Anime and Manga

  • OTW Fannews: Troubling Issues

    Von Claudia Rebaza am Sonntag, 4 Januar 2015 - 5:42pm

    Banner by Alice of male and female figures under the post title Troubling Issues.

    • At Alternative Press, Cassie Whitt brought an adult's perspective to the issue of why female interests are denigrated. "[T]hat girl is told she’s 'everything that’s wrong with music these days' because self-perceived rock ’n’ roll crusaders need to defend music from the evil powers that, you know, actually put their energy, time and money into (gasp) actually keeping the music world alive. And demonizing fangirls is not an issue that solely harms female fans. A male friend recently confided to me, 'Man, I love My Chemical Romance, but I almost feel like I have to defend that as a 20-something man' because of the perception of their fanbase. Because we live in a society where we’ve taught men it’s not okay to like things that young girls do, where they have to explain or completely conceal their own passions. A fangirl’s devotion is the precise kind of fervor that can't be taught. It's the thing that puts them at the front row of shows now, and later in life, will put them anywhere else, doing anything they want to do."
    • At First Showing, Patrick Campbell examined the state of movie fandom. "[H]ow did we end up in this snarky, sad, and frustrating state of film fandom that we're in now? I believe there are a few explanations, to this problem, and it's ones we really need to look into ourselves to try and fix... I believe many have lost the wide-eyed wonderment that it takes to love movies. The cynical nature seems to be coming from a loss of an inner child for many... There seems to be an obsession with making things realistic in film, especially post Christopher Nolan's Batman series, but not all films need to play by that. Every movie has its own set of rules, and what may work in the film may not happen in real life, but that's the point. It's good to retain your childlike nature sometimes, and take films in that way."
    • The Fandom Post discussed arguments surrounding dubtitles. "[I]n the end, what sucks about dubtitles is that people keep using them as an excuse to not buy licensed releases because they want to play to this belief that everything is dubtitled, or that subs are so poorly done that everything is just rotten to the core. Having quite a few friends that translate both manga and anime and seeing and hearing the horror stories of accusations, and looking at the process of how it’s done, it’s beyond a flimsy excuse. That, my friends, is the bad in all of those."
    • Medical Daily discussed reports of a chemical attack on a hotel hosting a furry convention. "Nineteen people needed to be transported to nearby hospitals with symptoms consistent with chemical exposure such as nausea, dizziness, and other medical problems." Author Dana Dovey added, "When a group faces violent, prejudice motivated crime because of his or her perceived membership in a certain social group, this is considered to be a hate crime. Based on the initial review of this weekend’s FurFest incident, police are not ruling this out as a possibility. A criminal investigation has been opened."

    What troubling issues have you seen in fandom? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • Events Calendar for January

    Von Jennifer Rose Hale am Donnerstag, 1 Januar 2015 - 3:00pm

    Banner by caitie of curtains opening to show a stage with the words OTW Events Calendar

    Welcome to our Events Calendar roundup for the month of January! The Events Calendar can be found on the OTW website and is open to submissions by anyone with news of an event. These can be viewed by event-type, such as Academic Conferences, Fan Events and Fests, Legal Events, OTW Events, or Technology Events taking place around the world.

    • Author signups are now open for Marvel's X-Factor Big Bang, which will focus on the spinoff of the X-Men universe. Author signups continue until March 1, and artist signups open April 1.

    • IllogiCon, January 9-11 in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina, is a convention "run by, and for, people who are brought together by their desire to share an interest in Science Fiction, more commonly known as Fans." Guests of honor include Jacqueline Carey, New York Times-bestselling author whose works include the Kushiel’s Legacy series and the Agent of Hel contemporary fantasy series, and Christopher J Garcia, a winner of a 2011 Hugo for Best Fanzine.

    • Founded in 1974 as the “AA Relax-I-Con” by the University of Michigan Science Fiction Club, Back to the ConFusion has been held every year since. Guests of honor include author Karen Lord, researcher Dr. Cynthia Chestek, and "gaming gurus" Monte Cook and Shanna Germain. The con is January 16-18 in Detroit, Michigan.

    • AOD 2015, January 31-February 1 in San Francisco, California, celebrates anime, video games, cartoons, and "other fun and geeky stuff." Guests of honor for this year's event are Robbie Daymond (Tuxedo Mask in Sailor Moon), Little Kuriboh (creator of YuGiOh: The Abridged Series), and voice actor Marianne Miller (Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Sword Art Online).

    Calls for Papers this month come from:

    • The Velvet Light Trap, a scholarly, peer-reviewed journal of film, television, and new media, is a collaboration between graduate students of the University of Wisconsin at Madison and The University of Texas at Austin. Issue 77, “Performance and the Body,” seeks both to advance discussions of the centrality of the body to performance studies and to encourage greater scholarly attention to performative bodies across mediums. Papers are due January 15.

    • Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy is "an open-access online journal that explores multiple aspects of American and global popular culture and offers a scholarly examination of the broader culture in which we live, addressing relationships between literature, culture, music, technology, gender, ethnicity, and media." Papers are due January 16, and the journal will be published February 2016.

    • The Journal of Fandom Studies "offers scholars a dedicated publication that promotes current scholarship in the fields of fan and audience studies across a variety of media." Submit proposals by February 1 for the upcoming special Music and Fandom issue. Topics can include musical fan communities, popular music fandom, fans as musical producers/fan-musicians, and more.

    The OTW encourages anyone to submit an event that's not already listed, and to check out the calendar throughout the year!

  • OTW Fannews: Fandom and Publishing

    Von Janita Burgess am Mittwoch, 3 Dezember 2014 - 5:45pm

    OTW Fannews Fandom and Publishing

    • Transformative Works and Cultures editors Kristina Busse and Karen Hellekson were interviewed by fan studies scholar Henry Jenkins about the book they published earlier this year, The Fan Fiction Studies Reader (the book's royalties go to the OTW). Said Jenkins, "And that brings us to the second thing that the focus on 1991-92 as the birth of fan studies may get wrong. The Fan Fiction Studies Reader is focused in expanding this time line in important ways, calling attention to the kinds of writing on fan fiction that existed prior to Enterprising Women or Textual Poachers, work that often came out of the second wave of feminism and was also embedded in the fan community itself. Many of these essays have been out of print or scattered across obscure journals so there is an enormous contribution in bringing them together again, reframing them for contemporary readers, and reappraising their contributions to the early development of this field."
    • School Library Journal discussed the manga landscape and reasons for its resurgence in the U.S. They include "a selection of titles that includes some long-lived classics, a few series that started during the manga bust and have endured, and a handful of new series that launched in the past few months. After each title is the number of volumes published in Japan (to give a sense of the length of the total series) and a note as to whether it is complete or still ongoing."
    • The Kernel featured a long look at fangirl influence on book publishing. "These fans, most of them women, began by claiming ownership of their fanworks to an unprecedented degree. Then they spent the waning years of Twilight fandom forming small publishing presses and setting up shop as editors, designers, marketers, and writers to publish and sell the works of fanfiction they loved...And they did it all amid a tremendous amount of negative pushback from all sides—most of all from members of their own community."
    • At Reading Today Online, assistant professor Jayne C. Lammers wrote about studying a fanworks community. "In particular, I studied adolescent literacy in an online forum called The Sims Writers’ Hangout...[which] was an online space for fans of the videogame The Sims to gather and support each other’s writing of Sims fanfiction—multimodal, digital texts that pair images taken in the video game with narratives authors write...Over its five-year existence, The Hangout had more than 12,000 members, mostly adolescent females, from all over the world who posted over 660,000 messages on a variety of Sims-related and community-building topics to establish an online network of readers and writers."

    What are your favorite works about fandom and fanworks? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • Events Calendar for November

    Von Jennifer Rose Hale am Samstag, 1 November 2014 - 3:20pm

    Banner by caitie of curtains opening to show a stage with the words OTW Events Calendar

    Welcome to our Events Calendar roundup for November! The Events Calendar can be found on the OTW website and is open to submissions by anyone with news of an event. These can be viewed by event-type, such as Academic Conferences, Fan Events and Fests, Legal Events, OTW Events, or Technology Events taking place around the world.

    • The Lois & Clark Fanfic Archive is challenging fic authors to rewrite an episode set during U.S. Thanksgiving. The holiday-centric challenge is just one month of the archive's annual author inspirations. Submit your stories during the month. (Read about Lois & Clark on Fanlore!)

    • FANdom Con is an anime-focused convention that includes a regional qualifier event for the World Cosplay Summit. Con guests include Scott McNeil (Dragon Ball Z and Gundam), Chuck Huber (Soul Eater and Shin Chan), and Robert Axelrod (Power Rangers and Digimon). It is November 7-9 in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.

    • Shatterdome Con is a fan-run event celebrating Pacific Rim but welcoming other fandoms as well. Guests include Robert Maillet and Heather Doerksen (the Kaidanovskys from Pacific Rim) and Tim Russ (Star Trek: Voyager). It is November 7-9 in Herndon, Virginia.

    • The 2nd Global Conference on Fan Communities and Fandom: Practices and Participatory Cultures facilitates deeper engagements involving participants from across disciplinary and professional backgrounds in explorations of the nature, meaning, and implications of fandom as it impacts individuals, fan communities, and the societies in which they operate. It takes place November 7-10, in Prague, Czech Republic.

    • Supanova Adelaide and Brisbane are billed as "Comic-con, Australian style! Supernova is where the adoring public comes face to face with Supa-Star celebrities and the creative talent that inspire their imaginary worlds under one big roof. The event includes comic books, animation, science-fiction, TV/movies, toys, gaming, fantasy, technology, books, internet sites and fan-clubs, the result is an amazing atmosphere tailor made for expressing your inner geek and where getting into cosplay obvious thing to do!" The Adelaide event is November 21-23, and Brisbane is November 28-30. (Add your Supanova experiences to Fanlore!)

