Why do people like (or dislike) particular kinds of popular culture? What is “special” about Japanese popular culture? How can we understand Japanese society and culture by studying Japanese popular culture? Japanese popular culture is popular not only in Japan, but it has also become recognized as a distinct and attractive form of consumption and fandom around the world—from the U.S. to Europe to Asia. In this class we learn about how to understand and analyze Japanese popular and mass culture from historical, sociological and anthropological perspectives. In other words, this is not a survey course of different kinds of popular culture in Japan, but rather this course requires us to theoretically engage in social scientific theories of popular/mass culture and to analyze the interpretations of meanings and forms of particular “popularly massified” socio-cultural phenomena in Japan, and what analyzing them can tell us about Japanese society more broadly. It further pushes us to examine how popular/mass culture is embedded in the socioeconomic conditions of Japan, and how they affect and are affected by global forces.