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Take Two (Or Was It Three?)

April 10, 2016

Way back in the early days of the World Wide Web, I created the Shōjo Manga Home Page. I was pretty good at maintaining it throughout the nineties (hah!), but slacked in the new century to the point where updates were coming in once every two or three years. Now known as matt-thorn.com, I briefly spiffed up the site with the addition of a Wordpress blog, but last year a spam virus ate it, and it reverted to it's old HTML self, looking even older and more outdated than before.

 

I kept making vague plans for a makeover, but I set my goals too high, and ended up putting it off.

 

Well, I finally decided to just the entire site and replace it with something really, really simple.

 

So here we are. Hi. I'm Matt Thorn. I used to be sort-of-kind-of famous among Anglophone otaku as a shōjo manga evangelist, and also as a translator of manga. My main gig, though, is teaching in Kyoto Seika University's Faculty of Manga (which I helped create some sixteen years ago), and I'm also a new parent (which is both exhausting and a bit embarrassing at my age), so time is not a thing I have in quantity. Even if I did, I am terrible at using my time efficiently.

 

Which brings me to my motivation for starting a new blog. I've been trying to write a book on shōjo manga for more than twenty years. It started as a doctoral dissertation, but I discovered I have no talent for writing in academese, and gave up. Then I tried to rewrite what I had written (a couple hundred pages!) into something for a general audience, but I didn't get far. (I realized it had to be a very different sort of book.) Then I started to wonder if the moment had passed, and if there was any point in doing a book on shōjo manga at this point.

 

In fact, shōjo manga have been in decline for at least fifteen years. I've recently become a bit obsessed with why that is the case, and in the process of thinking about it and studying it, I've come to the rather perverse conclusion that now is the perfect time for my book on shōjo manga. Not a book on shōjo manga, but my book on shōjo manga. A book only I could write, that looks at where shōjo manga came from, how it got to where it is now, and where it might go in the future--assuming it has a future. (I'm pretty sure it does, but then again, I'm the person who told Shogakukan Productions that Pokémon would never take off in the U.S..)

 

So I thought, with my l̶o̶u̶s̶y̶ ̶w̶o̶r̶k̶ ̶e̶t̶h̶i̶c̶less than stellar time-management skills, maybe I should start with a blog, and basically write a chapter (or a section of a chapter) at a time, and then collect it into a book. Even if I don't, I will have at least gotten my data and my ideas out there!

 

So that's the plan. Knock on wood. Feel free to apply pressure should I slack off. (I will almost certainly slack off.)

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