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Readings About JGC

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Some suggested readings on topics around Japanese game culture. This is not meant to be comprehensive, but to give you starting points. When in doubt read something by Peter W. Galbraith, IMHO he is the best writer out there on otaku culture.


  • Galbraith, Patrick. The Otaku Encyclopedia is a good place to start reading about fan culture in Japan.
  • Ashcroft, Brian. Arcade Mania: The Turbo-Charged World of Japan's Game Centers. Tokyo: Kodansha International, 2008. Print.
  • Schilling, The Encyclopedia of Japanese Pop Culture is a readable collection of short explanations of pop culture phenomena from Godzilla to Pachinko. This is meant to be read from cover to cover more than as a comprehensive encyclopedia.


There are a number of academic journals that have content about Japanese game culture.

  • Mechademia: A beautiful journal specifically about Japanese visual culture and the academy.
"Mechademia’s subject area extends from manga and anime to game design, fashion, graphics, packaging, and toy industries, as well as a broad range of fan practices related to popular culture in Japan."
Search for Japan.

Other Resources

  • GameCenter CX: is a TV series from Japan where old games are played and discussed. Some episodes have interviews with original designers. There are versions with English subtitles on YouTube and there is dubbed box set on Amazon.
  • Japan Game Stock: sells retro games and consoles and ships to North America


Here are readings organized by subjects.


Galbraith, Patrick W. "Akihabara: Conditioning a Public "Otaku" Image." Mechademia 5 (2010): 210-30. Print. See Akihabara for more.


Galbraith, Patrick W. "Bishōjo Games: ‘Techno-Intimacy’ and the Virtually Human in Japan." Game Studies 11.2 (2011).


Ashcroft, Brian. Arcade Mania: The Turbo-Charged World of Japan's Game Centers. Tokyo: Kodansha International, 2008. Print. A good and visual introduction to Japanese arcades.

Game Culture

Shaw, Adrienne. "What Is Video Game Culture? Cultural Studies and Game Studies." Games and Culture 5.4 (2010): 403-24. Print.


Consalvo, Mia. "Console Video Games and Global Corporations: Creating a Hybrid Culture." New Media Society 8.1 (2006): 117-37. Print.


Aoyama, Yuko, and Hiro Izushi. "Hardware Gimmick or Cultural Innovation? Technological, Cultural, and Social Foundations of the Japanese Video Game Industry." Research Policy 32 (2003): 423-44. Print.
Izushi, Hiro, and yuko Aoyama. "Industry Evolution and Cross-Sectoral Skill Transfers: A Comparative Analysis of the Video Game Industry in Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom." Environment and Planning A 38.10: 1843 – 61. Print.


* Carey, Peter. Wrong About Japan is a short and readable book by novelist Peter Carey about a trip to Japan with his son to learn about manga and anime. The book relates some of the interviews, explores otaku culture and, as the title suggests, discusses how a little knowledge about Japan can be dangerous.


Inoue, Osamu. Nintendo Magic: Winning the Videogame Wars. Trans. Starr, Paul Tuttle. New York: Vertical, 2010. Print.


Carey, Peter. Wrong About Japan: A Father's Journey with His Son. London: Faber and Faber, 2005. Print.


Start with David Slotz's Pachinko Nation and then see the other readings listed under Pachinko.

Science Fiction and Cyberpunk in Japan

Try Brown, Steven T. Tokyo Cyberpunk: Posthumanism in Japanese Visual Culture. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010. Print. Brown looks closely at a number of Japanese cyberpunk classics starting with Akira.

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