"Which borders would that be: French and Chinese voices and Anime"

Presented By: Stephen Sarrazin, Paris 8 and Tokyo National University of Art, and Yangyu Zhang, Tokyo National University of Art

A particular dialogue exists within the Anglo-Saxon/Japan academic community exploring the field of Anime. It replicates a close-knit web-like model also at play in the study of other genres producing if not a singular voice, then a robust one. We would acknowledge other methodologies, namely French and Chinese readings and discussions outside that bilateral dialogue which set up an alternative reception of  anime aesthetics and narratives. While several leading anime scholars rely on French theory (including when it engages in debate with Anglo/American peers including Haraway, Butler or Morton), what appears absent here is a French voice, unmediated, and what it has contributed to Anime studies without overtly relying on English material. This is notably the case outside of academia through exhibitions, monographs, magazines and events such as Japan Expo. In a number of ways it replicates the foundations of films studies in France, by entertaining a belief in returning to the source of the material. Likewise, the history of Chinese anime and the contemporary scene of Chinese anime studies provides another piece for the global puzzle. The flux of anime in China (mainland) is closely linked to the nation’s economic, political and ideological agendas. As a prism, it also reflects its counterparts which through the years have been taken as role models to learn from, the original to copy, and/or the available resources to import, including those in the 'comrade' countries in East Europe in the early days and the US and Japan more recently. Moreover, although all once heavily influenced by Japanese anime, Taiwan, Hong Kong and mainland China nonetheless embark on different roads in their respective academia and industry that serve the local situations, consequently maintaining various relationships with those of Japan.