Considerations for collecting Japanese anime for academic libraries

Publication Date03 October 2019
Date03 October 2019
AuthorGlenn Masuchika
SubjectLibrary & information science
Considerations for collecting Japanese
anime for academic libraries
Glenn Masuchika
Department of Library Learning Services, Pennsylvania State University Library, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA
Purpose Too often, academic library selectors of DVDs purchase Japanese animation (anime) for their popularity without any further concern of
their important contributions to the combined wealth of researches of an academic library. The pur pose of this paper is to offer considerations for an
academic selector to ponder before adding this particular type of animation. These considerations do not necessary pertain to the collection
development considerations for selectors at public libraries.
Design/methodology/approach This paper will discuss the major problems of actively adding anime to an academic library, the present areas of
concern, and will offer warnings and suggestions based on a conceptual framework of anime having true academic value.
Findings Anime cannot be chosen independently as if it has any apparently intrinsic value sui generis. Anime must be added concomitantly
according to the collection development policies with other resources, especially DVDs, to create a full, rich and useful collection to scholars.
Originality/value Academic studies concerning anime and collection development for academic libraries are usually comprised of only long lists
of suggested anime, with no further discussions about its implications to the general worth of an academic library. This paper offers no such lists .
Instead, it offers considerations selectors must take into account before investing time and money adding anime to an academic library collection.
Keywords Collection management, Japanimation, Academic libraries, Collection building, Animation, Anime,
Collection development in academic libraries
Paper type Conceptual paper
It is strange that a contracted foreign word to Japanese culture
becomes the generally accepted word of its world-wide
denition. Unlike the Japanese word mangaor humorous
picturesfor the countrys drawnnarrative arts such as graphic
novels and comics, according to the OxfordEnglish Dictionary
(OED Online (Oxford English Dictionary), 2019) the word
animederived from an abbreviation of the Western word
animationor possibly the word animeshon,the Japanese
pronunciation of the word animationwritten in the Japanese
hiragana alphabet, an alphabet used to write non-Japanese
words (Keeline, 2013). Animerefers specically to a particular
type of animated cartooningstyle central to Japan.
Anime has a presence in academia. There are 85 US colleges and
universities that presently offeror had offered university-level courses
in anime or a combination of anime and manga,and many of these
courses lead to academic degrees (Anime and Manga Studies,
2019a). There are also anime and anime-related courses taught in
universities in Great Britain and Japan, and there are numerous
academic societies and organizations, and museum that directly or
partially focuson anime(Anime and Manga Studies, 2019b).
Because of its acknowledged importance in academic, there
are numerous books, articles and other reference materials on
anime; however, exceptfor the anime praised in the general text
or in reference sections found at the end of the books, the
numerous resources concerning how to build an anime
collection are mostly lists of anime, mainly movies,that should,
in the opinion of the author, be added (Robbin, 2018;
Lieberman, 2018;Halsall, 2004). Yet there are very little
written about the considerations that need to be taken by
academic selectors so anime, like any other valued academic
material, can further enhance the overall worth of an academic
librarys collection and not just as an amusingisolated
collection of animationexisting for its own sake.
Considerations for collecting Japanese anime
There are two contradictorymisconceptions about the contexts
of anime. One is that anime are for children with an emphasis
on silliness and cuteness (in Japanese Ka-wa-ee) with big-
eyed females dressed in frilly shirts, displaying cute gestures
(showing the Vwith their ngers, partiallyextended tongues
out of adorable lips), sometimes waving magical wands, and
accompanied by anthropomorphized animals (Alt and Yoda,
2007;Okazaki and Johnson, 2013). The other is that anime is
cartoon pornography with mostlyteenage girls in various states
of undress, all displaying largebare breasts in action poses with
boys that can be interpretedas erotic at the very least (Lamarre,
2006, 2007). Both reasons can be used by selectors to dismiss
the value of anime. In actuality, anime runs the gambit of
subject matter, from adventureto horror to deep philosophical
exercises, and their appropriate level ranges from children,
adolescent, teenagers to mature adults. Anime is an animation
Emerald Insight at:
Collection and Curation
39/2 (2020) 5356
© Emerald Publishing Limited [ISSN 2514-9326]
[DOI 10.1108/CC-04-2019-0011]
Received 12 April 2019
Revised 5 July 2019
Accepted 26 July 2019

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