A DEEP BOW OF GRATITUDE
These acknowledgments are actually a conclusion of sorts, a conclusion that also ushers in new beginnings, new perspectives, and a new generation of scholars. Mechademia began with an idea from a scholar attending SGMS (Schoolgirls and Mobilesuits Weekend Workshop as it was then called) in about 2003. SGMS was already a notable maverick event: not quite a seminar or conference, but not a convention either. Our founding goal had been to become a place for the scholars working in this emergent field to meet in discourse with the fans, who by that time were already vast in number and globally located. We felt it would encourage a fertile conversation, and indeed, it did. It also became evident that most of the scholars were also fans, and that this “field” was unique, in that despite the fact that we had no real place in the academy, we were developing an abundant and rich body of scholarship globally. And so, in 2006, we rolled out Mechademia 1: Emerging Worlds of Anime and Manga, published by the University of Minnesota Press.
Since that first book, we have published successive volumes annually, all with themes that speak to the diverse and challenging work found within anime and manga, also increasingly within fan art, fandom theory, gaming, and other media. As we grew, the field also grew, and the SGMS workshop became “SGMS: Mechademia Conference on Asian Popular Cultures.” We began to publish translated essays heretofore unavailable in English, yet extremely important to the literature being developed. Also, the volumes’ objects of study expanded from Japanese texts to works from across Asia and even the world at large. Our reputation for solid scholarship has increased, and our reach has extended beyond our shores. These achievements were made [End Page ix] possible by our editorial board—and most particularly by a few key individuals who made this series a landmark.
Michelle Ollie, our webmaster, was initially my coconspirator in establishing the series. Her knowledge of publishing and publicity—in addition to her friendship and support—helped to establish our excellent relationship with the University of Minnesota Press, and our wonderful Web presence (mechademia.org). Ursula Murray-Husted, whose lightning speed in all things related to images, has been responsible for resurrecting images in deplorable condition—too small, too washed out, too poorly rendered or scanned. And she can do it in a flash. Michael Baxter, living in Japan and adept at finding obscure artists and recalcitrant Japanese publishers in order to negotiate permissions, has been an invaluable ally and friend, and has been our “man on the ground” in Japan throughout our publication history. Andrea Horbinski, who began with SGMS as a young scholar, has made important editorial contributions to many volumes, most recently as our intrepid citations editor, checking and correcting the formal structure of the citations of each volume. Brian Ruh, Marc Hairston, and Patrick Drazen were our “otaku editors,” tirelessly checking titles, names, dates, and spellings of cited Japanese works for accuracy and suggesting links between works that we would otherwise have missed. Our spot illustrators—especially Rana Raeuchle and Barbara Guttmann—created our lovely illustrations, sometimes at the last minute.
We also experienced some painful losses during this period. Dr. Timothy Perper, who with his wife and collaborator Martha Cornog, was responsible for the review sections for most of the run, passed away in 2013. A biologist who specialized in sexuality studies, he found fertile ground for his research in manga and anime. His work is acknowledged in his field, and we are deeply grateful for the work he and Martha did for this series. Also in that year, our friend, collaborator, and board member, Nakatani Hajime, passed away. Hajime’s work
made a particularly important intervention in the growing body of literature on the materiality of writing and the connection between the body and calligraphy. In contrast to the predominant paradigm for understanding Chinese characters in terms of communicative instrumentality or lack thereof, Hajime’s serious attention to materiality drew on critical French philosophy. Although Derrida’s deconstruction of Western logocentricism in particular captured his imagination, Hajime also took to heart Derrida’s warning that...