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Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential: How Teenage Girls Made a Nation Cool Paperback – August 1, 2010
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"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 blog
"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 blog
"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 blog
"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." —iSugio blog
"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." —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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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. You'll learn about the infamous Kogals of the nineties and their effect on helping women escape from stereotype and form their own individual styles. You'll also learn about the fashion magazine Egg and it's use as a forum for Japanese schoolgirls before the age of the internet.
The sixth chapter covers art. As expected you'll learn about the school girl's influence on art with samples from Rin Nadeshico, Noriko Yamaguchi, Motoyuki Kobayashi and others.
The seventh chapter covers video games. You'll learn about the infamous Japanese dating sims, as well as visual novels. Many of these games and visual novels have since become anime, such as To Heart, Kanon, and Clannad.
The eight chapter covers anime and manga. You'll learn about the evolution of the school girl in manga from the high school teen (Peach Girl) to magical girl (Sailor Moon) to mecha controling saviors (Neon Genesis Evangelion).
Japanese School Girl Confidential is a must buy for anyone remotely interested in anything involving Japanese culture. Though I bought the book mainly for its chapters on music, movies, games, and anime the other chapters were just as immersing and informative. It may be a quick read but the information you'll gain is well worth the money!
I wish the illustrations were in a higher res. Zooming in to find a pixulated picture is disappointing.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The book has no analysis on why the "japanese schoolgirl" is such a cultural phenomenon.