The Soul of Anime: Collaborative Creativity and Japan’s Media Success Story

The Soul of Anime, Ian Condry, Duke University Press

The Soul of Anime
Ian Condry
Duke University Press

In The Soul of Anime, Ian Condry explores the emergence of anime, Japanese animated film and television, as a global cultural phenomenon. Drawing on ethnographic research, including interviews with artists at some of Tokyo’s leading animation studios—such as Madhouse, Gonzo, Aniplex, and Studio Ghibli—Condry discusses how anime’s fictional characters and worlds become platforms for collaborative creativity. He argues that the global success of Japanese animation has grown out of a collective social energy that operates across industries—including those that produce film, television, manga (comic books), and toys and other licensed merchandise—and connects fans to the creators of anime. For Condry, this collective social energy is the soul of anime.

Ian Condry

About Ian Condry

Ian Condry is a cultural anthropologist interested in globalization from below, that is, cultural movements that go global without the push of major corporations or governments. He has written books on hip-hop as it developed in Japan (Hip-Hop Japan, 2006) and Japanese animation as a global force (The Soul of Anime, 2013). His current research explores music and inequality, that is, examining how new social and economic approaches to music offer insights into the varieties of capitalism, and their differing contributions to inequality. Condry teaches courses that emphasize ethnographic approaches to media and culture, including Japanese popular culture, anime and cinema, as well as a graduate-level seminar in media theory and methods. He founded and organizes the MIT Cool Japan research project, which studies the critical potential of popular culture. He also co-directs, with TL Taylor, the Creative Communities Initiative, using ethnography to advance new solutions to old problems.


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