Professor of Japanese Culture and Media Studies
Ian Condry is a cultural anthropologist and professor in Comparative Media Studies/Writing with an affiliated appointment in Anthropology. His book, The Soul of Anime: Collaborative Creativity and Japan’s Media Success Story, is part of the Experimental Futures series at Duke University Press. He argues that the global success of Japanese animation arises from "collaborative creativity" between official producers and fan remixers, between industries of manga, merchandise, and more, and so 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.
In the fall of 2019, he launched the MIIT Spatial Sound Lab, a community production studio for immersive, multiperspective, sonic experimentation. Among the goals is to provide a space for using sound to disrupt hierarchies, reduce inequalities, and cross borders. He is co-organizer of Dissolve Music, a sound conference and music festival, in 2018 and 2020 (mitdissolve.com).
Since 2018, he is the radio DJ for Near and Far, a Japanese hip-hop show, on WMBR 88.1FM, Cambridge, and online at wmbr.org, alternating Wednesdays, 6-7pm. Archive at mixcloud.com/iancondry.
Since 2006, he has organized the MIT/Harvard Cool Japan research project, which explores the critical potential of of popular culture.
He is currently working on a book about musicians on the margins in Tokyo, Boston, and Berlin.
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.
||"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
||"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
||"Japanese Popular Music," in The Routledge Handbook of Japanese Culture and Society, Theodore Bestor and Victoria Bestor, eds., London: Routledge, pp. 238-260
||"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
||"Anime Creativity: Transnational Samurai and the Quest for Cool Japan," Theory, Culture and Society, 26(2-3), May 2009, pp. 25
||"Youth, Intimacy, and Blood: Media and Nationalism in Contemporary Japan," Japan Focus, http://japanfocus.org/-Ian-Condry/2403, March 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
||"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
||Japan Foundation Grant, "Uses of Social Media: A Japan-US Comparison"
||National Science Foundation, Cultural Anthropology Research Grant for "Global Anime"
||Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Grant for "Global Anime"
||Program on US-Japan Relations, Advanced Research Fellowship, Harvard