“Ambitious Women in Male Manga Magazines”

In Japanese popular culture, there are plenty of strong female leading characters. However, ambitious heroines usually appear and gain acceptance in works targeted toward female readers or viewers. These women generally have sympathetic reasons that justify their ambitions. Raw ambition is not much seen, accepted, or perhaps even allowed in the case of women in reality or fiction.

In this presentation, I will examine how ambitions are characterized in the works of the manga author, Anno Moyoco, whose works appear in magazines targeted for male readership. I will discuss how their depictions reflected the author’s contemporary society, and explore what it means to be ambitious. I will analyze the texts, their production, and readership in relation to the history of depicting ambitious women in Japan. I will also account for the appeal and meaning of these ambitious women for readers and viewers, both male and female.

Dr. Yasuko Akiyama, Lecturer
Indiana University

About the presenter:
Indiana University School of Global and International Studies 03Yasuko Akiyama, Ph.D. teaches Japanese at EALC in Indiana University Bloomington, and served as an instructor and coordinator in the summer program at JCMS in the distant past. Her research focuses are language and culture learning in the classroom and Japanese popular culture. Her most recent presentations include “Gendered superheroes?: The women warriors in Claymore and All You Need is Kill,” “Japan’s Aegean”: Using the image of the Mediterranean to promote a Japanese rural sea town, and “Students with disabilities in college Japanese class.

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