• Rationalized Passions: Sherlock and Nation-branded Boy Booms in Japan

    Lori Morimoto (see profile)
    Fans (Persons), Television
    Item Type:
    Conference paper
    Conf. Title:
    Society for Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference
    Conf. Org.:
    Society for Cinema and Media Studies
    Conf. Loc.:
    Montreal, Canada
    Conf. Date:
    March 27, 2015
    Japanese fans, Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch, Nation-branding, Fan studies
    Permanent URL:
    In December 2012, Benedict Cumberbatch arrived in Japan for the first of two "Star Trek Into Darkness" junkets and was greeted at the airport by 500 Japanese fans of his work in the BBC drama "Sherlock" (2010-), the first two seasons of which had aired on subscription satellite channels to niche acclaim. This unanticipated turnout did not go unnoticed by the Japanese press, which quickly launched a Sherlock-centered Cumberbatch publishing storm that culminated in his crowning as the "King of Magazines" by the editor of Screen magazine in July 2013. By the end of the year, Cumberbatch's popularity had been parlayed into a full-blown boom that foregrounded the perceived gentlemanly 'Britishness' of not only Cumberbatch, but also such stars as Tom Hiddleston, Ben Whishaw, James McAvoy and other 'princes' of the UK film and television world. Their emerging popularity was described on the cover of one publication as "the second coming of the British boy boom." (Yamazaki 2014), and certainly at first glance this phenomenon recalls nothing so much as the late-1980s popularity of the 'beautiful princes' of British heritage film. Together, these two booms seem to beg consideration of the apparently Anglophilic appeal of British actors in Japan. However, their congruity with the Hong Kong star boom of the 1990s, as well as the Korean Wave of the 2000s, suggests a more far-reaching and increasingly rationalized strategy of channeling fan passions into star-centered nation branding within the Japanese media. In this paper, I posit the recent "Sherlock"-spurred 'British boy boom' in Japan as a continuation of Japanese mass media nation-branding strategies that began in the late 1980s.
    PowerPoint slides available here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/nag0igb2nbfpfvt/SCMS15PPT.pptx?dl=0
    Last Updated:
    7 years ago
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