    • The Otherness and Transgression in Celebrity and Fan Cultures conference will look at the emerging fields of celebrity studies and fan studies in a new light, through the veil of otherness and transgression. This conference will bring together scholars to look at the cross-section of these fields, the intersection of their own interests, and hopefully the network of these scholars will form a bridge through which these fields can become more interlinked within scholarship. It's November 21-22 in Aarhus, Denmark.

    The OTW encourages anyone to submit an event that's not already listed, and to check out the calendar throughout the year!

  • OTW Fannews: Grabbing the Spotlight

    Von Janita Burgess am Mittwoch, 15 Oktober 2014 - 4:32pm

    OTW Fannews Grabbing the Spotlight Banner

    • A post by Denise Dorman at Bleeding Cool raised some hackles when she suggested that comics creators were losing money due to cosplay at cons. "Conventions are no longer shows about commerce, product launches, and celebrating the people who created this genre in the first place. I’ve seen it first-hand – the uber-famous artist who traveled all of the way from Japan, sitting at Comic-Con, drawing as no one even paid attention to him, while the cosplayers held up floor traffic and fans surround the cosplayers–rather than the famed industry household name – to pose for selfies. The hard-working artists and creators who are the very foundation of this industry…have been reduced to being the background wallpaper against which the cosplayers pose in their selfies. At what point do you start to wonder if...the general fandom population even gives a shit about the creators more than they care about their Instagram profiles?"
    • Certainly more creators are taking note of the power of fan gatherings to help market their work, such as at Wise Ink Blog. "At a recent book launch in DC, a couple twenty-somethings approached one of our authors and asked if they would be willing to do another event in the future. Talk about a writer’s dream! Not only did they show up to the launch, they wanted to come to another one! But these were not average book launch attendees. They were part of a DC Meetup group called Geeks’ Night Out. Why does that matter? Because they were a built-in audience for the book and we had no idea they existed. The fandom/meetup/Con trend is sweeping the nation and it’s high time that indie authors took advantage of it!"
    • Netflix has been doing various studies on user viewing patterns. Their latest one addressed spoilers and who spoils. "Today, talking about spoilers is just talking about TV; in fact, people aren’t willing or even interested in censoring themselves anymore. McCracken attributes this to better TV storytelling. Over the past few years, writers and showrunners threw out the rulebook, which has created a new and improved TV that is complex and morally challenging. TV has gotten so good that we need to talk about it. McCracken found that as TV evolves, so does the language and behavior of how people talk about their favorite shows. In his research, he identified five personality types -- based on how and why they might convey key plot points to their friends." These include The Clueless Spoiler, The Coded Spoiler, The Impulsive Spoiler, The Power Spoiler and The Shameless Spoiler.

    How are you seeing creators marketing to fans? Write about it in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • Events Calendar for August 2014

    Von Kiri Van Santen am Freitag, 1 August 2014 - 4:49pm

    Banner by caitie of curtains opening to show a stage with the words OTW Events Calendar

    Welcome to our Events Calendar roundup for the month of August! The Events Calendar can be found on the OTW website and is open to submissions by anyone with news of an event. These can be viewed by event-type, such as Academic Events, Fan Gatherings, Legal Events, OTW Events, or Technology Events taking place around the world.

    • Nine Worlds Geekfest 2014 is a "large fan-run multi-genre geek event in London August 8-10. Nine Worlds aims to promote fan-led events, and have conversations with creators (writers, directors) in a safe, diverse environment." All proceeds from the Nine Worlds convention will go to their charity partner English PEN, a charity that supports persecuted writers around the world and is the UK's oldest human rights organization.
    • SMASH! Sydney Manga and Anime Show is a Japanese pop culture convention August 9-10 that is devoted to artists, creators and fans alike. The primary focus is to allow fans to meet and interact with other like-minded people, show off their own creative talents, buy anime and manga related goods, and celebrate their fandom in a social environment. SMASH! encourages all forms of anime fandom through a variety of activities such as cosplay, panels, games, and other special popular culture events.
    • Creatures of the Night is a one day convention August 10 in Sydney, Australia. Teen Wolf fans can participated in Guest Talks, Photo and Autograph sessions, VIP option and lots of fun! Live guests include Holland Roden, Ian Bohen, and Sinqua Walls

      More about Teen Wolf on Fanlore

    • LonCon 2014 will be the 72nd meeting of the World Science Fiction Convention in London August 14-18. It will be the 75th anniversary of the very first Worldcon held in New York in 1939 - something they will be celebrating within their programme and events.

      Loncon 3 will be a celebration of science fiction in all its forms with over 7,000 fans expected, along with hundreds of writers, editors, artists, and other professionals from across the genre.

