-based literary journal, A Public Space. His articles, essays, and stories have been published in Zoetrope, Playboy, Salon, The Village Voice, Newsday, Cosmopolitan, Vogue and The Japan Times, among others. He has lectured at New York University, Rutgers University and Barnard College, and he is a graduate of Oberlin College and Columbia University. He currently splits his time between New York and Tokyo.

Roland Kelts

From the Publisher

St. Martin's Press

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