The abstract for the keynote address by Christine Yano, “Fan Culture as a Template of Migration: The Case Study of Hello Kitty,” at the Mechademia conference in Los Angeles later this month is now available!
FAN CULTURE AS A TEMPLATE OF MIGRATION: THE CASE STUDY OF HELLO KITTY
In 2014, the Japanese American National Museum and adjacent Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in Los Angeles’s Little Tokyo housed the first ever museum display of Hello Kitty (“Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty”) and hosted the first Hello Kitty Convention (“Kitty Con”). Both events broke new ground in global fandom surrounding the Japanese icon of cute. This talk explores the migratory nature of global fan cultures in the 21st century, using Japanese company Sanrio’s Hello Kitty as a case study. Migration provides the infrastructure of what I call rebounded charisma – the ineffable and shifting magnetism between and among global fans and objects of desire. With each dialectical movement, the emergent authenticity of one begets the other in ways that affirm and challenge multiple stakeholders and the communities they assert. In this, migration becomes both the proving ground as well as the source of friction in a self-reflexive loop. As fame begets fame, I suggest that global fan cultures can serve as templates for thinking through the stickiness of migrations and its effects.