Law and Justice in Japanese Popular Culture

From Crime Fighting Boy Robots to Duelling Pocket Monsters

In a world of globalised media, Japanese popular culture has become a significant fountainhead forimages, narratives, artefacts, and forms of engagement and identity. From Pikachu, to instantly identifiablemanga memes, to the darkness of adult anime, the convenience of sushi, and the hyper-consumerism ofproduct tie-ins Japan has bequeathed ways through which a globalised world imagines, communicatesand interrogates tradition and change, the self and the technological future. Within these foci questions oflaw have often not been far from the surface: the crime and justice of Astro Boy; the property and contractof Pokémon; the ecological justice of Nausicaä, Shinto’s focus on order and balance; the anxieties ofmodernity in Godzilla.

This volume is the first to bring together global scholars to reflect on and critically engage with Japan’spopular cultural legal legacy. It explores not only the impact of Japan on global culture, but what theseimages, games, narratives, and artefacts reveal about law, humanity, justice and authority in the seconddecade of the twenty-first century.

Contributors are invited to submit chapter proposals and a brief cv for consideration by the editors for inclusion in this edited volume.


Contributors are strongly encouraged to focus on popular as well as cult texts, narratives,genres, games, practices and/or artefacts. Those selected for inclusion will:

  • Engage with law, lawyering, legality or legal theory.
  • Show an awareness of the embedded, multi-sensorial and transmedial nature of their subject.
  • Demonstrate engagement with existing relevant academic literature.

Some possible questions to respond to are (but in no way limited to) the following:

  • How has justice been envisioned in Japanese imaginings of the future?
  • How are authority, gender and the self communicated in Japanese culture?
  • Are Japanese computer games legally progressive or conservative?
  • How has law and technology been framed in Japanese popular culture?
  • What do Japanese transmedial narratives and fan stories tell us about legality and creativity?
  • What role does violence and reactions to violence play in Japanese popular culture?
  • How is tradition and change mediated in Japanese popular culture?
  • How does manga and anime animate the legalities of the posthuman?

Contributors should submit a proposal (300 words) and a brief CV (no longer than one page) to by 5 September 2016.

The editors will advise contributors of inclusion and process by 12 September 2016.

The first draft of chapters will be due 1 May 2017 with an expected publication date of late 2017.


For more information visit the Graphic Justice Research Alliance’s webpage