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Susan J. Napier
Professor Susan Napier received all her degrees from Harvard University and is currently Professor of Japanese Studies at Tufts University. Initially a specialist in modern Japanese literature, she began to develop an interest in manga and anime in the late 1990's and published the first major English language scholarly book on anime in 2001. She has continued to work on anime and manga since that time and her other interests include fantasy and science fiction and gender and the body. She is currently working on a book about the famous Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki.

Entries by Susan J. Napier

Interviewing Hayao Miyazaki, Japan's Greatest Animation Director

(1) Comments | Posted January 21, 2014 | 8:50 AM

I'm sitting in a garden courtyard at Studio Ghibli interviewing the famous anime director Hayao Miyazaki. The only problem is that the garden is in pitch darkness, sort of like my mind which, having been for days in high gear frantically preparing about a million questions in Japanese for the...

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Sweet Dreams and Flying Machines: Miyazaki's The Wind Rises

(3) Comments | Posted November 18, 2013 | 8:59 AM

"Sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground" -- James Taylor

The other day I had the pleasure of being interviewed on NPR for a segment on the Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki and the opening of his film, The Wind Rises. But the pleasure was complicated: I was...

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The Wolverines' Burden: Orientalism and the Superhero

(14) Comments | Posted August 20, 2013 | 10:33 AM

The exciting but problematic new film Wolverine opens with a bang, literally, as we watch the destruction of Nagasaki by atomic bomb. The immortal Wolverine (aka Logan) is there, not only as a witness, but as a rescuer, saving Yashida, one of his prison guards, from fiery death. But when...

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The BMFA's Phantom Japan Collection and the Empty Swinging Door

(0) Comments | Posted April 7, 2013 | 7:11 PM

A dark winter morning in Tokyo in the 1990s. It is a couple of years after my divorce and I am back in Roppongi, Tokyo's most international area, where my ex-husband and I used to live. I am searching for our favorite French bistro. I remember that it changed locations...

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Of Guns and (Not So Much) Glory: Jack, James and American and British Dreams

(0) Comments | Posted January 28, 2013 | 1:35 PM

"Agent down," the beautiful agent Moneypenny bleakly informs her spymaster M at the end of the opening scene in Skyfall, the magnificently self-aware elegy to the end of the British Empire, cleverly masquerading as the latest James Bond film. And not just any agent. It is James Bond himself who...

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Of Deities and Dragons: Newtown, Trauma and the Uses of Fantasy

(0) Comments | Posted December 21, 2012 | 10:36 AM

The muzak was playing "Tis the season to be jolly" when I walked into the supermarket on Friday December 14. But people were gathered in a tense little group around the store's video screen watching something unimaginably horrific--parents crying for their murdered children in Newtown Connecticut, only a few hundred...

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Back to the [Yale] Game: Confessions of a Football Non-Appreciator

(0) Comments | Posted December 3, 2012 | 8:47 AM

I was going to write again about apocalypse this week but decided instead to talk about another deeply religious subject instead -- football and the American Way of Life. Well, maybe I won't dwell on the second part of that title but, having taught at the University of Texas for...

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From Apocalyptic Tapestries to Apocalyptic Conferences: Watching and Waiting for the End of the World

(4) Comments | Posted November 13, 2012 | 10:46 AM

A colleague of mine remarked snidely as I was preparing to go to a conference on Eschatology at Lancaster University in the U.K., "Now, if it had been a conference on scatology I might have come with you." Yes, eschatology, the study of the end of the world, can seem...

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Wild in the Corridors: A Professor Cosplays at Comic Con

(0) Comments | Posted October 19, 2012 | 10:36 AM

The men's room door squeals
Inside, a young man pulls on
A red super self

I took my husband, Steve, along to Comic Con last weekend but worried that he might be weirded out by the whole experience, especially the array of cosplayers (costume players) who swirled through...

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From Hogwarts to Harvard: Survival Games for the 21st Century

(0) Comments | Posted October 1, 2012 | 6:39 PM

The recent reports of the cheating scandal at Harvard (and other schools), brought back memories, and not only those of my own long ago undergraduate days there. Although I must confess that my mind initially did turn back to a time when, as a naïve sophomore, I watched in disbelief...

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Revolutionary Girls

(2) Comments | Posted September 14, 2012 | 5:49 PM

What is it about the doomed denizens of 18th century Versailles that still captures our imagination? As I write this, the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Mass., is preparing a "barbed and brassy" new play about Marie Antoinette, while this summer saw favorable reviews given to the French film Farewell...

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