Database for Animation Studies

9 Books/Articles to Understand Anime for Girls (“Shoujo”)

Akiko Sugawa

I’ve listed studies about cultural practices related to anime for girls (“shoujo”) and girls (“shoujo”) who watch anime.

Akiko Sugawa, Shoujo to mahou – gaaru hiiroo wa ikani juyou saretanoka (Girls and Magic: Representations of Magical Girls and Japanese Female Viewership), NTT Shuppan, 2013

“Light” cultural research study that applies textual analysis to significant “magical girl” anime works targeted at girls from 1996 through the early 2000s, as well as interviews of women who watched those anime. Explores not just representations of girls in anime, but also how the anime were consumed and utilized by girls at the time.

Akiko Sugawa
Professor at Yokohama National University

Akiko Sugawa-Shimada, Ph.D. is an associate professor at Yokohama National University, Japan. She is the author of a number of articles on anime, manga and Cultural Studies, including Contents Tourism Studies (2015), Women’s Manga: Manga that Connects the US, and Europe to Asia (2015), “Rekijo, Pilgrimage and ‘Pop-Spiritualism’: Pop-culture-induced Heritage Tourism of/for Young Women,” Japan Forum, 27:1 (2015), Girls and Magic : Representations of Magical Girls and Japanese Female Viewership (2013), and Japanese Animation: East Asian Perspectives (2013).


This is a list of 10 English-language books contributing to the discussion of fandom in Japan. Selected are both monographs and edited volumes. Most share a focus on people and their interactions with media, material and one another, or the social dimensions of fandom in Japan. Some also go beyond Japan to explore fan practices surrounding Japanese media and material culture in global circulation. In the future, this literature could be brought into more explicit and sustained dialogue with Japanese-language books on fandom, as well as fan studies as a field, in order to overcome linguistic, disciplinary and area boundaries.

The Japanese animation industry is a multi-faceted, unique system of intricate, interlocking businesses, frameworks, networks and processes. While much has been written on the sociocultural impact of anime around the world, as well as thematic analysis of individual works, in truth there are many aspects which still warrant further discussion, in order to more adequately understand the elements beyond the surface. This list is a compilation of sources of information which may serve as a start to help shed light and contribute to a fuller image of the inner workings and idiosyncrasies of the anime industry.

The following list of recommended references was selected and written by researchers and experts trusted by the Research and Education Committee; however, there are, of course, other important animation study references that have not been included. This list was prepared by members of the Research and Education Committee to examine more closely certain references. (Authors: Kayama Takashi, Sugawa Akiko, Nakagaki Kotaro)