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Frames of Anime:

Culture and Image-Building


The publication offers an in-depth historical and cultural study of anime, a popular form of Japanese animation. The first part dialectically discusses the roles of the visual language in Japanese culture. From the usage of the Chinese characters in the Japanese language to the arrival of photography in Japan – the early chapters explore the process of image-building in Japanese society. Interwoven with the account is the discursive probe into the strands of cultural thinking and the momentous advent of modernization and westernization tides that swept Japan from the mid-17th century. The later chapters detail the rise and growth of the animating medium in 20th century Japan and emphasize the close relationship of the economy, patrons and people in the continual self-sustainment and nurturing of anime and its related art form manga. The final chapter examines the popularity of anime in Asia and cautions the intervention of government and business forces in trying to adopt the anime model without paying due attention to its indigenous Japanese origins. 


"Frames of Anime provides a wonderfully concise and insightful historical overview of Japanese animation; more importantly, Tze-yue G. Hu also gives the reader a much-needed frame of reference — cultural and historical — for understanding its development."

— Harvey Deneroff, Savannah College of Art and Design, Atlanta, Georgia


"This is a valuable study that transcends most of its predecessors by situating Japanese anime in its cultural context and providing detailed insight into the lives and works of some of Japan’s most prominent animators and their struggles to establish it as a legitimate form of cinema and television media. Its authorship by an Asian scholar also conversant with Chinese and Southeast Asian cinema and comic book culture gives it a unique comparative character."

— John Clammer, United Nations University

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