1999 Ph.D. Yale
1995 M.Phil. Yale
1987 B.A. Harvard
Ian Condry is a cultural anthropologist who specializes in media, popular culture, and globalization with a focus on contemporary Japan and the US. His current research interests include social media, in particular the ways platforms for creative communities offer new possibilities for education, the arts, global health, business and political participation. These areas relate to his earlier research on Japanese hip-hop and anime by attending to practices of cultural innovation that go global.
In his most recent book, The Soul of Anime: Collaborative Creativity and Japan's Media Success Story, he explores the emergence of anime, Japanese animated film and television, as a global cultural phenomenon. Drawing on ethnographic research, including interviews with artists at some of Tokyo's leading animation studios--such as Madhouse, Gonzo, Aniplex, and Studio Ghibli-he discusses how anime's fictional characters and worlds become platforms for collaborative creativity. He argues that the global success of Japanese animation has grown out of a collective social energy that operates across industries--including those that produce film, television, manga (comic books), and toys and other licensed merchandise--and connects fans to the creators of anime. For Condry, this collective social energy is the soul of anime.
His first book Hip-Hop Japan: Rap and the Paths of Cultural Globalization was published in October 2006 by Duke University Press. The Japanese translation, Nihon no Hip-Hop, was published in 2009 by NTT Publications. It is an ethnography of the Japanese rap music scene, exploring issues of race, gender, language, popular music history, and cultural politics primarily through the perspectives of Japanese musicians. Through fieldwork starting 1995-97, he focused on the "genba" (nightclubs, or "actual site") of Japan's hip-hop scene. He argues that the paths of cultural globalization lead through specific sites of performance, such as nightclubs and recording studios. Such locations help us more deeply understand the dialogue between global/local, producer/consumer, artist/industry.
He has begun a new research project on social media, online platforms, and creative communities. His current interests build on the findings of his hip-hop and anime research. From hip-hop, he learned that night clubs were crucial for building the music scene by providing spaces for socializing, networking, and performance. Competition and cooperation amidst J-Hip-Hop's "families" of rap groups led to a diversity of voices and styles that evolved over time. From anime, he found that the global success of Japanese animation hinged on collaboration across categories of producers, including the connections between manga (comics), toys, and other merchandise, as well as building on the creative energy of fans. This perspective contrasts with those that focus on "the anime industry" or those that maintain a distinction between producers and audience. Instead, I found that "collaborative that operates across categories of producers and which connects producers and fans is key.
Since January 2006, he has been organizing the research project MIT/Harvard Cool Japan research project. The project involves colloquia, cultural performances, and international conferences to examine the cultural connections, dangerous distortions, and critical potential of popular culture.
2013 The Soul of Anime: Collaborative Creativity and Japan’s Media Success Story, * [sample] * Durham, NC: Duke University Press, hardcover and paperback, 220 pp. Paperback 2nd printing. Translated as Anime no tamashii: kyoudou suru souzou no genba, transl. Tetsuro Shimauchi, NTT Publishing, February 2014, 360pp
2006 Hip-Hop Japan: Rap and the Paths of Cultural Globalization, Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 249 pp., hardcover and paperback (2006). Paperback in 2nd printing. Translated as Nihon no hippu hoppu: bunka gurobarizeshon no “genba”, Tokyo, Japan: NTT Publishing, May 2009, 380 pp.
Articles in Refereed Journals
2013 “Social Energy and Anime Success,” Open Platform for Japan Studies, Keio SFC, 1(1): 23-45.
2011 “Post-3/11 Japan and the Radical Recontextualization of Value: Music, Social Media, and End-Around Strategies for Cultural Action,” International Journal of Japanese Sociology, 20(1), November 2011, pp. 3-13.
2011 “Touching Japanese Popular Culture: From Flows to Contact in Ethnographic Analysis,” Japanese Studies, 31(1), May 2011, pp. 11-22.
2010 “Dark Energy: What Fansubs Reveal About the Copyright Wars,” Mechademia 5: Fanthropologies, p. 193-209. Published simultaneously in Japanese in Hitotsubashi Business Review, 58(3): 52-66, special issue on Cool Japan.
