It's October 2017, and I just requested a new user name. My name is now Rachel, in case anyone's interested.
I'm a cultural anthropologist (supposedly) with an M.A. in East Asian Studies from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and an M.A. and "Master of Philosophy" (whatever that it is) in anthropology from Columbia University. I am also terminally ABD at Columbia, with no intention of ever finishing my dissertation. (It took me about 16 years to realize that I hate academia and that the absence or presence of a "Ph.D." following my name would make little difference in my life or affect my personal happiness one way or the other.)
I'm an "expert" on manga, particularly shoujo manga, but that does not mean that I have read every manga to be found on the shelves of Barnes & Noble. My expertise is on the history of manga, the manga industry, the place of manga in the lives of contemporary Japanese, etc. All subjects I find endlessly fascinating, but which your average One Piece fan couldn't care less about.
I have been an Associate Professor at Kyoto Seika University, Japan, since April 1, 2000 (Fool's Day!), first in the School of Cartoon and Comic Art in the Faculty of Art, then in the School of Manga Production in the Faculty of Manga, and currently in the Faculty of Manga generally, without affiliation to a particular school in the Faculty. I teach courses on the sociocultural aspects of manga, non-Japanese comics, etc., and these days I even teach ESL. (Eek!)
I translated probably about 5000 pages of manga for Viz Comics from 1990 to 1999, wrote a column on shoujo manga for the magazine Animerica before most Anglophones had even heard of the genre, and have done plenty of freelance writing on various topics in both English and Japanese. I was a judge in the Asahi Newspaper's Tezuka Osamu Culture Award for three years.
My interests include gender and sexuality, social justice, late 19th/early 20th century popular literature, Ursula K. LeGuin, lots of geeky stuff (Star Trek, Star Wars, Tolkien, Harry Potter, etc.), history in general...all kinds of stuff.
If someone wants to check on some particular detail in an article, it can't hurt to ask me. If you don't get an answer, it probably means 1) I'm too busy, 2) I don't have the answer, or 3) I don't think it's a question worth answering. Possibly all of the above.
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