Rachael Hutchinson

Rachael Hutchinson
University of Delaware | UDel UD · Languages Literatures and Cultures

Doctor of Philosophy
Currently editing The Handbook of Japanese Games (Japan Documents Publishing/ University of Amsterdam Press).

About

50
Publications
21,317
Reads
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136
Citations
Citations since 2016
29 Research Items
101 Citations
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Introduction
Rachael Hutchinson currently works in the Department of Languages Literatures and Cultures, University of Delaware. She teaches Japanese language and translation as well as courses in Japanese culture, including literature, film, manga and videogames. Her recent publications are the article 'Fukasaku Kinji and Kojima Hideo Replay Hiroshima: Atomic Imagery and Cross-Media Memory,' the chapter 'Manga in the Mix: Naruto and Media Specificity' and the book 'Japanese Culture Through Videogames.'
Additional affiliations
September 2007 - April 2020
University of Delaware
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
Description
  • I teach Japanese language, literature and visual culture, including courses on manga, anime and videogames. I co-founded the Game Studies program at UD and am currently the director of the Asian Studies program.
Education
September 1996 - August 2000
University of Oxford
Field of study
  • Oriental Studies

Publications

Publications (50)
Article
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Taken by themselves, neither Disney nor Square Enix appears particularly successful at transcultural expression, although both are certainly marketing juggernauts in transmedia franchise operations (Smoodin, 1994; Consalvo, 2013). Disney may be understood in terms of American postwar cultural imperialism, while Square Enix is deeply rooted in conve...
Book
Japanese Role-playing Games: Genre, Representation, and Liminality in the JRPG examines the origins, boundaries, and transnational effects of the genre, addressing significant formal elements as well as narrative themes, character construction, and player involvement. Contributors from Japan, Europe, North America, and Australia employ a variety of...
Book
Japanese Role-playing Games: Genre, Representation, and Liminality in the JRPG examines the origins, boundaries, and transnational effects of the genre, addressing significant formal elements as well as narrative themes, character construction, and player involvement. Contributors from Japan, Europe, North America, and Australia employ a variety of...
Article
Full-text available
This essay examines the charge of colonial rhetoric in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo, 2017), taking into account the Japanese origin of the game and what “colonialism” means in the Japanese context. I investigate the game’s ideology in terms of how it is conveyed to players, not only on the representational plane of narrative, t...
Chapter
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In this essay, I reflect on my gameplay in 2020, the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. I explore how pandemic play was noticeably different to my regular habits of play, scheduling, setting objectives and engaging emotionally with the gameworld. The game environment emerged as the most important aspect of the game text for me, a shift in perspec...
Chapter
Kantai Collection is a media-mix phenomenon that began as an online videogame, in which Japanese Imperial warships are anthropomorphised as highly sexualised women. This chapter examines the videogame, manga and anime as part of a popular politicisation of World War Two by Japanese artists, also seen in blockbuster revisionist films. Kantai Collect...
Chapter
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Exploring Japanese media with students, I use manga in my culture classes to show how manga, anime and videogames are deeply interconnected in the context of Japanese visual culture. This essay uses Naruto as a case study to show the remarkable consistency of Kishimoto Masashi’s visual style across all three media. Kishimoto’s work is able to move...
Chapter
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Japanese film censorship has consistently involved thought guidance on the one hand, teaching people how to think properly, and thought control on the other, shielding the public from dangerous ideas. Using films as a vehicle for promoting ideology was a strategic endeavour of both the Imperial and Occupation administrative systems, whether for na...
Article
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This essay examines how photography and news footage of the Hiroshima bomb have been used as a backdrop for the action genre in Japanese film and videogames. The case studies are Fukasaku Kinji’s film Battles without Honor or Humanity (1973), and Kojima Hideo’s videogame Metal Gear Solid (1998). Fukasaku’s opening sequence employs photographic stil...
Chapter
This chapter examines critical and fan receptions of Katamari Damacy (Namco, 2004) as ‘bizarre,’ placing it in a broader context of mukokuseki (culturally odourless) aesthetics common in Japanese media. Celebrating and packaging Japanese material culture for consumption at home and abroad, Katamari Damacy provides nostalgia for an idealized ‘tradit...
Chapter
Kojima Hideo’s Metal Gear Solid series (1987-2016) sets the player’s individual heroism against a national narrative of defeat in World War II. This chapter analyzes Kojima’s use of Hiroshima and violence in the series, considering self-reflexive game design, player agency and embodiment, to show how players are forced to confront their own capacit...
Chapter
