Graduate School of International Culture and Communication Studies早稲田大学 国際コミュニケーション研究科


Suspensions of Concentration: Kimetsu no yaiba and Blockbuster in the Year of the Global Pandemic (Waseda University Anime Seminar)

Date and Time

19 and 20 March 2021 (14:00–19:00 JST or 06:00–11:00 CET)



Online (Webinar)



Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto and Bryan Hartzheim



The seminar is generously supported by Waseda University’s grant for international research collaboration, Waseda Brussels Office, and the Graduate School of International Culture and Communication Studies.


Background and Objective

Our original research project “Location of Anime: Institutions, Disciplines, and Fields” was planned as an international symposium/seminar at Waseda University’s Brussels Office in collaboration with its partner institution, the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) in Fall 2020. Unfortunately, we had no choice but to cancel the event due to COVID-19. In the beginning, there was no plan to hold any alternative event because we were too exhausted from a seemingly endless series of Zoom meetings and other online affairs. As we were contemplating the discontinuation of the project, 劇場版「鬼滅の刃」無限列車編 or Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train was released on October 16, 2020. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, this anime movie became an instant blockbuster, and eventually surpassed Miyazaki Hayao’s Spirited Away (2001) to become the highest-grossing film ever in Japan. Intrigued by this blockbuster phenomenon and the wide-ranging social effects the movie and the original manga have created, we have decided to reorganize the original project by focusing on Kimetsu no yaiba or Demon Slayer.

The main objective of our project remains the same, i.e., the investigation of the location of anime. This two-day online seminar is an attempt to accomplish this objective by examining a wide range of issues that are concretely related to Kimetsu no yaiba yet have implications beyond the single media franchise. Through presentations and discussions at the seminar, we will explore such topics and questions as the anime industry and media mix, fan culture, cosplay and social media, anime songs and music, voice acting and actors, genre systems, intertextuality, action and spectacle, speed and kinetic dynamism, narrative motifs, iconography, visual style, historical imagination, the political unconscious, affect, violence, censorship, gender and authorship, transnational reception and consumption, labor and marketing, COVID-19 and the culture industry, etc. By scrutinizing Kimetsu no yaiba in relation to these and other issues, we will collectively reflect on the location of anime in its broadest sense.

While it is our intention to maintain and expand a global network of anime scholars, this international seminar is organized specifically for the purpose of fostering a collaborative research on anime among Japan-based and Europe-based scholars. In addition to in-depth discussions on the main topics of the seminar, we will also spend some time considering the original theme of this Japan-Europe joint research project: “Location of Anime: Institutions, Disciplines, and Fields.” Our hope is to cultivate collectively seeds of new ideas that can be developed into future cooperative research projects or partnerships.



March 19 (Fri), 2021

Session 1. “Pandemic Time”

14:00–15:30 JST [06:00–07:30 CET Brussels]
◆Jason Cody Douglass (Yale University)
“Animation in Times of Pandemic”
◆Christophe Thouny (Ritsumeikan University),
“Kimetsu eroguro: Oni Longing for a Face”

Session 2. “Affect and Power”

15:45–17:15 JST [07:45–09:15 CET Brussels]
◆Akiko Sugawa-Shimada (Yokohama National University)
“Shinobu and Mitsuri as Post-Feminist or ‘Post’-Post Feminist Characters: Representations of Femininity and Power in Kimetsu no Yaiba”
◆Catherine Regina Borlaza (University of the Philippines Diliman)
“Binding Threads: The Emotional Structure of Attachment in the Animated Series Kimestu no Yaiba”

Session 3. “Manga and the Mangaesque”

17:30–19:00 JST [09:30–11:00 CET Brussels]
◆Jaqueline Berndt (Stockholm University)
“More Mangaesque than the Manga: ‘Cartooning’ in the Kimetsu no yaiba anime”
◆Bryan Hartzheim (Waseda University)
“Parasketches: Tankobon Interstices in Kimetsu no yaiba”
–Julien Bouvard (Université Lyon 3 – Jean Moulin)

March 20 (Sat), 2021

Session 4. “History of the Present”

14:00–15:30 JST [06:00–07:30 CET Brussels]
◆Stacey Jocoy (Texas Tech University)
“Kagura Dance: The Musicality of Ritualized Dance as Historical Imaginary in Demon Slayer/Kimetsu no Yaiba and Your Name/Kimi no Na wa”
◆Siyuan Li (Waseda University)
“Where is the Sacred Site? Reconsidering the “Sacralization” of Tourism Destinations in the Midst of Public Craze for Kimetsu no Yaiba”

Session 5. “Anime’s Conventional and Exceptional”

15:45–17:15 JST [07:45–09:15 CET Brussels]
◆Seio Nakajima (Waseda University)
“Talk of Success: A Pragmatic-Sociological Discourse Analysis of How People Explain Why Kimetsu Became a Blockbuster”
◆Stevie Suan (Hosei University)
“Colorful Execution: Conventionality and Transnationality in Kimetsu no Yaiba”
–Lukas R.A. Wilde (University of Tubingen)

Session 6. “Kimetsu and Beyond”

17:30–19:00 JST [09:30–11:00 CET Brussels]
◆Rayna Denison (University of East Anglia)
“The Distant Blockbuster: Gekijōban “Kimestsu no yaiba” mugen ressha-hen (2020) and the Transnationalization of Anime Status”
–Marie Pruvost-Delaspre (Université Paris 8 Vincennes)
–Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto (Waseda University)

  • 0319


  • 0320



Fri, 12 Mar 2021

Page Top
WASEDA University