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Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential: How Teenage Girls Made a Nation Cool Paperback – August 1, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Kodansha USA; 1 edition (August 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 4770031157
  • ISBN-13: 978-4770031150
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 5.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #541,383 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"If you're into Japanese culture and want to know more about the Harajuku origins or why schoolgirls are on the advertisements for nearly everything, then pick this up. You'll learn about things you never thought to ask!" —Jessica Barton, nerdist.com

"Every page in this book has something impressive, even to us Japanese who should be familiar with Jyosi-Kosei…The book is literally "Eye-Opening" for any reader both in and out of Japan." —Gigazine

"For those of you who have always regretted not taking that course "Japanese Schoolgirl" at school—be disappointed no more as all you have to do is pick up this book and study at home instead. Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential: How Teenage Girls Made a Nation Cool is the Japanese Schoolgirl bible that will arm you with the knowledge to pass the JSPT (Japanese Schoolgirl Proficiency Test)." — Danny Choo, Culture Japan Director & Web Monkey

"Honestly, if you've got any interest in Japanese pop culture, this book is a must-have primer on one of the most influential items in Japan. I didn't think that was the case before reading this, but at this point, I have to admit, Ashcraft and Ueda have convinced me that it really is the case in Japan." — Japanator

"Brian Ashcraft and his wife, Shoko Ueda, give the most comprehensive look at the girls that have shaped Japan. Whether you have interests in Japan's history, a love for videogames, or are an anime otaku, this book will definitely keep your eyes glued to the pages." — Sit Sam! Game Resource blog

"Japanese Schoolgirls Confidential is highly valuable as a written discourse on one of Japan's most valuable exports. Authors Brian Ashcraft and Shoko Ueda do a fantastic job at deconstructing the Japanese schoolgirl and in the process elevating the discourse on the subject. There really hasn't been an entire book dedicated to such a topic released within the West before this, so it's certainly a welcomed addition. Those wanting to learn more about the Japanese schoolgirl and why she's so cool should look no further. Perhaps this is what's needed because while the cultural barriers still remain, we can still learn from one another, and with some of the most simplistic of concepts—in this case the sailor uniform—we can bridge the divide between entire nations. Now that is cool." — iSugio

"Overall, the topics of discussion and the specific examples used seem to have been very carefully chosen, and all of the facts and information flow together nicely. The prose is intelligent, witty, and easy to read… Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential is not only lots and lots of fun but also manages to transcend the schoolgirl icon by coalescing into a rich and informative cultural history. If I were teaching a class about contemporary Japan, you can bet that this book would be required reading." — Contemporary Japanese Literature blog --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author


BRIAN ASHCRAFT is the author of Arcade Mania! published by Kodansha International, and is Contributing Editor to Wired magazine, where he regularly writes the "Japanese Schoolgirl Watch" column. He also contributes to Kotaku, one of the world's most widely-read blogs, and has written for such publications as Metropolis, Popular Science, Ready Made and Otaku USA.

SHOKO UEDA has been the research assistant for the "Japanese Schoolgirl Watch" column, and draws on her own experiences as a former Japanese schoolgirl. This is her first book.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 63 people found the following review helpful By CheapyD on September 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
Length: 2:58 Mins
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30 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Bryan M on July 7, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After plowing through Brian Ashcraft's last book covering Japan's still thriving arcade scene, I was craving more work from the Kotaku editor. I was surprised at first that his next published work would be covering Japanese schoolgirls, but somehow knew it would be another compelling read. I quickly hit "pre-order" on Amazon.com and waited patiently for the fateful day I would find it laying on my doorstep.

Brian's newest book titled "Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential: How teenage girls made a nation cool" is an eight chapter non-stop page turner that takes you through the many types of Japanese schoolgirls and describes how the style has been an influence on Japan since the late 1800's.

Jumping between the schoolgirl's types, you will read about their roles as idols, rock musicians, actresses and influence on anime and videogames. They are super heroes of Japan, students by day and role models by night. There is no doubt that their influence even stretches outside of Japan, seeing how Quentin Tarantino casted Chiaki Kuriyama in Kill Bill. A certain level of sexiness mixed with power seems to be what causes everyone around the world to look. Companies will run their entire business solely focused on marketing to the Japanese schoolgirls. It's something that will never go away, yet will always be ever-changing.

