Karrie (Instagram @ tangled.larper) in Lolita fashion brand Mary Magdalene, by Kitkat Photography (Instagram @ kitkat_photog)

As part of the closing events of the physical exhibition in 2021, we invited cosplayers and lovers of Japanese fashion cultures, as well as photographers, to do a photoshoot at the Fryer Library at The University of Queensland.

The first shots are in!

This photograph is particularly appealing for us. We can’t help but think of Beauty in the Beast’s library in the classic fairy tale.

One of our upcoming projects (a co-authored work by Masafumi Monden, Emerald King, and Lucy Fraser) will include a chapter of images of girl readers in retellings of “Beauty and the Beast”. In this chapter we’ll discuss how Japanese shōjo (girl) culture and academic shōjo studies offer insights into fictional imaginings of girls who love to read – not just in Japanese fiction but English-language works too.

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At UQ Central Library, St Lucia, Brisbane, Queensland: Level One foyer.

Thursday 30 September 2021 – Monday 25 October 2021

At Morris Miller Library, Hobart, Tasmania

March 2022

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Morris Miller – Reflection

I want to write that it’s been a month since Maidens Sans Frontiers closed, but it’s actually only been three weeks since our final event with cosplayer TaeYeon Kim and WCS Australia.

Bringing Maidens to Hobart was not only a calculated decision to bring Japan Foundation Funding to regional Australia, but also something of a homecoming for me as it coincided with my return to University of Tasmania as an academic.

Much of what is on display is personal to Lucy, Megan, and me: Lucy’s books. Megan’s dolls. The postcards that have lined my walls since 2013 – the postcards that ironically are still in a box in the corner of my new office as I haven’t had the time or the energy to put them up.

Where the Duhig Tower exhibition had three video screens that we could screen cosplay images and fashion films, the Morris Miller exhibition had space for mannequins which allowed us to display the Rose of Versailles costumes for the whole exhibition. I was also able to draw on the local lolita community to display a frilly sweet out fit from Angelic Pretty and a dark gothy outfit from Alice and the Pirates.

I also love the contrast of the two display spaces – Duhig Tower with it’s dark, sandstone walls and it’s links to an imagined Europe; Morris Miller with it’s bright, open fouyer that was updated in 2005 to create a retro futuristic space from the 1960s brutalist design so common on the campuses of Australasian universities.

The thing I am most pleased about this exhibition was that I was allowed to pull a number of books from the library shelves to have on display – a mix of girl studies critique, novels, and shojo manga studies. A display that was quickly dismantled by guests at the opening and by students borrowing books over the coming weeks.

Books?! In a library?! Who would have ever thought it possible

Online talk with cosplay star TaeYeon Kim

In conjunction with WCS Australia, we are pleased to present an online talk with cosplay star TaeYeon Kim:

“all about SHOJO COSPLAY”

TaeYeon represented South Korea at the World Cosplay Summit in 2012 and later returned as an Alumna. TaeYeon transitioned from fan cosplayer to WCS staffer and after years coordinating the Alumni programme she currently works as the liaison for the forty participating countries.

You can see TaeYeon in action in this documentary filmed at the 2016 WCS finals.

Free online talk streamed via WCS Twitch with guests Dr Lucy Fraser (UQ) and Dr Emerald L King (UTAS)

March 18 2022
7.30 AEDT (6.30 AEST, 5.30 JST)

This event is free but you can get a calender reminder from Eventbrite

Dark and twisty, bright and beautiful

21 February 2022

A fascinating world of cosplay and Japanese girl culture is on display.

Pre-revolutionary France meets gothic horror in an exhibition of costumes and other Japanese girl culture now on show at the University of Tasmania’s Sandy Bay campus.

Full article here:

Angelic Pretty and Purple Goldfish Design ensemble (right) from the collection of Ness Ollington
Alice and the Pirates ensemble (left) from the collections of Jayne Scott and Amy King

With rings on their fingers and bells on their toes

Scattered troughout the exhibition are rings from the collection of Megan Rose.

These oversized pieces sparkle as the light hits them. There is a profusion of hearts and teacups – both beloved by shojo designers and writers.

Top image: rabbit ring by TokiMeki Gabrielle, lucky dip ring 2016.

Right image: collector’s edition of ‘Card Captor Sakura’ manga volume 1, 2, 3 by CLAMP collection of Emerald L King.
Jewel heart ring by 6% Doki Doki 2013, Tea cup cookie ring by Angelic Pretty 2010 collection of Megan Rose

Left image: ring by Angelic Pretty and Omotsesando La Foret ‘AP x Harajuku Dream Together Project Alice in Wonderland’ teacups 2012, heart ring by Swimmer 2014 Pulip Aoki Misako x Favourite Ribbon’ Baby the Stars Shine Bright Doll 2014 collection of Megan Rose

Eureka ‘Alice’ issue with Higuchi Yuko illustration collection of Lucy Fraser

Duhig Tower – reflection

When I first saw the gallery space at the bottom of the Duhig Tower in the Central Library at The University of Queensland I was taken back to the darkened halls of the private girls school of my youth.

