Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Ero ka? Guro nanoka? Erotic Grotesque Nonsense and Escalation in Mass Culture
by Goehrke, April M., Ph.D., New York University, 2018, 184; 10750861
Abstract (Summary)

With its roots in 1920’s and 30’s Japan, the term eroguro nansensu (erotic grotesque nonsense) refers to an artistic movement with an aesthetic that focuses on grotesque visuals and bizarre humor. My project is to examine the contemporary form of eroguro nansensu as an avenue for considering how mass culture changes and develops over time. Focusing on how mass culture changes is important because it could potentially illuminate breaks/openings where something can escape the hegemony of the culture industry. The method of change, and potential mode of escape from the culture industry that I identify here is escalation. Escalation both contains and explains mass culture’s propensity towards repetition but also allows for a certain amount of change. Eroguro nansensu may also have a unique place to reflect on and potentially critique the manga (comic) industry and what this says about Japanese culture more generally. While eroguro nansensu may be rejected by many due to the intensity of the erotic and grotesque imagery, or ignored as simply meaningless nonsense, there are enough artists and fans interested in this aesthetic that there is hidden potential here that I aim to bring into the light. Nonetheless, no extended scholarly work has yet been done on the contemporary revival of eroguro nansensu as a genre of manga in the last few decades of the 20th century. I am attempting to fill in some of that gap with my own analysis as well as by presenting information on contemporary eroguro nansensu as a mass culture movement, about which little has been written in English or Japanese to date. In my dissertation I begin with the historical background of eroguro nansensu, and proceed through analysis of its use of humor and aesthetics, all as a means of considering mass culture and its critique.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Looser, Thomas
Commitee: Ivy, Marilyn, Oyama, Sayuri, Roberts, Moss, Shimabuku, Annmaria
School: New York University
Department: East Asian Studies
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 79/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, Asian History, Asian Studies
Keywords: Eroguro nansensu, Erotic grotesque nonsense, Manga, Mass culture, Shintaro, Kago, Suehiro, Maruo
Publication Number: 10750861
ISBN: 978-0-438-17132-9
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