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Palgrave Macmillan

The Monstrous-Feminine in Contemporary Japanese Popular Culture

  • Book
  • © 2018


  • The first sustained English-language study dedicated to the monstrous-feminine in contemporary Japanese popular culture
  • Engages both thinkers who provide important insights into negative delineations of the feminine and critics that can help us to think more affirmatively about female monstrosity in relation to postmodernity
  • Contributes to a growing field of critical engagements with Japanese popular culture as a meaningful site for reproducing, rethinking, and subverting established notions of identity and systems of knowledge

Part of the book series: East Asian Popular Culture (EAPC)

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Table of contents (7 chapters)


About this book

This book explores the monstrous-feminine in Japanese popular culture, produced from the late years of the 1980s through to the new millennium. Raechel Dumas examines the role of female monsters in selected works of fiction, manga, film, and video games, offering a trans-genre, trans-media analysis of this enduring trope. The book focuses on several iterations of the monstrous-feminine in contemporary Japan: the self-replicating shōjo in horror, monstrous mothers in science fiction, female ghosts and suburban hauntings in cinema, female monsters and public violence in survival horror games, and the rebellious female body in mytho-fiction. Situating the titles examined here amid discourses of crisis that have materialized in contemporary Japan, Dumas illuminates the ambivalent pleasure of the monstrous-feminine as a trope that both articulates anxieties centered on shifting configurations of subjectivity and nationhood, and elaborates novel possibilities for identity negotiation and social formation in a period marked by dramatic change.


“Covering material from novels to manga to video games, this book is wide-ranging, thorough and profound in its analytical technique, and substantial in its interpretations of the social critiques of its primary texts. Raechel Dumas provides a solid contextualisation of the material she covers, situating the monstrous-feminine in the political and economic conditions of contemporary Japan. This contextualisation allows Dumas to demonstrate how these texts critique Japan by highlighting the changing value systems at play, which threaten notions of social stability and traditional ideology.” (Timothy Iles, Associate Professor of Japanese Studies, Department of Pacific and Asian Studies, University of Victoria, Canada)

Authors and Affiliations

  • Department of Classics and Humanities, San Diego State University, San Diego, USA

    Raechel Dumas

About the author

Raechel Dumas is Assistant Professor of Humanities at San Diego State University, USA.

Bibliographic Information

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