Here's another book relating to Japanese pop culture, more specifically about Japanese schoolgirls! This book shows you why they are so popular in anime, manga and in Japan. This is a handbook size 208-page paperback.
The authors are Brian Ashcraft, editor of Kotaku, and Shoko Ueda. It reads more like a guide actually, with interesting bits of information here and there.
The book's an interesting read into the rise of the Japanese schoolgirls. It starts starts by looking at where the sailor uniform came from, then onto the revolution that made them famous - music, then they appeared in movies, books, art, video games, animation and manga. These are all separate chapters in the book and there are lots of accompanying examples and references to older Japanese books or films.
The book also looks at the different types of girls, how they have evolved, the public perception of them, and how they affected or created trends. It's quite fascinating to read that they are an industry force so strong that they increased the popularity of mobile phones and the virtual pet game Tamagotchi. You'll also read about where their loose hanging socks come from, or why so many music performing artists are dressed in schoolgirl uniforms, or are schoolgirls themselves.
The downside of the book is it's written from the point of an observer, for feels like it is. There are reviews on Amazon commenting about the accuracy of the text, and at times I do feel that something is amiss, but I'm not a Japanese schoolgirl scholar to know what's wrong. What's missing is the input from Japanese schoolgirls themselves, and what they think and feel about themselves. The few input they have in the book consist photos of them with speech balloons attached talking about superficial things like shopping, or the magazines or movies they like. The star of the book wasn't given any voice, nor those who have been schoolgirls before. Weird.
This review copy is provided by Tuttle Publishing, a publisher and seller of books rooted in Asian culture, language, and history.
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