Fanning the Flames

Fans and Consumer Culture in Contemporary Japan

Edited by William W. Kelly

Subjects: Japanese Studies, Asian Studies, Anthropology, Popular Culture
Series: SUNY series in Japan in Transition
Paperback : 9780791460320, 212 pages, July 2004
Hardcover : 9780791460313, 212 pages, July 2004

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations


Introduction: Locating the Fans
William W. Kelly

1. B-Boys and B-Girls: Rap Fandom and Consumer Culture in Japan
Ian Condry

2. Letters from the Heart: Negotiating Fan–Star Relationships in Japanese Popular Music
Christine R. Yano

3. Buying Intimacy: Proximity and Exchange at a Japanese Rock Concert
Carolyn S. Stevens

4 Sense and Sensibility at the Ballpark: What Fans Make of Professional Baseball in Modern Japan
William W. Kelly

5. It's a "Gottsan" World: The Role of the Patron in Sumo
R. Kenji Tierney

6. Rakugo Fans at Play: Promoting the Art, Creating Community, Inventing Selves
Lorie Brau

7. Vinyl Record Collecting as Material Practice: The Japanese Case
Shuhei Hosokawa and Hideaki Matsuoka

8. Girls and Women Getting Out of Hand: The Pleasure and Politics of Japan's Amateur Comics Community
Matthew Thorn

Glossary of Japanese Terms



A fascinating look at fans of a variety of popular culture phenomena in Japan.


Fanning the Flames examines the worlds of fans in the exuberant and commercialized popular culture of contemporary Japan. The works collected here profile denizens of all-night rap clubs; sumo stable patrons; passionate fan clubs of a professional baseball team; enthusiasts of traditional rakugo storytelling; a club of middle-aged female fans of a popular music star; youthful followers of Japan's longest-running rock band; vinyl record collectors; and a thriving community of girls and women who produce and devour amateur comics. Grounded in close, often extended fieldwork with the fans themselves, each case study is an effort to understand both the personal pleasures and political economies of fandoms. The contributors explore the many ways that fans in and of Japanese mass culture actively search for intimacy and identity amid the powerful corporate structures that produce the leisure and entertainment of today's Japan.

William W. Kelly is Professor of Anthropology and Sumitomo Professor of Japanese Studies at Yale University. He is the author of Deference and Defiance in Nineteenth-Century Japan.