      Transformative Works and Cultures editor, Karen Hellekson, will be delivering one of the Academic keynote presentations, and will discuss a range of Doctor Who fan videos, including those that recreate missing episodes and reframe post-2005 episodes.

      More about Worldcon on Fanlore

    • Wizard World Comic Con will hit Chicago August 21-24! Chicago Comic Con is a comic and pop culture convention featuring panels involving celebrities, entertainers, and creators from a diverse range of entertainment. Special events, autograph signings, an exhibition hall, and meet and greets. Featured guests include, cast of the Walking Dead, Doctor Who, Marvel Films, and more.

    Calls for Papers this month come from:

    • Fandom: Practices and Participatory Cultures. Fandoms represent participatory communities that are so thoroughly inscribed within our social fabric, and integral to the way many individuals understand their identity, that it warrants holistic study in an interdisciplinary context.

      The 2nd Global Conference on Fandom: Practices and Participatory Cultures facilitates deeper engagements involving participants from across disciplinary and professional backgrounds in explorations of the nature, meaning and implications of fandom as it impacts individuals, fan communities and the societies in which they operate. The Steering Group welcome the submission of proposals for presentations, workshops, preconstituted panels, performances and installations that explore themes such as Intersections between Fandom and Tourism, Fan Practices and Culture, "Understanding the fan" and more. Deadline for 300 word abstract is 15 August 2014.

    • Harry Potter on the Page and on the Screen: Adaptation/Reception/Transformation is an essay collection that proposes to explore the cultural, political, aesthetic, and pedagogical implications of the adaptation of this generation-defining young adult narrative in order to expand our scholarly understanding of this far-reaching international literary and cinematic event, consider what we can learn about the process of cinematic adaptation of literary sources, and facilitate the classroom exploration of the Harry Potter series. Some questions that might be considered:

      · How does the overlapping adaptation history of the Harry Potter series affect theoretical questions of fidelity, interpretation, and transformation in film adaptation studies?

      · In what ways do the novel and movie series represent the same or different narrative universes?

      · How was the dual development of the novel and film series affected by the concurrent development of Web 2.0 and interactive fan culture?

      Interested contributors may email inquiries or one page abstracts by 15 August 2014.

      More about Harry Potter on Fanlore

    • CFP: Otherness and Transgression in Celebrity and Fan Cultures Cultural Transformations Research Group at Aarhus University, located in Aarhus, Denmark, is pleased to announce that qualified research papers are considered for prospective publication in a special issue of the peer-reviewed journal Otherness: Essays and Studies. The notions of otherness and transgression play an essential part in the cultural work and practices celebrities and fandoms perform inasmuch as these concepts are inseparable from the celebrity and fan cultural processes of social in/exclusion, identification and dissociation, uniformity and diversification, and forces both drawing and disrupting demarcations between normalcy and deviance.

      Welcome Topics Include: The Intersection of Celebrity and Fan Studies, Sex, Gender, Sexual Differing, and Queering the Fan / Celebrity Body, Cross-Over Celebrities; Ethnicity, Hybridity, and Fandom in Transcultural Contexts, Social Media and the Construction of Celebrity as Other

      Submit abstracts of no more than 300 words by Friday, August 22, 2014

    Help out a researcher!

    This month we have received two requests for fans to take part in research.

    The first request is from Lucy Baker. She is researching genderswap fanworks (commercial and non-commercial) as part of her thesis and is asking for fans to take a survey about fans' perception and enjoyment of genderswap fanworks. She is also looking for participants to interview as well.

    Her research has been approved by the Griffith University Human Research Ethics Committee and if anyone has any queries they can email her at lucy.baker [at] or contact her associate supervisor Margaret Gibson at margaret.gibson [at] or supervisor David Ellison at david.ellison [at]

    Lucy is also available by Skype at ID mslucybaker, by telephone +61 422 415 238, or by mail at:

    School of Humanities,
    Nathan campus,
    Griffith University,
    170 Kessels Road QLD 4111, Australia.

    The research results will be shared with participants and online as part of her completed thesis.

    Our second request is from Katie Morrissey. She is a PhD candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and is researching fan fiction for her dissertation. She's been researching fan cultures for some time and wants to publicly share some of her research with fans/fan communities and get your comments!

    The Fandom Then/Now website has been launched to share this work. In turn, the project seeks comments and observations from fans on the project and some its ongoing research questions. These comments will be used for research purposes and may be incorporated into the project. Keep in mind that your public comments on this project and the pseudonym you use with them could potentially be used as part of presentations and publications connected to this research, so if this is a concern you can protect your identity to keep your fan pseudonyms out of any publications/presentations.

    Katie's project has been reviewed and granted Exempt Status by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's (USA) Institutional Review Board. The project identification number is IRB#: 14.399. The UWM IRB may be reached by emailing or calling (414) 229-3173.