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This chapter examines nuclear discourse in the Final Fantasy series (1987-2016), placing the games in context of Japanese attitudes towards nuclear energy and weapons. Direct mention of nuclear weapons in the early games gives way to allegory in later games, exploring connections between government, industry, mining and technology. Close readings o...
Chapter
The chapter analyzes Japanese war-themed videogames, and the problems of creating a successful war game in a market very different to that of North America. Japanese war games are most often set in the feudal past, creating a mythologized or romantic vision of war that distances players from historical reality. The chapter examines strategies that...
Chapter
This chapter analyzes Ōkami (Clover Studio, 2006) as a self-conscious export product which successfully appeals to players, with or without expertise in Japanese language, culture and history. The game is analyzed with respect to Shinto myth, Japanese legend, storytelling techniques and the idea of ‘history.’ The wolf avatar is contextualized in te...
Chapter
A postcolonial reading of the SoulCalibur series (1995-2018) shows how Japan’s colonial past has impacted the fighting game genre, evident in game visuals, art books and peripherals, as well as in localization strategies. Korean characters are seen as particularly problematic, not only in fighting games but also in sports games and the action-adven...
Chapter
This chapter explores the cliché of the absent parent in Japanese role-playing games (JRPGs), showing its relation to quest-based gameplay and linguistic immersion in the social environment of the gameworld. Defining elements of the JRPG are discussed, and the medium is compared to the shishōsetsu (I-novel) in its ability to voice anxiety and addre...
Book
Examining a wide range of Japanese videogames, including arcade fighting games, PC-based strategy games and console JRPGs, this book assesses their cultural significance and shows how gameplay and context can be analysed together to understand videogames as a dynamic mode of artistic expression. Well-known titles such as Final Fantasy, Metal Gear...
Chapter
This chapter analyzes the conjunction of bioethics with nuclear fears in Japanese videogames of the mid-1990s, specifically Final Fantasy, Metal Gear Solid, Tekken and Resident Evil. Games are situated in their social, medical and legal context to show Japanese attitudes towards assisted reproduction, organ transplantation, brain death and human cl...
Chapter
This chapter analyzes the development of Japanese fighting games from Karate Champ (Technōs, 1984) and Street Fighter (Capcom, 1987) through to Virtua Fighter (Sega, 1993) and Tekken (Namco, 1994). The specificities of character construction and story development are outlined for the fighting game genre, with strict time limits and a diffuse narra...
Article
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This paper looks beyond the ‘media mix’ to explore some different ways of thinking about ‘transmedia’ in Japanese videogames. I examine several games and genres as artworks that pass through and across different mediums – of space, art, hardware and authorial roles – to tell their stories. Apart from the grand narrative arcs of the JRPG, I consider...
Chapter
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This essay examines the videogame medium as a vehicle for social and political critique, arguing that the player's embodiment in the gameworld creates an immersive, personal experience of the game's ideology. The essay overviews nuclear discourse in Japan, situating videogames in relation to other narrative forms such as literature, film, drama and...
Chapter
Full-text available
Hutchinson examines the Japanese fighting game genre, specifically the SoulCalibur series, within the historical context of colonial East Asia. Taking a qualitative approach to game content and culture, she examines the politics of games as media artefacts which can perpetuate ideology, particularly through racial stereotype. Hutchinson compares th...
Book
The Routledge Handbook of Modern Japanese Literature provides a comprehensive overview of how we study Japanese literature today. Rather than taking a purely chronological approach to the content, the chapters survey the state of the field through a number of pressing issues and themes, examining the ways in which it is possible to read modern Japa...
Chapter
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Nagai Kafū is a complex writer who has been labeled with many different ‘isms’, from hedonism and eroticism to Modernism and Occidentalism. Feminism is not one of the labels usually associated with either Kafū the person or his writing. However, placing Kafū in his historical context, we see a remarkable degree of empathy with women and close atten...
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This article examines Kitano Takeshi's film Kikujiro (Kikujirō no Natsu, 1999) from two directions: first, as an as an experiment in moving versus still photography, and second, as an exploration of time, memory and Japanese identity. I argue that it is in Kitano's cinematic use of elements from the kabuki drama that the two aspects come together....
Article
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This essay examines the effect of gender stereotypes on American undergraduate players of Japanese fighting games such as Soul Calibur, Tekken and Virtua Fighter. Player reactions to representations of gender are examined to discover whether stereotypes have any effect on processes of player-character identification and immersion in the game. Gende...
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Censorship in Japan has seen many changes over the last 150 years and each successive system of rule has possessed its own censorship laws, regulations, and methods of enforcement. Yet what has remained constant through these many upheavals has been the process of negotiation between censor and artist that can be seen across the cultural media of m...
