Mechademia 10

World Renewal


Frenchy Lunning, Editor

The ongoing effects of 3/11 in Japan through anime and manga

Anime and manga have long proposed alternative worlds—some created after catastrophe. Mechademia 10 revolves around Japan’s 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear reactor crises and considers a propensity for “world renewal.”

Mechademia 10 revolves around a maelstrom of events: the devastation of 3/11—the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear reactor crises—and the ongoing environmental disasters that have recently overtaken Japan. Because anime and manga have long proposed (and illustrated) alternative worlds—some created after catastrophes—it is fitting that this volume should consider this propensity for “world renewal.”

Individual essays range widely, from a poetic and personal reflection on the ritual of tôrô nagashi (the lighting of floating paper lanterns that has traditionally commemorated souls lost in great public cataclysms, such as war) to a study of the various counterfactual histories written about the historical figure of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a former peasant farmer who became a military dictator of feudal Japan. The book also includes an original manga, Nanohana, from the popular artist Hagio Moto, who is quoted as saying: “I want to think together with everyone else about Fukushima and Chernobyl, about the future of the Earth, about the future of humankind, and to keep thinking moving forward.”

Contributors: Steven R. Anderson; Sandra Annett, Wilfrid Laurier U; Brian Bergstrom, McGill U; Susan W. Furukawa, Beloit College; Pamela Gossin, U of Texas–Dallas; Forrest Greenwood, Indiana U, Bloomington; Brett Hack, Aichi Prefectural U; Moto Hagio; Kendall Heitzman, U of Iowa; Andrea Horbinski, U of California, Berkeley; Sabu Kohso; Akira Mizuta Lippit, U of Southern California; Matthew Penney, Concordia U, Montreal; Saito Satomi, Bowling Green State U; Rachel Thorn, Kyoto Seika U; Christopher Thouny; Hoshino Tomoyuki.

Frenchy Lunning is professor of liberal arts at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.



Second Arc
Introduction: Counterfactual Histories, Parallel Universes, and Possible Worlds
Frenchy Lunning
Passages of As Not
Between Disaster, Medium 3.11
Akira Mizuta Lippit
The Land of Hope: Planetary Cartographies of Fukashima, 2012
Christophe Thouny
Tokyo Apparatus (Version 1.0)
Sabu Kohso
Good Morning: A Postdisaster Palm-of-the-Hand Story
Hoshino Tomoyuki, translated by Brian Bergstrom
Positions of What If
Record of Dying Days: The Alternate History of Ôoku
Andrea Horbinski
Deconstructing the Taikô: The Problem of Hideyoshi as Postwar Business Model
Susan W. Furukawa
A Nation Restored: The Utopian Future of Japan's Far Right
Matthew Penney
Moto Hagio, translated by Rachel Thorn, and introduction by Frenchy Lunning
Worlds of As If
Beyond the Horizon of the Possible Worlds: A Historical Overview of Japanese Media Franchises
Saito Satomi
What Can a Vocaloid Do? The Kyara as Body without Organs
Sandra Annett
A World Without Pain: Therapeutic Robots and the Analgesic Imagination
Steven R. Anderson
Loops of Just Then
The Girl at the End of Time: Temporality, (P)remediation, and Narrative Freedom in Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Forrest Greenwood
Animated Nature: Aesthetics, Ethics, and Empathy in Hayao Miyazaki's Ecophilosophy
Pamela Gossin
Ominous Image of Youth: Worlds, Identities, and Violence in Japanese News Media and When They Cry
Brett Hack
Parallel Universes, Vertical Worlds, and the Nation as Palimpsest in Murakami Ryû's The World Five Minutes from Now
Kendall Heitzman