Pokémania Caught ‘Em All: The Youth Imagination, Adult Uncertainty, and Everybody’s Wallets

The Pokémania that gripped the United States at the end of the twentieth century can best be described as a series of contrasts.  This duality encompassed clueless parents and their captivated children, the American businesses who reaped the profits and the public who clamored for its consumption, and the product’s inherent sense of both capitalism and communalism.  Pokémon’s success in the United States can be attributed to a combination of these factors.  American corporations saw the unprecedented success of the franchise in Japan, recognized the potential for endless revenue streams, and marketed it towards children after repackaging it as a culturally neutered product. Children latched onto the games, cards, and cartoons because they could exercise control over the way they played and could communicate within their own peer groups. The majority of parents saw it as a benign yet totally incomprehensible foreign good when they were not transfixed on the sensational stories of violence reported by fear mongering media outlets. [Read more…]

Sara Caudill

Spirited Away

In 2002, Sara cut class on Halloween, got stuck in DC’s very typical, round-the-clock gridlock traffic, and showed up forty-five minutes late for the last showing of Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away in some dingy art house theater.

She went into the theater thinking it was going to be pretty, weird, and different.  She came out of the theater thinking all the same things; plus, she wanted to learn more about this ‘Japan’ country that made the phenomenal film.

That experience brings Sara to where she is today—an East Asian Studies major with hopes of studying abroad in Japan next year.  She still loves Miyazaki, and she still wants to learn everything she can about Japan.