• Sherlock and the British Actor Boom: 'Regifting' Female Fandom in Japan

    Lori Morimoto (see profile)
    Fans (Persons)
    Item Type:
    Conference paper
    Conf. Title:
    Console-ing Passions 2015
    Conf. Org.:
    Console-ing Passions
    Conf. Loc.:
    Dublin, Ireland
    Conf. Date:
    July 20, 2015
    Benedict Cumberbatch, fan studies, Sherlock, Fan studies
    Permanent URL:
    Media industry efforts to monetize fandom have thrust issues of economy and labor to the forefront of present-day fan studies, centering on case studies that interrogate media producers' strategies for both cultivating and capitalizing on fans of individual media franchises. Yet, such strategies (and the research they engender) are not always easily translated to a transnational context, in which television, in particular, is subjected to local vagaries of media distribution that can result in decentralized patterns of consumption. Japanese distribution of BBC's Sherlock (2010 -) is one such example: debuting on national broadcaster NHK's subscription-based BS Premium in 2011, then rebroadcast on premium channel AXN Mystery in 2012, Sherlock was a sleeper hit that flew under the radar of marketers and, notably, a publishing industry that has been among the greatest beneficiaries of foreign television fandom in Japan. Not until December 2012, when 500 predominantly female fans of Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock Holmes turned out at Narita International Airport to greet him on his first Japan junket to promote Star Trek Into Darkness, did women's magazine editors recognize the existence of a small but passionate Sherlock fandom in their midst. In this paper, I discuss how the visual and verbal rhetoric of the Sherlock-centered blitz that ensued in such publications as Elle Japon, Vogue, and Screen produced an ongoing British actor 'boom' that is emblematic of what Suzanne Scott has termed a 'regifting economy', in which the terms of smaller, and frequently female participatory fandoms are parlayed to more centralized consumption.
    PowerPoint slides are available at: https://www.dropbox.com/s/mi0hb4cji0x0iv2/CP2015.pptx?dl=0
    Last Updated:
    7 years ago
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