    If you have questions about the research, her dissertation advisor is Dr. Tasha Oren. She can be reached at tgoren [at] or through the English Department's phone number at 414-229-4511. Katie can also be reached at fandomthennow [at] or morriss9 [at]

    If you have requests for research participation, please view our policy for inclusion at our website.

    The OTW encourages anyone to submit an event that's not already listed, and to check out the calendar throughout the year!

  • OTW Fannews: Fandom Misunderstandings

    Von Kiri Van Santen am Sonntag, 20 Juli 2014 - 5:28pm

    Banner by Lisa of a street sign that has been knocked down and is pointing arbitrarily.

    • Attack of the Fanboy put a spotlight on gender segregation in gaming tournaments. "Keeping a few tournaments specifically aimed at females is not an ideal situation, but it does allow a woefully underrepresented part of the population a chance to compete on a professional level. To use the IeSF’s own justification for the initial segregation, many major sports use this method as well. Technically women are allowed in the NBA, but due to various reasons none have been placed on a team. That is why the WNBA exists, to allow a group who would be left out, a chance to compete professionally."
    • While some companies recognize their sport is 'for girls', at The Globe and Mail, Amberly McAteer discussed how many just don't get it. "It’s not just professional baseball that thinks women need extra motivation to support the home team. An official women’s T-shirt from the Pittsburgh Penguins went viral on Twitter because it declared that the wearer 'wants the stick' and loves to 'puck.' Because, of course, women are sex objects. Thanks for your sexist contribution, hockey. The Jays Shop, too, carries mildly insulting women’s gear: sequined tanks, 'meet you in the dugout' deep-vees. The only jerseys available in women’s sizes are indeed the players widely believed to be 'cute,' while the men’s section offers exponentially more."
    • A theater company in Charleston, South Carolina created a play about "the dark side of Twilight fandom". "'Kate & Sam Are Not Breaking Up' is a darkly humorous send-up of Twihard culture and celebrity obsession, with a side of gunplay and a dash of Stephen King's Misery thrown in...The lights come up on Kate and Sam waking from unconsciousness, bound and helpless in the apartment of a crazed superfan named Bill (Andre Hinds). It quickly becomes clear that Bill wants tween America's favorite couple to get back together, and he won't let them go until they do. But the situation really goes to hell when 15-year-old Becky...moderator of the fansite, shows up and starts laying down the law."
    • A CNN report on manga brought about a heated reaction from fans as well as The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. "As Japan prepares to implement a new law which bans the possession of child pornography but exempts manga and anime, CNN released an over-the-top sensationalist video report this week that demonstrates a profound lack of knowledge about the formats. Much of the report by Tokyo correspondent Will Ripley is devoted to undercover footage of an Akihabara manga shop, which Ripley calls 'a place that caters to young people.' (In fact manga is read by people of all ages.) Over mostly-blurred footage, Ripley describes “magazines and videos so graphic, so sexually explicit, we turned our undercover cameras off.' least one of those blurred-out covers that was too much for CNN’s delicate cameras actually wasn’t pornographic at all.”

    What troubling fandom issues have you come across? Write about them on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Legal Confusion

    Von Kiri Van Santen am Freitag, 18 Juli 2014 - 5:17pm

    • The Washington Post was one of many media outlets covering the U.S. Trademark Office's decision to cancel the Redskins trademark registration. "The 99-page decision by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board said the team’s name and logo are disparaging. It dilutes the Redskins’ legal protection against infringement and hinders the team’s ability to block counterfeit merchandise from entering the country. But its effect is largely symbolic. The ruling cannot stop the team from selling T-shirts, beer glasses and license-plate holders with the moniker or keep the team from trying to defend itself against others who try to profit from the logo."
    • The Wisconsin State Law Library pointed to a book about trademarks and fan-created content in the wake of the Klinger v. Conan Doyle Estate decision. The book in question is about trademarks and fan-created content from the perspective of trademark owners which doesn’t really acknowledge fans’ rights to make fair uses— but instead is about “tolerating” use. It’s an older work, and an example of the way that trademark owners used to assume that they were always the ones who got to decide how their works would be received.
    • io9 put a spotlight on a study about filk. "Women in the filk community are more likely than men to create original melodies to accompany their lyrics, while women are only somewhat more likely to borrow from others' lyrics than are men. Because filk is often viewed as an imitative culture, the tendency of women to depart from that ethos in creating their own melodies seems significant...female respondents were much more likely to define fair use as not profiting from others' work, and somewhat more likely to define it as giving credit to the original author and making private as opposed to public use of a protected work."
    • The YALSA blog posted about Fandom and Fair Use but made some problematic claims. For example, it does not actually discuss what fair use is and provides questionable examples. Crunchyroll claims to be fully licensed and even Disney has now embraced user-generated content. Instead what the YALSA post demonstrates is an example of copyright confusion: people think that some things aren’t “allowed” when in fact either fair use law or licensing is on their side.