2009 “Anime Creativity: Characters and Premises in the Quest for Cool Japan,” Theory, Culture and Society, 26(2-3), May 2009, pp. 25.
2007 “Youth, Intimacy, and Blood: Media and Nationalism in Contemporary Japan,” Japan Focus, http://japanfocus.org/products/details/2403, March 2007.
2007 “Yellow B-Boys and Black Culture: Towards Transnational Cultural Politics of Race through Japanese Hip-Hop,” Positions: East Asia Cultures Critique, 15(3): 637-671.
2004 “Cultures of Music Piracy: An Ethnographic Comparison of the US and Japan,” International Journal of Cultural Studies, 7(3): 343-363. Reprinted in Popular Music, Vol. 4: Cultures and Subcultures, Chris Rojek, ed., August 2011, SAGE Benchmarks in Culture and Society series, London: SAGE.
Chapters in Books
2011 “Love Revolution: Anime, Masculinity, and the Future,” in Recreating Japanese Men, Sabine Fruhstuck and Anne Walthall, eds., Berkeley: University of California Press, pp. 262-283.
2011 “Japanese Popular Music,” in The Routledge Handbook of Japanese Culture and Society, Theodore Bestor and Victoria Bestor, eds., London: Routledge, pp. 238-260.
2010 “Hosoda Mamoru, Ekonte to Anime no Tamashii” (Mamoru Hosoda, Storyboards and the Soul of Anime) published in Japanese in Anime wa ekkyô suru (Anime is Transgression), Ueno, Toshiya, ed. (Iwanami Publishers: Tokyo, Japan).
2006 “Japanese Hip-Hop and the Globalization of Popular Culture,” (reprinted) in Conformity and Conflict: Readings in Cultural Anthropology, 12th edition, eds. James Spradley and David McCurdy, Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon, pp. 370-385.
2004 “B-Boys and B-Girls: Rap Fandom and Consumer Culture in Japan,” in Fanning the Flames: Fans and Consumer Culture in Contemporary Japan, ed. William Kelly, Albany: SUNY Press, pp. 17-39.
2001 “Japanese Hip-Hop and the Globalization of Popular Culture,” in Urban Life: Readings in the Anthropology of the City, 4th ed. eds. George Gmelch and Walter Zenner, Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press, pp. 372-387.
2001 “A History of Japanese Hip-Hop: Street Dance, Club Scene, Pop Market,” in Global Noise: Rap and Hip-Hop Outside the U.S.A., ed. Tony Mitchell, Hanover, NH: Wesleyan University Press/University Press of New England, pp. 222-247.
2000 “The Social Production of Difference: Imitation and Authenticity in Japanese Rap Music,” in Transactions, Transgressions, Transformations: American Culture in Western Europe and Japan, eds. Uta Poiger and Heide Fehrenbach, New York: Berghan Books, pp. 166-184.
Other Publications -- Non-Refereed
2005 “Chosakuken shingai bôshisaku no paradokkusu: Sony, Avex ga ‘kopii kinshi’ o akirameta riyû” [The Anti-Piracy Paradox: Why Sony and Avex Gave Up on Copy-Control CDs], Shûkan Tôyô Keizai [Eastern Economy Weekly], 5933: 112-13 (Short Essay).
2005 “Must-Download TV and Cool Japan,” Anthropology News, 46(1): 53 (Short Essay).
2013 “China with a Cut: Urban Youth, Music, and Globalization” by Jeroen de Kloet, book review for American Anthropologist, 115(4): 383-84.
2006 Pikachu’s Global Adventure: The Rise and Fall of Pokemon ed. Joseph Tobin in Journal of Asian Studies, 65(1): 200-202.
2003 The Worlds of Japanese Popular Culture ed. D. P. Martinez in American Ethnologist, 30(2): 322-324.
2001 Blue Nippon: Authenticating Jazz in Japan by E. Taylor Atkins in Current Musicology, 71-73: 534-545.
2004 “Katana Envy” Essay Film Review in Education About Asia, Vol. 9, No. 3, pp. 70-72.