Initially developed in Japan by Nintendo as a computer game, Pokémon swept the globe in the late 1990s. Based on a narrative in which a group of children capture, train, and do battle with over a hundred imaginary creatures, Pokémon quickly diversified into an array of popular products including comic books, a TV show, movies, trading cards, stickers, toys, and clothing. Pokémon eventually became the top grossing children's product of all time. Yet the phenomenon fizzled as quickly as it had ignited. By 2002, the Pokémon craze was mostly over. Pikachu’s Global Adventure describes the spectacular, complex, and unpredictable rise and fall of Pokémon in countries around the world.
In analyzing the popularity of Pokémon, this innovative volume addresses core debates about the globalization of popular culture and about children’s consumption of mass-produced culture. Topics explored include the origins of Pokémon in Japan’s valorization of cuteness and traditions of insect collecting and anime; the efforts of Japanese producers and American marketers to localize it for foreign markets by muting its sex, violence, moral ambiguity, and general feeling of Japaneseness; debates about children’s vulnerability versus agency as consumers; and the contentious question of Pokémon’s educational value and place in school. The contributors include teachers as well as scholars from the fields of anthropology, media studies, sociology, and education. Tracking the reception of Pokémon in Japan, the United States, Great Britain, France, and Israel, they emphasize its significance as the first Japanese cultural product to enjoy substantial worldwide success and challenge western dominance in the global production and circulation of cultural goods.
Contributors. Anne Allison, Linda-Renée Bloch, Helen Bromley, Gilles Brougere, David Buckingham, Koichi Iwabuchi, Hirofumi Katsuno, Dafna Lemish, Jeffrey Maret, Julian Sefton-Green, Joseph Tobin, Samuel Tobin, Rebekah Willet, Christine Yano
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"The contributors to this volume are the smartest scholars working today in the areas of global media and children's media. This book tells an entertaining and surprising tale of how the little Japanese Pokemon transformed children's culture and global media economics. The changes that Pikachu wrought are only the beginning of fascinating new trends in role-playing games, video games, cartoons, and toys and the accelerated spread of such fads via the Internet."--Ellen Seiter, author of" Sold Separately: Children and Parents in Consumer Culture"About the Author:
Joseph Tobin is the Nadine Mathis Basha Professor of Early Childhood Education at Arizona State University. He is the author of “Good Guys Don’t Wear Hats”: Children’s Talk about the Media, editor of Making a Place for Pleasure in Early Childhood Education, and coauthor of Preschool in Three Cultures: Japan, China, and the United States.
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