In 2018 Sweden and Japan celebrate the 150th anniversary of diplomatic relations. This occasion provides an exceptional opportunity to reconceptualize the study of Japanese culture in a way which meets the requirements of an increasingly networked and digitalized world. Our conference seeks to do that with a Media Studies approach that entwines the technological, social and aesthetic, and acknowledges the importance of everyday practices by non-elite actors. The objective is to revisit the potential and limitations of a privileged academic focus on “area,” in the sense of geopolitics (Japan) as well as subject matter (comics/manga), and to place greater emphasis on mediation in the broadest sense, including ways of how to operate Japan-related expertise as contemporary humanities-based research.

The conference will be divided in three parts: (1) “Japan as Mangaesque,” related to the highly mediatized nature of contemporary Japanese culture, i.e. its media ecology, highlighting global and local mediations rather than national branding; (2) “Manga Pedagogy,” applying the mediatic perspective to methodologies of Manga Studies within university programs and academic scholarship; and (3) “Manga as Comics,” foregrounding media specifity in relation to comics and thereby extending the scope of Manga Studies beyond that of a primarily Japan-related field.

Thanks to funding granted by the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet), we are inviting the following speakers:

Prof. Dr. Shun'ya Yoshimi (Tokyo University, Cultural and Media Studies)

Dr. Patrick Galbraith, JSPS postdoc fellow (Tokyo University, Cultural Anthropology and Fan Culture research)

Prof. Dr. Sharalyn Orbaugh (The University of British Columbia, Gender Studies and Japanese Studies/modern popular narratives)

Prof. Dr. Fabienne Darling-Wolf (Temple University, Media Studies)

Dr. Karl Ian U. Cheng Chua (Ateneo de Manila University, Japanese Studies/modern cultural history)

Dr. Natalia Samutina (National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow; Visual Culture, Fanculture Studies)

We further acknowledge the co-funding support by The Japan Foundation and Literature as a Leading Research Area at Stockholm University.

The program with titles and abstracts will be available in May.

The conference language is English.

Attendance is free, but pre-registration is required for non-speakers. Please send an email with the heading “Manga conference, pre-registration” to either or by 20 August 2018.

The conference will be held in collaboration with: the Stockholm Seminar on Japan (EIJS), and the Nordic Network for Comics Research (NNCORE), whose half-yearly research seminar will take place at the same venue (that is, the Asian Library) on Sun, 9 September 2018 13:00-18:00 (Call for Papers on new NNCORE website coming soon).

The conference will make up 50% of the undergraduate course Japanese Popular Culture (JKA932). Students enrolled in that course are expected to attend at least the Thursday and Friday sessions.


Jaqueline Berndt (concept)

Ida Kirkegaard (conference office)

Axel Thiel (travel arrangements)

Attached files