UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Transnational consumption of Japanese popular culture : the case of anime and cosplay subculture Ahmed Sayed, Basant


In the twenty-first century, emerging digital and network communications have facilitated the widespread circulation and expansion of Japanese anime (animation) and manga (comics) cultures to all parts of the world. Today, anime and manga fans across the world interact and engage with each other through social media and other forms of mass media, creating global fan communities. Japanese anime first came to the attention of Egyptian children, teens, and young adults in the 1990s, when Arabic-dubbed versions of the animated television programs Mazinger-Z and Grindizer aired on the national television network. They immediately had a significant influence on Egyptians, rapidly gaining popularity throughout the Arab world and the Middle East. With the technological turn of the new millennium and the increased accessibility of the internet and social media in the second decade of the 21st century, Egyptians learned about the broad subculture surrounding anime and manga and have had a growing appetite for it ever since. Amid this rise in the popularity of anime subculture in Egypt, anime and cosplay conventions, particularly EGYcon, have been increasingly popular. Egyptian anime fans use such spaces to engage in play, generate social relationships and express their interest in anime and cosplay away from the patriarchal social gaze that can be critical to the fandom activities. For example, they can engage in cross-gender play considered transgressive to gender expectations. My research primarily explores the rise in the popularity of anime culture in Egypt and its connections to Japan starting from 2010 until the year 2020. I examine Egyptians’ use of Japanese anime and cosplay as transnational products to negotiate individual identities, and resist Egyptian societal ideologies restricting freedom of self-expression, particularly regarding gender and religion. My fieldwork included participant observation at the 6th annual EGYcon convention in Cairo, Egypt on February 8th, 2019, at Tokyo Comic Con in Tokyo, Japan in November 22-24, 2019, and at Akihabara anime shopping district in Tokyo, Japan in November 25-26, 2019.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International