Who reads this stuff anyway ????

Time to step back a few steps, before I fall into the playset box. The bigger game of trying to guess what the heck Kio Shimoku is up to must take precedence over the fun of trying to guess which of his puppets will get paired off with the other.

The question can be refined in several ways: Is Kio story telling or preaching? What is his strategy and what are his tactics? Who is his audience (that means in Japan – us freeloading gaijin don’t count – licensing deals notwithstanding) and how much does he listen to/ is influenced by them/ write to them?

In a perfect fantasy world, he is story-telling to serve a personal, larger societal do-gooding purpose and he snoops the jblogs and 2-chan discussions on his creation in order to steer it towards its appointed task. He shows up at conventions with pro-dojins, keeps a blog and a web page and indulges in author marginalia and character 4-th wall breaking to keep in touch with a rabid fan-base.

He even has his minions erm editors detail english reading staff to keep an eye on select furreign sources, including some of the better-known Genshiken themed blogs, and the forums of the grey ones who xlate his work for us skinflint heathen who can’t wait until a proper licensing deal….

Yeah, and I am the Emperor Ming of Mongo.

According to the ONLY bit info we heathen have so far, KS avoids the kind of fan-shmoozing that has become de rigueur for many mangaka. Even a reprint and omnibussification of the Genshiken for crazed english-reading fans fails to include a new KS interview. We have to settle for some of his friends playfully helping out.

From the ONLY extant interview I can find of KS (2008):

http://web.archive.org/web/20080212200614/http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6517850.html?nid=2789

“”KS: I’ve no intention of affirming and indulging otakuness. I believe otaku should be a minority, but one that stands up to the pressures of the world, and I try to be like that, too. I try not to look at responses from readers. I’m a very timid person. If someone were to make a comment on my work, I’d think about it too much and let it get in the way of what I really want to say. I try to keep my distance. I do hear some responses, but I always tell myself it’s not a representative opinion.

But one thing that does make me happy is when I hear of people who have set up clubs similar to Genshiken at their colleges. I do want people to have a place to communicate. Not on the Web, but in real life and relationships. I really do envy that. “”

That’s it, that’s ALL we fools have to go on.

There is no Japanese KS website to go to and google xlate, no info about him on ANN, not much of anything – dude is private..

He OCCASIONALLY goes to conventions and meets with fans, according to
http://lintel.typepad.com/plentyofnothing/2011/11/sketches-by-shimoku.html

From the Jp wiki: (love that Google xlate!)

is a Japan of the cartoonist . Male, married. University of Tsukuba Department of Japanese painting art graduate courses specializing in art school groups. His real name is but a private, professional eye Kio is the pseudonym of Chinese characters real name was rose According to the afterword Diary “heat haze”. Is intact and does not return to the original but rose too. Blood type is B type .

Also in the credits section:

Anime ” Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei “(Episode 5 end card) ( Koji Kumeta original, new bunch Akiyuki director, 2007)

WTF? he did the ending something for ep 5 of the SZS anime first season??? must re-watch..

There are at least 2 short interviews in the JP online press, but they have sunk beneath the 404 waves.

All we can do is take him at his word: Kio has something to say within the confines of his story, and that something has to do with the importance of a 3d (solid) community for 2D enthusiasts. From the plot mechanics of the Genshiken, we can also infer that he privileges productive socials over non-productive ones, even if the “product” is trivial and fan-centered.

From his other works, we know he has an interest in the intersection between the a-social enthusiast individual and society’s responsibilities: Spotted flower is not his only work about child-rearing, Genshiken, not his only work about school days (tho us heathen have to wait for Yonesei and Gonesei (all hail anon* bringer of light!)

But trying an experiment with google xlate, the only 2chan chatter I can get about Genshiken is from 2005, and is about as useful as reading the mangafox comments.. yawn..

Finally I found a curious xlation of the above 2008 interview, posted in JP on 2ch, then xlated back by google for me.

At this point I felt like I was going in circles.

Also, Kio Shimoku leads a bit of a double life as a cartoonist: On one hand there is Genshiken (and Gon and Yon) and Spotted Flower and the brutally realistic Digopuri/ Hell’s Princess (so far 9 chapters of 18yr old twins dealing with a baby: terror and poop and no sleep, no father or parents/ grandparents in sight to help, rinse, repeat).

Then there are his “comedy exploitation” manga, which started as joke cut-outs in Genshiken, but then developed a life of their own. Of these, Ramen Angel is some kind of twisted experiment in pushing weird otaku fan-service tropes to the max. Did he just have the mc go into cramps and extrude some secret ramen stock ingredient from her ahem maidenly bits ???? And it got into the school cafeteria ramen stock ????

What kind of lewd Dojin joke is this?

Who is Kio Shimoku writing for?

