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Japanese Dandies in Victorian Britain: Writing Masculinity in Japanese Girls' Comics

Loh, Waiyee

The dandy’s appearance in the Japanese neo-Victorian girls’ manga Kuroshitsuji (Black Butler) can be read as an ideal of what I am calling ‘creative masculinity’. This contemporary iteration of late nineteenth-century dandy masculinity points to the rise of new gender roles in post-bubble Japan, as well as to the historical migration of ideas about gender from Britain to Japan. In reading Kuroshitsuji in relation to this history of Anglo-Japanese interactions, this article departs from the existing view of Japanese girls’ media as a closed world of escapism. Instead, neo-Victorian girls’ manga are ‘worldly’ in the sense that they offer ways of understanding Japan’s participation in the global creative economy by relating it to the global history of informal British imperialism in the long nineteenth century.

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