The Meaning and Purpose of Leisure Activities of Manga/Anime Fans Called “Fujoshi”: Contradictions and Ambivalences in Japanese Women's Fan Community

Monday, 11 July 2016: 10:00
Location: Dachgeschoss (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Hiromi TANAKA, Meiji University, Japan
Saori ISHIDA, Meiji University, Japan
Fujoshi refers to female fans of comics (manga) and related products such as animation (anime) who enjoy works that feature male-homosexual relationships. What they consume are predominantly parodies of works in which male homosocial bonds are depicted. Fujoshi re-read these works and replace such homosocial bonds with homosexual ones. As amateur artists they create parodies so that they can develop fantasies of male-male relationships that being female, they can never experience in reality. In this presentation we will examine the meaning and purpose of this unique type of leisure activity, including their community formation, which can be seen in Japan and other Asian countries today. Analyzing narratives of seven fujoshi women, we will not only identify what makes them feel satisfied, fulfilled, or happy in their activities, but also present contradictory findings, namely the significant contribution of this type of leisure activities to the enhancement of quality of life of people engaged with these activities and the perceived tensions in the process of differentiation among these people as well as between them and others outside their communities. We will address the importance of sociological perspectives of social difference in a fan community, even if such a community can offer space to its members for mutual exchange, learning, understanding, and respect.