    What confusing legal fandom issues have you come across? Write about them on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Investigating Fandom

    Von Janita Burgess am Mittwoch, 16 Juli 2014 - 4:48pm

    Describe the image in this space for the visually impaired

    • At Research Hazel Robinson discussed how fandom works. "Everyone behaves slightly differently online. So in the same way that a blogger might be more confessional on the internet than they would be in their office, fans will be sillier, more obscene in the privacy of a secluded online spot. The specific behaviours of fans will vary a lot from medium to medium though. Some fans might be quite coy on Twitter, as that’s often used for more cross-fandom/experience discussion and feels more public, whereas they’d be very open and in-depth about their fandom on a specific message-board or community."
    • The New Republic posted about fandom ethics in relation to the World Cup. "Objecting citizens may be overlooking the fact that students all over the world are learning about Brazilian arts, letters, and philosophy due to the attention brought upon the country by the World Cup. For example, this past semester, a student in my course on Latin American thought at Brooklyn College argued that the World Cup in fact represented a serious threat to democracy, given the authoritarian policies installed to organize and realize the Cup. He cited Leonardo Boff, a Brazilian theologian and philosopher, as a source for his concept of a just, participatory democracy...trying to track down all the consequences of buying a ticket from FIFA, coming to Brazil, and participating in the business surrounding the World Cup is impossible and does not get to the heart of the matter."
    • GMA News Online posted about KPop fans and stans. "'Fandom is a fuel of trade,' said Catherine Deen, one of three scholars who spoke about the hallyu phenomenon in the forum 'The Hallyu Mosaic in the Philippines: Framing Perception and Praxis' at the Ateneo Initiative for Korean Studies Conference...last week. In their studies, Deen and fellow speakers Patrick Capili and Gilbert Que surveyed hundreds of fans and major KPop fanclubs in the Philippines, categorizing the fans based on their activities and level of affinity with their idols."
    • The Ogiue Maniax blog discussed American anime fandom. "Historically, anime has not needed its American fanbase. Sure, there have been a lot of viewers, but anime’s domestic market is Japan, and it also finds success around the world, in Europe, South America, and Asia. The US certainly has an online presence when it comes to anime discussion and enthusiasm, but over the years it’s been easy to get the impression that this fandom is a paper tiger, especially when it comes to popular shows among the internet fandom not translating to home video sales...Now, however, not only are American viewers tuning in to catch Toonami and its latest anime, but the shows people are most interested in are also the ones that have developed large fanbases online as well."

    What parts of fandom history do you remember? Write about it on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • The censorship problems faced by anime and manga fans

    Von Claudia Rebaza am Freitag, 11 Juli 2014 - 4:09pm

    Banner by Erin of a spotlight on an OTW logo with the words 'Spotlight on Legal Issues'

    The following post was written by Fanhackers chair Nele Noppe.

    For fans of manga, anime, and other Japanese media, pointing and laughing at inaccurate mass media portrayals of Japanese pop culture has been something of a sport for decades. A few weeks ago, however, things took a slightly more serious turn.

    The ball got rolling when early in June, the Japanese House of Representatives approved a long-overdue law banning the possession of child pornography. Up to now, creating and distributing child pornography was as forbidden in Japan as anywhere else, but “simple possession” had not yet been criminalized. The new law applies only to “real” child pornography and leaves alone completely fictional depictions of underage characters in sexual situations in manga, anime and other media. This exception came about after vocal protests from manga publishers, creators, fans and free speech rights activists. The story was widely reported in non-Japanese media. However, most of these reports focused on handwringing about Japan's “failure” to clamp down on sexually explicit manga. Most shared was a CNN article filled with outrage about how the new law supposedly permits Japanese bookstores to fill their shelves with shocking cartoon porn about children.

    As the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) pointed out in a scathing reaction post, CNN’s report was highly misleading and uninformed, misrepresenting manga in general as pornographic and painting the “freedom of speech" arguments against the new law as no more than the lobbying of a large industry bent on making profit from icky virtual child pornography. The comments section of the CNN article quickly filled with anime and manga fans fact-checking the text and refuting its arguments.

    Their support, and that of the CBLDF, was of some small comfort to Japanese creators and activists who were aghast at their portrayal in Western media. Simple complaining about "Japanese cartoon porn" is, by now, no more than sadly familiar. Sensation-hungry Western news outlets have been creating miniature moral panics out of that ever since they realized that in Japan, comics and animation are media that are used to express not just "kiddy stuff" but every kind of content, including pornography.

    This uproar went further in the sense that it represented manga creators and free speech activists as money-grubbing child pornographers. CNN and other news sources seemed unaware that in Japan, unlike in the United States, laws that restrict depictions of sexuality in media actually are a very serious freedom of speech issue, and have been so since immediately after WWII. Japanese creators and publishers of sexually explicit material who yell about free speech rights are not just demanding the right to do whatever they like; they are continuing half a century of protests against arbitrary and outdated censorship laws.