Bonus sections:
Survey and reaserch Methods: A Google xlate Genshiken Hunt!

The Google xlate hunt (grab the kana for Genshiken from the wiki site and stuff it into google, along with another keyword from google xlate) has found me the websites of a few college Genshiken-ish clubs., Only one looks really active. They made a dating sim for the culture festival and sold it off cheap. But it locks up at a certain screen, so now they are stuck posting patches on their blog. This is kewl as all heck!

http://gennshikenn.blog56.fc2.com/

Other real-life gosh honest japanese college(?) Genshiken(s)

http://chuogsk.blog111.fc2.com/

http://genshiken.gozaru.jp/

http://ynu-genshiken.com/

http://d.hatena.ne.jp/gensiken-blog/

http://gsk-tsukuba.net/

http://asgenshiken.akazunoma.com/

http://www.aasa.ac.jp/life/club/d_nagakute/gensiken.html

http://uoh-genshiken.sakura.ne.jp/    who has a (oh goodie!) link section:

Circle club-section of other universities:

Moe Studies Association, Ehime University
http://moeken.web.fc2.com/
Kyoto University KUALS club animation
http://kuals.hp.infoseek.co.jp/
Technical Committee on subculture Shikokugakuindaigaku
http://sck.okitsune.com
Technical Committee on Shikokugakuindaigaku song animation
http://ip.tosp.co.jp/i.aspi=anison1
HP group in the meeting
HP “Mehan” Han media
http://uohmedia.blog.fc2.com/
Other
University of Hyogo
Our university is a member of Circle.
http://www.u-hyogo.ac.jp/

Hope these are on the up and up and not some wacky pyramid sales cults.

Other stuff, the reply to a query about what comes closet to Genshiken,
from 2005 (links dead unless noted)

“”Things that frankly Circle Study Group “contemporary visual culture” that,
Each exists in universities, Tokyo University of Science, Suwa Chuo University, University of Tsukuba, Reitaku.

Is the alma mater of Dr. Kio of the author “Genshiken” is University of Tsukuba.
Ken currently seen here at the time of enrollment already exists from teacher, became a cartoon of former material soon. http://www.stb.tsukuba.ac.jp/ ~ gsk / (now http://gsk-tsukuba.net/)

Chung-Ang University, Central University is a model of the current vision of the comic Ken vertebrae are present, Ken currently seen here was created by the popularity of the cartoon of the least.  http://www.geocities.co.jp/CollegeLife-Labo/2142/ (dead)

University and Tokyo University of Science, Suwa also Reitaku is like a circle that was modeled on the current vision of comic Ken. http://www.cs.reitaku-u.ac.jp/manken/  (or) http://www.gensiken.ath.cx/   “”

Try it yourself:
http://www.google.ca/#hl=en&output=search&sclient=psy-ab&q=%E3%81%92%E3%82%93%E3%81%97%E3%81%91%E3%82%93++%E5%A4%A7%E5%AD%A6&oq=%E3%81%92%E3%82%93%E3%81%97%E3%81%91%E3%82%93++%E5%A4%A7%E5%AD%A6&gs_l=hp.3..0j0i30j0i8i30l8.3032.53796.1.56956.4.4.0.0.0.0.658.2182.3-1j0j3.4.0…0.0…1c.MDbvrfVl-Es&psj=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&fp=fa9c5b2a24003c9c&biw=1066&bih=590

 What FUN!

Survey and Research methods: Who else can I add to the G-Verse?

http://www.mbbanikenkai.com/?p=4012 from Brazil,
which google mangles as “The Monotonicity of Contemporary Fandom”, in which the blogger wonders if the current Genshiken is too like-minded (Fujoshi), and therefore in danger of becoming an “echo chamber”

The folks at ii chan
http://kei.iichan.net/genshiken/

A fan /fen tracks down the real life university buildings that KS used for settings..
http://lintel.typepad.com/plentyofnothing/2011/08/genshiken-bench.html

An analysis / review of characters and the evolution of drawing styles in Genshiken – in jp http://www.h2.dion.ne.jp/~hkm_yawa/tyoubun/genshiken.html (drop into Google for a horrible machine xlation!)

a good typology of real feeling and fake-ish transexual-ness in Manga
http://fandommatters.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/transsexual-identities-in-manga/

And for fujoshi studies/ enthusiasm, and the food-in-manga – the ever authoritative champloo: (Happy 801 day!)
http://www.punkednoodle.com/champloo/2012/08/01/hello-i-am-a-fujoshi-todays-my-day/
(Two Keys ??? really? ? ? Guess I don’t have the goggles)

Even found some (yikes!) violent G. dojins at someplace with butterflies – google it your self -all but one sound objectionable to me.

Of interest for further obsessive link chasing: A good meta-blog on manga
http://mangablog.net/

Next time, more speculation on the mangaka and the audience

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