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

4.2 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Manga, horror movies, pop music, fashion, and accessories are all popular Japanese topics and trends. Brian Ashcraft and Shoko Ueda tackle all of the above—and more—through the well-known trope of the schoolgirl in Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential: How Teenage Girls Made a Nation Cool." —Library Journal

"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.
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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 0.6 x 5.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,493,758 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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By CheapyD on September 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
Length: 2:58 Mins
Check out my video review!
6 Comments 54 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Interesting light reading. Probably most people that buy this book have some idea about the power of the Japanese School Girl in anime/manga and movies but if you don't, give it a try.
I wish the illustrations were in a higher res. Zooming in to find a pixulated picture is disappointing.
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