    A look at Japanese legal history

    Japanese authorities have used and continue to use laws against “obscenity” to attempt to control what gets published in the country. Before and during WWII, such laws were among several used to suppress any speech that did not support Japanese militarism. After the war, freedom of speech was guaranteed in Japan’s new constitution, but still restricted by only one remaining bit of pre-war legislation: Article 175 of the Criminal Code of Japan, which prohibits the sale or distribution of materials that contain “obscenity” (waisetsu).

    Other countries at the time also attempted to legally curtail “obscene” media, of course, but Japan’s anti-obscenity law turned out to have bigger teeth than many others. For instance, in the 1950s and 1960s, the US, Britain, and Japan all held separate trials about obscenity contained in the D.H. Lawrence novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover. In the US and Britain, the trials ended in acquittals, greatly reducing the subsequent relevancy of obscenity laws for media in those countries. In Japan, however, Lady Chatterly was judged obscene. The victory of the prosecution in this first postwar Japanese “obscenity” trial was an important precedent, because it confirmed that obscenity laws were a stick that authorities could beat publishers and authors with whenever they were displeased with the direction Japan’s creative sector was going in. Lady Chatterley was the first in a series of protracted and much-publicized “obscenity” trials that covered many different media, from books to film to photographs to manga. (See Cather for in-depth analysis of censorship in Japan.)

    Far from being discouraged, the Japanese media industry made dodging of the censors into an art form. Manga creators, for instance, got very creative in figuring out ways to depict naked bodies and sex without showing pubic hair (long a no-no) or genitalia. Article 175 and related laws and local ordinances were applied so rarely and so inconsistently that the creators and publishers who did end up getting charged were usually very surprised to be singled out. Still, many of the obscenity trials turned into platforms for broad swathes of Japan’s literary world and media industry to try and wrestle back their right to publish freely from the state. Many feel that bureaucrats and police have no business deciding what people are allowed to read in order to protect a vague and constantly-shifting idea of "public morality".

    No matter how rarely used, laws against obscenity, and (especially since the 1990s) a mushrooming multitude of local ordinances against “harmful” media, do influence what can get published, what can be on library shelves, and what people can write and draw. The chilling effect of even potential legal troubles was - and still is - considerable for authors and publishers. Only weeks ago, a new manga by an assistant mangaka working on the popular series Attack on Titan was cancelled because its publisher feared that it might run afoul of a local ordinance in Tokyo aimed at curtailing the spread of “unhealthy publications”.

    The fandom effect

    Censors’ attention turned to manga and fan culture after 1989, when a serial killer turned out to possess large amounts of sexually explicit anime and be a participant in Comiket, Japan’s largest convention for fan manga (doujinshi). This led Japanese media to engage in what fans called "otaku bashing".

    Although stigmatization of fans as socially maladjusted and possibly dangerous loners has lessened much since then, its effects are still felt. The most recent high-profile “obscenity” trial, a five-year legal battle that ended in 2007 with a guilty verdict from the Supreme Court of Japan, was about a manga (more on that trial). Commentators and scholars argue that manga has become a target for censorship, at least in part, because anime, manga, and Japanese fan culture in general have been gaining much attention and acclaim overseas. The Japanese government has been trying to turn that attention into money with various “Cool Japan” campaigns aimed at promoting Japanese media products and tourism to Japan.

    Polemics in foreign media about the less photogenic parts of Japanese pop culture, like adult manga, are then unwelcome indeed. Some warn that with the Tokyo Olympics coming up in 2020, local and national authorities in Japan may get even more sensitive to foreign handwringing about “Japanese cartoon porn”. However valid that fear may or may not be, last month’s new flap about manga and anime highlights how uninformed many media outlets still are about Japan, and how little any articles about non-English fandoms in the mass media can be trusted. Shallow and alarmist reporting by major and (somewhat) respected news sources like the BBC and CNN reinforces orientalist stereotypes about Japan and its people being somehow lacking in sexual morals. Clearly, it also does great harm to the cause of activists who are fighting to keep bureaucrats and police from gaining tools to control what can be published by the Japanese media, professional and amateur.

    Last month’s incident also highlights the growing importance of free speech rights to fan communities. Laws against “obscenity” or so-called “virtual child pornography” are still low on the radar of many English-speaking fans, especially compared to copyright woes. However, the example of Japan shows that these laws can and do have a very direct impact on what fans can make and distribute.

    Past and recent cases

    In Japan, the extremely popular fan-made manga called doujinshi have to follow the law just as much as commercially published manga. Fans are free to draw what they like in private, but if they want to distribute their fanworks in any way, they have to apply censor bars or mosaics to anything that might possibly catch the attention of censors. Just like with professional manga, the law is applied only rarely and inconsistently, but anti-obscenity laws have still led to legal troubles for individual fans and disruptions of fan activities and fannish infrastructure.

