Ian Condry

Ian Condry
Affiliate Faculty
Professor of Japanese Cultural Studies
Room 14N-303


Ian Condry is a cultural anthropologist and professor in Global Studies and Languages with joint appointments in Comparative Media Studies and in Anthropology. His forthcoming book, The Soul of Anime: Collaborative Creativity and Japan’s Media Success Story, will be published in January 2013 as part of the Experimental Futures series at Duke University Press. He argues that the practices of "collaborative creativity" that we see in the global success of Japanese animation offers a model for understanding how media and culture are changing in the twenty-first century. He is also the author of Hip-Hop Japan: Rap and the Paths of Cultural Globalization (2006, Duke University Press), which was translated into Japanese and published as Nihon no Hip-Hop (2009, NTT Publications). The book explores ethnographically how hip-hop took root and developed in Japan, with a focus on Japanese musicians and their fans, including fieldwork in Tokyo nightclubs and recording studios. Overall, he is interested in "globalization from below," that is, how cultural movements spread transnationally without little push from corporations and governments. He is also founder and organizer of the MIT/Harvard Cool Japan research project. Since 2006, Cool Japan presents seminars, conferences and artistic performances aimed at examining the cultural connections, dangerous distortions and critical potential of popular culture. He received his BA from Harvard in Government in 1987 and a PhD in Anthropology from Yale in 1999. He has been teaching at MIT since 2002.

Selected Publications

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 "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 "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: Transnational Samurai and 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/-Ian-Condry/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


Anime: Transnational Media and Culture


Intro to Media Studies


Theory and Methods in Media Studies II


Gender and Japanese Popular Culture



2010 Japan Foundation Grant, "Uses of Social Media: A Japan-US Comparison"
2006 National Science Foundation, Cultural Anthropology Research Grant for "Global Anime"
2006 Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Grant for "Global Anime"
2006-2007 Program on US-Japan Relations, Advanced Research Fellowship, Harvard