chao chen, research librarianChao Chen, Research Librarian; Home
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Tisch Library, Tufts University

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The World of Japanese Animation: Culture, Cult and Commerce

Research Sources & Tips










Two Search Samples

Journal Articles and Popular Press

Writing and Citing Sources

I. Overviews


book coverJapanese Visual Culture: Explorations in the World of Manga and Anime.
edited by Mark W. MacWilliam; foreword by Frederik l. Schodt.
NC1764.5.J3 J37 2008 

book coverJapan Style
edited by Edward L. Davis.
N7350 .C25 2007

book coverCambridge Companion to Modern Japanese Culture.
edited by Yoshio Sugimoto.
DS822.5 .C365 2009


book coverLiving Japan: Essays on Everyday Life in Contemporary Japan.
ed. by Harumi Kimura; translated by Haruko Miyazaki, Yuriko Takahashi.
DS821 .L58 2009

Contemporary Youth Culture: an International Encyclopedia.
edited by Shirley Steinberg, Priya Parmar, and Birgit Richard.

Modern Japan: a history in documents / James L. Huffman.

Sources of Japanese Tradition / by compiled by Ryūsaku Tsunoda, Wm. Theodore de Bary [and] Donald Keene.


II. Books

  A. Use Library Catalogs for Books

  B. Sample Searches:

(note the search pattern; modify to your own needs)


Tufts Libraries Catalog

BLC WorldCat (beyond Tufts)


Path of Discovery in the Catalog

1. Find a title/author (assigned readings/Course Reserves);

2. Note the descriptive language of the Catalog record.

3. Use that language in further searches


e.g. Click on subject/author in the record to see further results and related topics.



Napier, Susan Jolliffe.


From Impressionism to anime: Japan as fantasy and fan cult in the mind of the West


New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.


Animated films Japan.

Europe -- Civilization -- Japanese influences.

United States -- Civilization -- Japanese influences.

1. by/about the directors and their works:

Miyazaki, Hayao;

Oshii, Mamoru;

"Katsuhiro Otomo".

2. Focus on a particular issue


3. the larger context of "Culture of Japanese Anime"

Popular culture -- Japan.

Subculture -- Japan.

4. the larger context of "Animated Films as a genre"

Animated films

Animated Films -- History And Criticism

Animated Films -- Japan -- History And Criticism.

(anime or manga) and cultur*

Tips: 1. Or and ( ) to search any or all of the words; 2. cultur* searches for culture, cultural, etc.


III. Two Search Samples

  A. Research Sample One

"I was interested in food's role in Japanese Anime, including Spirited Away and Grave of the Fireflies"

  B. Research Sample Two

something on jazz in anime, for example in the movie, ‘Cowboy Bebop’”.


Research Steps:

1. It would be intuitive and convenient for us to start with the two films and find criticism and interpretations in scholarly journal articles.


2. It is very likely the specific imagery of food are not directly addressed in articles about these films. Therefore, broaden your search to explore the larger context of the topic to provide a frame of reference in your own analysis of your specific cases:


a. The tradition/history of food/rice used in Japanese films; how the case of the particular two films compare.

(film* or cinema or “motion pictures”) and Japan* and (food* or rice)


b. The even broader context of food in films and/or Literature

(film* or cinema or “motion pictures”) and food


food in literature” and Japan*


c. The symbolic significance of food/rice in Japanese culture

Japan* and (food* or rice) and (symbol* or metaphor*)


Sample findings in the Tisch library on the topic:

Reel Food: Essays on Food and Film. / edited by Anne L. Bower.

Food in Film: a Culinary Performance of Communication. / Jane F. Ferry.

Rice as Self: Japanese Identities through Time. / Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney.

Reading food in Modern Japanese Literature. / Tomoko Aoyama.

More recent titles in the Tisch Collections:

Appetites and anxieties: food, film, and the politics of representation. / edited by Cynthia Baron, Diane Carson, Mark Bernard.

Cuisine and symbolic capital: food in film and literature. / edited by Cheleen Ann-Catherine Mahar.

Food in the Movies. / Steve Zimmerman

Food, film and culture: a genre study. / James R. Keller

Food on film: bringing something new to the table. / edited by Tom Hertweck



1. AND in between keywords and phrases;

2. Quotation marks around a phrase.

3. film* searches for film, films, etc.

4. "or" and ( ) nest related/varied expressions.


Research Steps:

1. Start with the "tangibles" -- the film, the director and/or the composer.


2. There may not be much scholarship on the film, but reviews in popular press; relate your specific question to the larger contexts.


a. The tradition/history of music in Japanese films; how the case of this particular t film compare.

japan* and (amine or animat*) and music  


sample findings:

Drawn to sound:  animation film music and sonicity.
With the essay “Cowboy bebop: corporate strategies for animation music products in Japan”by Aki Yamasaki


The  Cartoon Music Book
With the essay “Robots, romance, and ronin: music in Japanese anime” by Milo Miles.


b. How does your particular film compare in the history/tradition of music in this film genre (Action and adventure films; science Fiction Films) in general and/or in Japan?

sample findings:

Sounds of the Future: Essays on Music in Science Fiction Film


Terror tracks: Music, Sound and Horror Cinema

c. The even broader context if relevant -- Music and Film

sample findings

Music and mythmaking in film: genre and the role of the composer


Film music: a history


Movie music, the film reader


Sound and music in film and visual media: an overview


d. Other related Context -- Jazz in Japan

Sample findings:

1. General survey titles on Japanese film/cinema may include chapters/essays on this topic.


     Jazz and Japan


2. Blue Nippon: Authenticating Jazz in Japan


3. Minor transnationalism
With the essay, The calm beauty of Japan at almost the speed of sound: Sakamoto Kyū and the translations of rockabilly by Michael K. Bourdaghs



IV. Journal Articles

  A. Subject Databases for Journal Articles

  B. Popular Press

  C. Finding Full Text


1. and 2.     JSTOR and Project Muse


Two favorite collections of core journals of all disciplines.



2. Academic Search Premier (All subjects)



3. Bibliography of Asian Studies  


4. Communication & Mass Media Complete


5. Film & Television Literature Index


6. Literature (MLA)


7. Sociological Abstracts 


8. Women's Studies International  

When use GoogleScholar, set your Library Links to access Tufts full texts.


LexisNexis Academic


Factiva (more international coverage)


Boston Globe (1872-1979)


New York Times Online Archive
(1851 - 3 years before current date)


Times Digital Archive  (1785 - 1985)


Art Index Retrospective   (1929- 1982)


Readers' Guide Retrospective (1890-1982)


American Periodicals (1740 - 1940)

British Humanities Index (1962- )
British Periodicals (1680s - 1930s)


1. Click on the findIt@tufts button button in your search results screen to a window of three sequential options:

a. link to the digital full text when available;

b. link to a Library Catalog search for the print journal;

c. link to ILliad for requesting the article when the above two options are negative.

2. Search for a journal directly here:

a. Tufts Library Catalog (including e-journals)

b. Electronic journals list

c. Use ILliad to request your article, if Tufts does not have your journal.


V. Writing and Citing

  Writing Help

  Citing Sources


A Short Guide to Writing about Film by Timothy Corrigan. Ref: PN1995 .C66 2010


A Short Guide to Writing about Literature by Sylvan Barnet. Ref: PE1479.C7 B3

Writing about Literature (handout from Writing Center at UNC.)


Tufts Academic Resources Center -- Writing Tutors






           Chicago Style Manual


           MLA Style