    For instance, in the midst of a “harmful books” polemic that followed the arrest of the “otaku” serial killer in 1989, “police confiscated thousands of doujinshi from merchants in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward and arrested several shop owners” (Japan Times). In 1991, doujinshi convention Comiket was forced to move out of its convention site Makuhari Messe because police had received complaints about the fanworks being distributed there (Comiket welcomed over two hundred thousand visitors around that time and hosted 11,000 fanwork creators). Doujinshi conventions began to enforce anti-obscenity measures and check every fanwork on sale to make sure it followed guidelines about obscuring genitals and warning buyers of sexual content on the covers. Still, in 1994 and on several other occasions, further conventions had to be cancelled or moved because of complaints about possible "harmful material" being distributed.

    “Obscenity” issues were shown to be connected with copyright problems in 1999 when a a female creator of sexually explicit doujinshi for the popular children's game and anime series Pokemon was arrested for copyright infringement, apparently after someone complained about the explicit material to copyright holder Nintendo. In 2007, a doujinshi creator was arrested and eventually fined because his self-censorship of his works was not sufficient. This lead doujinshi conventions (and online doujinshi shop DLsite) to tighten enforcement of censorship regulations, and the Japan Doujinshi Printing Group to issue self-censorship guidelines for all fans who wanted to have their doujinshi printed by its member printing companies. Later in 2007, a building which had been used by several doujinshi conventions was closed to conventions that feature sexually explicit doujinshi. In 2009, the manager of a doujinshi shop shop was arrested on suspicion of distributing obscene material (NSFW link). Today, various links in the creation and distribution chain of doujinshi - doujinshi printers, conventions, and doujin shops - continue to impress upon fans the importance of “self-regulation" (jishu kisei, in practice “self-censorship") when distributing fanworks.

    Unsurprisingly, censorship issues are at least as important as copyright issues for Japanese fans. Around 2010, for instance, Japanese fan communities were actively involved in a battle to defeat a local ordinance in Tokyo that attempted to forbid the distribution of material containing sexual depictions of ill-defined “nonexistent youths” (more in this TWC article).

    Worldwide effects

    Japanese laws are not the only ones causing problems for fans. Outside Japan, several fans have gotten in serious trouble because the manga they love were considered “child pornography” by authorities. The CBLDF has been particularly active in chronicling these cases and sometimes providing legal support to fans. In 2010, for instance, a U.S. manga fan was sentenced to jail because manga in his collection contained “drawings of children being sexually abused". Also in 2010, another U.S. manga fan was arrested at the Canadian border for similar reasons, at least the second time this sort of arrest happened in Canada. Several more fans have reported online that they were questioned at the Canadian border because they were carrying manga. In 2012, there was a small victory as Swedish manga translator Simon Lundström was cleared of child pornography charges brought on by several manga on his computer.

    This string of worldwide incidents surrounding manga, and the uproar in Western media about Japan’s “refusal” to criminalize “virtual child pornography”, shines a light on how little attention most countries outside Japan have paid to the question of whether it makes sense to extend anti-child pornography laws to depictions of entirely fictional children. Some countries, like Australia and Canada, do extend their definitions of “child pornography” to media that contain absolutely no real children, only fictional characters. In the US, this cannot be prosecuted as child pornography, but it can be prosecuted under general obscenity laws if it meets the standard for obscenity (as judged by community standards, patently offensive sexually explicit depictions that lack literary, artistic, political, or scientific value).

    However, these laws mostly passed with very little public consultation or debate (see McLelland). There was often no serious inquiry into the question of whether “virtual child pornography” is actually harmful to anyone, and why it should be banned while fictional depictions of other crimes are fine and dandy. Objections about a lack of scientific evidence to link “virtual child pornography” to real harm, and objections about potential censorship, are easily brushed aside in the midst of moral panics about “protecting children”. According to Kotaro Ogino of the Japanese free speech organization Uguisu Ribbon Campaign, this problem is occurring in Japan as well, leading to the constant battles about potential criminalization of “virtual child pornography” that are taking place there today (personal communication).

    Also problematic is that, unlike in Japan, many citizens of these countries are not aware it may be illegal for them to make fictional depictions of sexual situations involving minors. Many fandoms such as Harry Potter or Attack on Titan have thriving shipping communities around underage characters. In theory, that puts some fan creators in the crosshairs of anti-child pornography laws. The fact that laws against “virtual child pornography” are rarely or inconsistently enforced does not mean they are harmless. The outcome of the constant fight that Japanese fans, mangaka, and publishers are waging against censorship laws may turn out to be very relevant for non-Japanese fans as well.

    For more information

    More news and information about censorship problems that impact Japanese and non-Japanese fans of anime and manga can be found on the CBLDF website, the blog of translator Dan Kanemitsu, Anime News Network, and in the articles tagged with “censorship” in the OTW’s fan studies bibliography.


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