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Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential: How Teenage Girls Made a Nation Cool Paperback – 1 Jul 2010

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Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential: How Teenage Girls Made a Nation Cool + The Otaku Encyclopedia: An Insider's Guide to the Subculture of Cool Japan + A Geek in Japan: Discovering the Land of Manga, Anime, ZEN, and the Tea Ceremony
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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Kodansha International Ltd; 1 edition (1 July 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 4770031157
  • ISBN-13: 978-4770031150
  • Product Dimensions: 18.5 x 1.5 x 13.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 157,493 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

The authors are Brian Ashcraft and Shoko Ueda, a husband and wife team based in Osaka. Brian is the author of Arcade Mania! and is Contributing Editor for WIRED magazine, where he regularly writes the Japanese Schoolgirl Watch column. He also contributes Kotaku one of the world's most read blogs, and has written for the design magazine Metropolis Magazine, Popular Science, Ready Made, Otaku USA, the British tech magazine T3, and the The Japan Times newspaper -- among other publications. Shoko has been research assistant for the Japanese Schoolgirl Watch column for Wired magazine, and draws on her own experiences as a former Japanese schoolgirl. This is her first book.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A. J. Miller on 22 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback
I first read a review for this book in the 'Japan Times' that I like to read online and I was curious !
Anime and manga is so popular now it is hard not to have come across Japanese schoolgirls, these days they are a world-wide icon and this book will tell you everything you want to know about these incredibly cool teenage girls !
Read how they are keeping Japanese companies alive in the recession with their amazing spending,the book says the girls have at least 10,000 Yen to spend but I have been lucky enough to speak with real Japanese schoolgirls and they say the figure is far higher than that !

I highly recommend it to anyone with a interest in Japanese culture.
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Format: Paperback
I first bought this book a couple of years ago in a small book-shop in one of the covered shopping arcades in Kyoto. Although it's written in a light-heated & very readable way, it nevertheless contains a mine of fascinating information about the intriguing world of the Japanese schoolgirl. A must for anybody with an interest in modern Japan & its youth cultures & all that that involves, whether manga, anime, J-pop, idols, J-horror, art, fashion, consumerism - you name it. Brian Ashcroft has written for many popular Japanese youth orientated magazines & therefore presents his work in the casual, easily accessible style that you would expect of such publications - in fact I think that his present work is partly an expanded compendium of those articles. But this is just detail, the fact is that this little hand-book is brilliantly written & presented.
Mine is an earlier non "full colour" version & reading the "look inside" facility on Amazon I can see that it has been improved visually quite a lot. I also noticed in other reviews that there had been criticism of inaccuracies in Chapter 2 on "Idol Worship". I had noticed an inaccuracy myself on first reading the book & checked to see if it had been corrected in the new revised version, but it had not. I refer to the article on the all-girl rock band Scandal where the author interviews the band & introduces "Haruna Ono on rhythm guitar, Mami Sasazaki on bass, Tomomi Ogawa on lead guitar & Rina Suzuki pounding the crap out of the drums". Well I think Scandal are well enough known by now for anyone to know that Mami plays lead guitar & Tomomi plays bass, not the other way round, but I'm surprised that this has not been corrected.
Other than that, an impressive work. Other reviewers have gone into detail on content so I won't repeat them. Well worth buying - I refer to it again & again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Uchiha.Sasuke on 1 Jan. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book, much more than I expected to be honest. The quality of images and the writing style in general are great :) I'm going to be using this for part of my English dissertation and I would definitely recommend it to anime/manga fans (as someone who has been into manga for almost a decade it's always lovely to learn something new which this book definitely provides).
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 0 reviews
54 of 65 people found the following review helpful
Sugoi! 8 Sept. 2010
By CheapyD - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Check out my video review!
32 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Kawaii! Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential Review 8 July 2010
By Bryan M - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After plowing through Brian Ashcraft's last book covering Japan's still thriving arcade scene, I was craving more work from the Kotaku editor. I was surprised at first that his next published work would be covering Japanese schoolgirls, but somehow knew it would be another compelling read. I quickly hit "pre-order" on Amazon.com and waited patiently for the fateful day I would find it laying on my doorstep.

Brian's newest book titled "Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential: How teenage girls made a nation cool" is an eight chapter non-stop page turner that takes you through the many types of Japanese schoolgirls and describes how the style has been an influence on Japan since the late 1800's.

Jumping between the schoolgirl's types, you will read about their roles as idols, rock musicians, actresses and influence on anime and videogames. They are super heroes of Japan, students by day and role models by night. There is no doubt that their influence even stretches outside of Japan, seeing how Quentin Tarantino casted Chiaki Kuriyama in Kill Bill. A certain level of sexiness mixed with power seems to be what causes everyone around the world to look. Companies will run their entire business solely focused on marketing to the Japanese schoolgirls. It's something that will never go away, yet will always be ever-changing.

