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Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential: How Teenage Girls Made a Nation Cool Paperback – August 1, 2010
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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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I wish the illustrations were in a higher res. Zooming in to find a pixulated picture is disappointing.
The main negating factor for me is that I want to know more about the various topics, as this is a part of Japanese pop culture I am quite interested in (which maybe sounds kind of creepy, but I promise you it isn't, haha).
I don't really want to detract stars for that though because I personally feel that:
1) there might not be that much more info on the topic
2) if there is more info, it may not be interesting enough to put in the book (being appealing only to those who are super interested)
3) some of it may not translate over well (to explain one thing, you have to explain all this other stuff and maybe it's hard to summarize).
I trust what Ashcraft wrote pretty well; from what I've seen he's been writing about this kind of thing for some time, and in my opinion he does it well (examples: his work with Wired, Kotaku). So I'd say he's credible.
Overall, for me it was a neat look into the impact and influence that the symbol of the Japanese schoolgirl has. Being a young American woman who enjoys Japanese fashion, the "Material Girls" section was my favorite part, especially learning about the history of Egg magazine and how companies seem to have a more direct relationship with their young customers (in contrast to here, where it seems to be mostly top>down). It might not be to everyone's tastes though, so I suggest giving a quick flip-through before purchase.
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
Most recent customer reviews
The book has no analysis on why the "japanese schoolgirl" is such a cultural phenomenon.Read more