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.
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.
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).
You might look like a bit of a pervert reading this in public, but it is a fantastic resource on various aspects of Japanese culture, using the figure of the Japanese schoolgirl as the shared point between film, music, technology, history, and more. You'll learn a lot