THAT is a great mystery. There are many elements to examine in this Anne topic, and you can approach it from different perspectives: historical, anthropological, cultural, economical, literary, gender theory and more. My Canadian-born friend blames General Macarthur and the Marshall plan for reconstructing Japanese cultural life for the popularization of Anne as an alternative model to budhist models of women's role in society :-)
Some of the Buttercups (one of the largest Anne & L.M.Montgomery fan clubs in Japan) members, mostly 30s-40s women, are not pleased by questions such as "Why do Japanese love Anne so much?", because they are aware of Anne's popularity in European countries, Australia, China and Taiwan and more. They do not feel that the appreciation of Anne is solely a Japanese phenomenon.
There is a point to be made that unlike other countries, Japan has undertaken the commercialization and commodification of Anne as a popular culture and media image, and have made PEI a tourist destination. Other countries have not developed an 'Anne businesses' such as those found in Japan: importing 'Anne-style' homes from Canada, creating 'Anne tours' to PEI and teaching English with L.M. Montgomery texts. New Anne-themed materials such as animation & movies, theatre performances, periodical magazines & books are constantly being made available in Japan. Interestingly enough, modern kids in Japan do not seem to read the Anne books let alone any novels. They prefer to read Manga/comic books. As a result, many comic versions of Anne books already have been published. This 'Anne industry' in Japan is trying to cultivate and educate the next generation to consume Anne things. In Canada, such a job, educating the next generations, has done by L.M. Montgomery Institute in Prince Edward Island. Yet, in comparison to the case of Japan, their efforts have not been spread among general readers; their focus is largely academic.
Informative articles on this topic:
"The Popularity of Anne of Green Gables in Japan: A Study of Hanako Muraoka's Translation of L.M. Montgomery's Novel and Its Reception" by Daniele Allard. (Unpublished Dissertation. University of Montreal, 2002)
"Taishu Bunka and Anne Clubs in Japan" by Daniele Allard. Making Avonlea: L.M. Montgomery and Popular Culture. University of Toronto Press, 2002, pp.295-309.
Daniele's short essay entitled _Taishu Bunka and Anne Clubs in Japan_ is available at http://www.kcn.ne.jp/~nieva/nieva_news/nieva36.html and _Taishu Bunka and Anne Clubs in Japan 2_ is here at http://www.kcn.ne.jp/~nieva/nieva_news/nieva38.html and view also the sequel at http://www.kcn.ne.jp/~nieva/nieva_news/nieva40.html [Please scroll down to view ].
"Japanese Readings of Anne of Green Gables" by Yoshiko Akamatsu. L.M.Montgomery and Canadian Culture. University of Toronto Press, 1999. pp.201-212
"Anne of Red Hair: What Do the Japanese See in Anne of Green Gables?" by Calvin Trillin. L.M.Montgomery and Canadian Culture. University of Toronto Press, 1999. pp.213-221.
"Anne in Japanese Popular Culture" by Judy Stoffman. (Canadian Children's Literature, Fall/Winter 1998. No.91/92, pp.53-63.)
"The Forty Years of Anne of Green Gables in Japan" by Sumiko Yokogawa. Teaching and Learning Literature, March/April 1996. ISSN 1063-5092. Essmont Publishing.
"The Reception of Anne of Green Gables and Its popularity of Japan" by Yuko Katsura. OPU [Okayama Prefectural University] Faculty of Design Bulletin, vol2, no1, 1995. pp 39-44.
"L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables: The Japanese Connection" by Douglas Baldwin. Journal of Canadian Studies, vol.28, No.3, Fall 1993. pp.123-133.
The following book may also be of interest as it has three sections dealing with Anne in Japan, including my article An Influential Anne in Japan which you can also read online.
Lucy Maud Montgomery Album Edited by Alexandra Heilbron. Toronto: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, ISBN 1-55041-386-4, 1999.
Online articles include:
Anne of Osaka: Japan's obsession with Anne of Green Gables takes architectural form in a line of Victorian "farmhouses" by Murray Whyte
Cultural Tourists: L.M. Montgomery's Impact Globally
This page was created in April 4, 2004.
© Yuka Kajihara 2008
back to Yuka's LMM page