Two GRAND DH graduate students participated in a special seminar on Japanese popular culture in Tokyo this July that was organized in collaboration with the publishing house Kadokawa hoten and the University of Tokyo. About twenty students from around the world and twenty students from the University of Tokyo were invited to take part in this special research encounter centred around the theme of the ¨media mix¨, the Japanese embodiment of the concept better known as ¨convergence culture¨ in North America. I was fortunate enough to be invited as one of those students.
With the recent works of Henry Jenkins (Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide) and especially of Marc Steinberg (Anime’s Media Mix) the subject of intermedial connections between forms of popular culture is becoming important for academics in the arts and humanities. During the two weeks of the event, we developed our awareness of the issues around the ways media are mixed in Japan as well as becoming better equipped to deal with the mix in our own work. Coupled with a series of fantastic paper presentations by experts in the field and a great on-site cultural experience in Tokyo, this event should have an impact on reflections on contemporary Japanese popular culture.
While a great seminar, the activities were limited to invited students. With the objective of sharing the ideas with a wider audience, I have produced a three-part blog series (in French) on the website of the academic journal Kinephanos in order to chronicle what I considered to be the highlights of the Kadokawa Summer Media Mix Program. I invite French readers to take a look a those entries should they have an interest on Japanese popular culture, the media mix or convergence culture in general. Hopefully, those will also stimulate other to think about those issues.