Award Information

Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
East Asian Languages and Cultures
Draw Like a Girl: Reading Gender as Genre in Japanese Comics

Manga - the bedrock of Japan's popular culture empire - is divided by target audience between shojo [girls] and shonen [boys]. In the century since separate shojo and shonen magazines emerged in Japan this divide has become established as broadly recognized style and content elements. My approach combines interviews, a survey of shojo and shonen manga's attributes, and an examination of works occupying a liminal space between shojo and shonen. This research will identify the specific ways in which manga creates gendered fantasy spaces for its readers, and through this deepen our understanding of what shonen and shojo manga are, and what these categories mean for contemporary manga. Yet, I also argue that this shojo/shonen divide is complicated by liminal works that mix gender signifiers and by the common act of reading manga for the opposite gender, through which manga creators and readers construct shared fantasy spaces that defy gender norms.