Title: An animated imbalance: Japan’s television heroines in Asia
Journal / Publication: International Communication Gazette
Issue: 3 – 4
Pages: 293 – 310
Authors: Cooper-Chen, Anne
Along with Japanese children, other Asian children are watching such cartoon shows as Doraemon, Dragonball Z and Sailor Moon. Animated cartoons, accounting for 58.3 percent of Japan’s television exports, reach Asia’s large youth population, just as the birth rate in Japan is declining. In Asia, animation constitutes the largest category of children’s television programming (28.4 percent) – almost all of it imported. However, cartoons do not rank high on research agendas; the girls’ market is particularly neglected, even though Asian girls more than boys may receive a television `education’ at home. This study found that television cartoons marketed toward boys out-number girls’ cartoons by 2:1 on domestic and satellite channels. Using responses from an Internet mailing list devoted to Japanese cartoons marketed to girls, the author identified Sailor Moon as the most influential series of the 1990s. The study explored Sailor Moon as a role model as well as the heroines of programs broadcast on pan-Asia satellite services. It finds the lack of children’s television imports into Japan of greater concern than the values or volume of Japan’s cartoon exports to Asia.