Brian Ashcraft and his wife, Shoko Ueda, give the most comprehensive look at the girls that have shaped Japan. Whether you have interests in Japan's history, a love for videogames, or are an anime otaku, this book will definitely keep your eyes glued to the pages.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Chelsea Buckner on August 24, 2010
Format: Paperback
As an anime fan and as a person interested in Japanese culture I was excited when I stumbled across Ashcraft's book at my local Borders. At first glance I thought it would be a regular novel but was both intriqued and shocked to find the book litered with photographs and pictures. The book even has a soft cover sleve which is usually exclusive to paperback books from Japan. I immediately picked it up.

The novel covers eight chapters. The first is dedicated to the origin of the schoolgirl's sailor suit with tidbits on the sailor suit's effect on Japanese culture woven in. You'll learn old customs like taking a boy's second button from the top to current fads like gluing loose socks to yourself.

The second chapter covers idol worship and music. Thanks to this chapter I've discovered new Japanese music that I would have otherwise never heard of. You'll learn about different super groups and music featuring information on AKB48, Momoe Yamaguchi, Masako Mori, Junko Sakurada, Tsukasa Ito, Seiko Matsuda, Scandal, Jurian Beat Crisis, Onyanko Club, and Morning Musume.

The third chapter covers movies. You'll learn about the influence of the school girl on both western cinema (Kill Bill and Babel) as well as eastern cinema (Kite, Battle Royale). In particular the section goes into depth on the school girl movies of the seventies and their use of school girls as catalysts into fantasy both sexual and horrorific.

The fourth chapter covers shopping and how school girls form the bulk of Japanese buying power. You'll learn how items like the pager and the cell phone were popularized by the school girl and how the school girl's lack of interest can swiftly execute a fad (such as the Tamagotchi).

The fifth chapter covers magazines and fashion.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Manuel Figueroa on April 17, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I seem to be in the minority on Amazon about this book, so I saw the need to write a review. This book isn't bad, but most people who read it thinking it give in-depth knowledge about Japanese schoolgirl/pop culture should take note that this book seems to be badly researched. While not an expert, I noted several factual errors (His description/information of Tokimeki Memorial and Morning Musume as well as AKB48 come to mind easily) He seems to get a lot of his historical information on wikipedia or online since I've seen some of the other factual errors on blogs and wikipedia itself.

Onto the matter of writing. There is actually very little book here. It's not quite 200 pages and a lot of it is either taken up by pictures (some being full page) or by the text's own large print. It comes off as even shorter than that. Also, it seems like it was written by a crazed fanboy at times. I can only assume that he included his Japanese wife(?) as a way to attempt to legitimize his work, but it seems like only one voice speaks here. Also, weird for any book, let alone one of referece, it has no concluding chapter/essay. It just STOPS.

That being said, this book was an interesting read and I think it will help non-fans or new fans of anime/Japanese pop culture to get some nice background information on the basis of trends and fads in Japanese schoolgirl pop culture, but that same reader should take the text as a whole with a grain of salt as any real research will prove a lot of the author's facts as poorly researched. I don't think this book is horrible, but I don't recommend it at all.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Samuel Sloan on September 30, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book expecting to find some semi-soft-porn describing the hot sex practices of young girls. What I got instead was a history book so fascinating that I read it all the way through from cover to cover. I could not put it down. It described the amazing story of how the typical Japanese school girl a generation ago was shy and retiring and nobody noticed her or cared about her but now, like Pinky and the Brain, they have taken over the world. How did they do this? How did they come to dictate fashion trends and designs? Why is the whole world trying to find out what the Japanese Schoolgirl is thinking, whereas previously they doubted that she had any thoughts at all? Why has the Japanese schoolgirl uniform reached the height of fashion? Why do Japanese women nowadays dress in schoolgirl uniforms even though they are no longer in school.
I was disturbed however by the chapter on "Suicide Circle" or "Suicide Clubs". The thought that Japanese schoolgirls might commit suicide because it is fashionable to do so is disturbing. It is not clear whether this was reality or just an exploitation movie. It is known than any time a suicide is publicized there are always copy-cat suicides. The fact that somebody would make a movie about this is upsetting. Sam Sloan
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