Brian Ashcraft and his wife, Shoko Ueda, give the most comprehensive look at the girls that have shaped Japan. Whether you have interests in Japan's history, a love for videogames, or are an anime otaku, this book will definitely keep your eyes glued to the pages.
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Informative, Fun, and Full of Music, Art, and Anime Suggestions! 24 Aug. 2010
By Chelsea Buckner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
As an anime fan and as a person interested in Japanese culture I was excited when I stumbled across Ashcraft's book at my local Borders. At first glance I thought it would be a regular novel but was both intriqued and shocked to find the book litered with photographs and pictures. The book even has a soft cover sleve which is usually exclusive to paperback books from Japan. I immediately picked it up.

The novel covers eight chapters. The first is dedicated to the origin of the schoolgirl's sailor suit with tidbits on the sailor suit's effect on Japanese culture woven in. You'll learn old customs like taking a boy's second button from the top to current fads like gluing loose socks to yourself.

The second chapter covers idol worship and music. Thanks to this chapter I've discovered new Japanese music that I would have otherwise never heard of. You'll learn about different super groups and music featuring information on AKB48, Momoe Yamaguchi, Masako Mori, Junko Sakurada, Tsukasa Ito, Seiko Matsuda, Scandal, Jurian Beat Crisis, Onyanko Club, and Morning Musume.

The third chapter covers movies. You'll learn about the influence of the school girl on both western cinema (Kill Bill and Babel) as well as eastern cinema (Kite, Battle Royale). In particular the section goes into depth on the school girl movies of the seventies and their use of school girls as catalysts into fantasy both sexual and horrorific.

The fourth chapter covers shopping and how school girls form the bulk of Japanese buying power. You'll learn how items like the pager and the cell phone were popularized by the school girl and how the school girl's lack of interest can swiftly execute a fad (such as the Tamagotchi).

The fifth chapter covers magazines and fashion. You'll learn about the infamous Kogals of the nineties and their effect on helping women escape from stereotype and form their own individual styles. You'll also learn about the fashion magazine Egg and it's use as a forum for Japanese schoolgirls before the age of the internet.

The sixth chapter covers art. As expected you'll learn about the school girl's influence on art with samples from Rin Nadeshico, Noriko Yamaguchi, Motoyuki Kobayashi and others.

The seventh chapter covers video games. You'll learn about the infamous Japanese dating sims, as well as visual novels. Many of these games and visual novels have since become anime, such as To Heart, Kanon, and Clannad.

The eight chapter covers anime and manga. You'll learn about the evolution of the school girl in manga from the high school teen (Peach Girl) to magical girl (Sailor Moon) to mecha controling saviors (Neon Genesis Evangelion).

Japanese School Girl Confidential is a must buy for anyone remotely interested in anything involving Japanese culture. Though I bought the book mainly for its chapters on music, movies, games, and anime the other chapters were just as immersing and informative. It may be a quick read but the information you'll gain is well worth the money!
23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
An Okay Book 18 April 2011
By Manuel Figueroa - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I seem to be in the minority on Amazon about this book, so I saw the need to write a review. This book isn't bad, but most people who read it thinking it give in-depth knowledge about Japanese schoolgirl/pop culture should take note that this book seems to be badly researched. While not an expert, I noted several factual errors (His description/information of Tokimeki Memorial and Morning Musume as well as AKB48 come to mind easily) He seems to get a lot of his historical information on wikipedia or online since I've seen some of the other factual errors on blogs and wikipedia itself.

Onto the matter of writing. There is actually very little book here. It's not quite 200 pages and a lot of it is either taken up by pictures (some being full page) or by the text's own large print. It comes off as even shorter than that. Also, it seems like it was written by a crazed fanboy at times. I can only assume that he included his Japanese wife(?) as a way to attempt to legitimize his work, but it seems like only one voice speaks here. Also, weird for any book, let alone one of referece, it has no concluding chapter/essay. It just STOPS.

That being said, this book was an interesting read and I think it will help non-fans or new fans of anime/Japanese pop culture to get some nice background information on the basis of trends and fads in Japanese schoolgirl pop culture, but that same reader should take the text as a whole with a grain of salt as any real research will prove a lot of the author's facts as poorly researched. I don't think this book is horrible, but I don't recommend it at all.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Great Book about the Amazing Rise of the Japanese Schoolgirl to World Domination and Control 30 Sept. 2011
By Samuel Sloan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book expecting to find some semi-soft-porn describing the hot sex practices of young girls. What I got instead was a history book so fascinating that I read it all the way through from cover to cover. I could not put it down. It described the amazing story of how the typical Japanese school girl a generation ago was shy and retiring and nobody noticed her or cared about her but now, like Pinky and the Brain, they have taken over the world. How did they do this? How did they come to dictate fashion trends and designs? Why is the whole world trying to find out what the Japanese Schoolgirl is thinking, whereas previously they doubted that she had any thoughts at all? Why has the Japanese schoolgirl uniform reached the height of fashion? Why do Japanese women nowadays dress in schoolgirl uniforms even though they are no longer in school.
I was disturbed however by the chapter on "Suicide Circle" or "Suicide Clubs". The thought that Japanese schoolgirls might commit suicide because it is fashionable to do so is disturbing. It is not clear whether this was reality or just an exploitation movie. It is known than any time a suicide is publicized there are always copy-cat suicides. The fact that somebody would make a movie about this is upsetting. Sam Sloan
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