Friday, December 31, 2010

Book Review: Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential

After reading Brian Ashcraft's great book on the Japanese arcade gaming scene, I figured I'd like his next book on Japanese schoolgirl culture. It didn't disappoint.

Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential is a pretty deep dive on a number of different aspects of what can only be called a phenomena: The idolization, monetization, and 'fetishization' of the Japanese schoolgirl look and surrounding culture.

Ashcraft and his co-author (also his wife) Shoko Ueda take the reader through the history of the uniforms, idol worship, schoolgirls in films and games, as well as how different aspects of business (fashion and telecom in particular) have changed behavior to target the schoolgirl demographic.

Some of the book (e.g. the history of the uniforms) were more depth than I needed, but other parts were really enlightening. The sections on the evolution of cell phone texting, the fashion industry's capitalization of the schoolgirl market, and schoolgirls in video games were probably the most useful, and therefore recommended, sections for those in the technology and/or gaming industries.

[note: I'm post-dating a couple of these posts as I didn't have a chance to sync them while I was travelling, and I like to track by when I read the book]