Chapter
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This chapter examines nuclear discourse in the Square Enix game Final Fantasy X (2001), and what it means for players and students to play this game today, in the context of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.
Book
This collection of essays examines a number of artistic forms in order to demonstrate the complexity of censorship practice in modern Japan. Essays on music, art, literature, film and kabuki theatre analyze the various methods by which artists engaged with state censors in getting their work into the public domain. This book differs from other work...
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Tezuka Osamu’s epic series, The Phoenix (Hi no tori), ranges across space and time as it grapples with the nature of national identity, humanity’s place in the natural world, and the human drive to community, nation, empire and war. Through the series Tezuka interrogates the historical origins of the Yamato nation, simultaneously revealing the proc...
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The two volumes under review are part of the recent rise in representation and identity studies. Both examine Nakagami Kenji's (1946-1992) negotiation of buraku minority identity in relation to the Japanese mainstream, considering his works in terms of how he used monogatari (narrative/tale) to challenge and problematize his positioning within nati...
Article
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This is a book review, comparing and contrasting two books published on the Japanese writer Nakagami Kenji.
Book
Describes how writer Nagai Kafuu (1879-1959) used his experience of the West to reconcile modernization and Japanese identity. Nagai Kafuu (1879-1959) spent more time abroad than any other writer of his generation, firing the Japanese imagination with his visions of America and France. Applying the theoretical framework of Occidentalism to Japanese...
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Naruse Mikio (1905–1969) learned and practiced filmmaking in the mid-twentieth century, a time when Japan experienced the massive upheavals of war and occupation as well as societal and ideological change. Fascist, democratic, and citizens' rights movements took place in the context of a burgeoning consumer culture and mass media that drew attentio...
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This special issue came about as the result of discussion following a panel on Japanese censorship at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Association for Asian Studies conference, as always an excellent venue for sharing ideas and fostering collaborative projects. The topic of censorship struck a chord as particularly relevant to the kinds of societies in wh...
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Reading One Wonderful Sunday (Subarashiki Nichiyōbi, 1947) as counter-discursive film, this paper challenges humanist readings of the film to argue for a more critical commentary on the problematic postwar. The essay investigates the labels of ‘pro-democratic’ and ‘compliant’ director ascribed to Kurosawa Akira (1910–98), stemming from the receptio...
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This article analyzes the quick-response binary combat game genre, suggesting that so-called "finger-twitch" games, often maligned by academics, are both complex and significant for cultural studies. While the game structure of binary combat is most often seen in terms of simple entertainment, lacking narrative power and encouraging an apathetic an...
Article
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Positioning the Observer Interrogations of Alterity in Nagai Kafû’s Amerika Monogatari RACHAEL HUTCHINSON O NE of a growing number of Meiji writers and intellectuals who traveled to the West in search of new knowledge and experience, Nagai Kafû (1879–1959) sailed for America on the Shinanomaru on 22 September 1903. He was to stay in that country fo...
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Shadows on the Screen: Tanizaki Jun'ichirō on Cinema and “Oriental” Aesthetics. By LamarreThomas. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, Center for Japanese Studies, 2005. xiv, 408 pp. $30.00 (paper). - Volume 66 Issue 1 - Rachael Hutchinson
Chapter
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There are many ways to read the relationship between a film and its remake: in terms of fidelity, imitation, plagiarism, appropriation, or other enactments of power. For the most part, such models rely on a binary system to analyse the relationship between two films in isolation from their surroundings. In this chapter I wish to examine such a rela...
Book
This book examines Japan’s relationship with a series of posited Others, and the consequences of this relationship for modern Japanese literature. The ‘Others’ of the title comprise the imagined entities which literary authors have constructed as the defining Other for the Japanese Self. ‘Japan’ will be seen as an evolving, constantly changing, his...
Article
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douglas slaymaker (ed.): confluences: postwar japan and france. (michigan monograph series in japanese studies, 42.) vii, 185 pp. ann arbor: center for japanese studies, university of michigan, 2002. $60. - - Volume 68 Issue 2 - rachael hutchinson
Article
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This article questions the conventional reading of Nagai Kaf ˆ (1879-1959) as a non-critical writer, arguing that Kaf ˆ 's critique of Meiji modernization may be seen most clearly in his publications of 1909-10, when he had just returned to Japan after five years in America and France. Two of these returnee stories are examined to demonstrate how K...

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