The tower forms part of the sandstone ‘Great Court‘ designed in 1935 by Queensland Government architects Hennessy, Hennessy & Co. The Great Court was envisioned as a modern take on the traditional quadrangles of monasteries and universities in Europe. This imagined Europe speaks to the imagined west found so often in shojo manga and literature – often centred in educational or institutional buildings such as Hagio Moto’s November Gymnasium or The Heart of Thomas – both published in the 1970s, these works have been hugely influential on shojo culture including, but not limited to, BL narratives.

The dark grey walls of the display space nestled in the opening fouyer of the Duhig Tower provided a surprisingly warm background for the bright colours of the exhibits. The thick walls and bench seating invited visitors to sit and enjoy the space – maybe with a good book or an eReader.

This space also featured a triple screen which we were able to take advantage of to screen images of Australian cosplayers (dressed in shojo manga costumes) and fashion films produced by Deerstalker Pictures.

This is something of a reflection on a reflection. For someone who has never worked or studied at the University of Queensland campus, it is one of my favourite places to visit. Most Brisbane cosplayers will be familiar with the long sandstone walks of the Great Court and have photographed there regardless of their status as a student. I still can’t believe we got to take over this beautiful space for a month and to contribute to the cosplay and lolita fashion culture of the area.

Shojo Bibliotheca

At the center of our work is the figure of the reading girl. For the UTAS version of our exhibition, we were able to take advantage of our library setting and fill the space with books.

Throughout our work there are a number of texts that we return to again and again.

The following list (in no particular order) is by no means exhaustive but should serve as a starting point for your reading:

  • Shōjo Across Media: Exploring “Girl” Practices in Contemporary Japan (Ed. Jaqueline Berndt, Fusami Ogi, Kazumi Nagaike. Palgrave Macmillan, 2019)
  • Women’s Manga in Asia and Beyond: Uniting Different Cultures and Identities (Ed. Fusami Ogi, Rebecca Suter, Kazumi Nagaike, John. A Lent. Palgrave Macmillan, 2019)
  • Ages of Shojo: The Emergence, Evolution and Power of Japanese Girls Magazine Fiction (Hiromi Tsuchiya Dollase, State University of New York Press, 2020)
  • Passionate Friendship: The Aesthetics of Girls’ Culture in Japan (Deborah Shamoon, University of Hawai’i Press, 2012)  
  • Girl Reading Girl in Japan (Ed. Tomoko Aoyama & Barbara Hartley, Routledge, 2010)
  • Bad Girls of Japan (Ed. Laura Miller & Jan Bardsley, Palgrave Macmillan, 2005)
  • Girls: Feminine Adolescence in Popular Culture and Cultural Theory (Catherine Driscoll, Columbia University Press, 2002).
  • Boys’ Love Manga: Essays on the Sexual Ambiguity and Cross-cultural Fandom of the Genre (Ed. Antonia Levi, Mark McHarry, and Dru Pagliassotti, McFarland, 2010).
  • International Perspectives on Shojo and Shojo Manga: The Influence of Girl Culture (Masami Toku, Routledge, 2015).

Book of early translations of Japanse fairy tales, by Kitkat Photography

As part of the closing events of the physical exhibition in 2021, we invited cosplayers and lovers of Japanese fashion cultures, as well as photographers, to do a photoshoot at the Fryer Library at The University of Queensland.

The staff at the Fryer Library generously opened their special collections to allow cosplayers, Japanese street fashionishtas, and photographers to pose and play with their holdings.

Tea dressed as Barbara from Genshin, by Kitkat Photography: Photoshoot in Fryer Library

Tea (Instagram @te.a.cos) dressed as Barabara from Genshin, by Kitkat Photography (Instagram @ kitkat_photog)

As part of the closing events of the physical exhibition in 2021, we invited cosplayers and lovers of Japanese fashion cultures, as well as photographers, to do a photoshoot at the Fryer Library at The University of Queensland.

Genshin Impact is an open world role-playing game produced by Chinese game developers miHoYo. I find it fascinating that even though the game is developed in China, it is marketed not as 原神 (yuánshén) but with the Japanese reading – perhaps picking up on and exploiting the popularity of Japanese visual culture.


Blythe doll ‘Gillian’s Dream’ 2018
Collection of Megan Rose

In my dreams, I find myself in Ginza. The swan boats, the beautiful restaurants, the glittering lights as I walk down the crowded streets… I find myself nostalgic for the 60’s when I wake from those dreams, so I don my goose coat and make my way to the city.

Jillian is going out to the city with her charming goose coat! Her dress is made with a geese printed fabric, smock embroidered with a low collar and gathered at the waist of the skirt. This dress is covered head to toe with an A line silhouette coat featuring the cutest pair of geese leisurely floating in a pond, surrounded by adorable flower appliqués.

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