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Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential

by Elliott Samuels

“Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential” was first published in 2010, offering readers a rare insight into a growing global fascination with the image of the Japanese schoolgirl. This revised edition features eight new sections that focus on developments on the subject, including an analysis of the fall and rise of disgraced AKB48 member Rino Sashihara, who was demoted to another idol pop group in Fukuoka after a tabloid published an interview with a guy claiming to be her ex-boyfriend. Fortunately for Sasshi, as she is affectionately called, the scandal only helped generate extra publicity, and the following year she was voted the most popular member of all the AKB spinoff groups in their annual election.

Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential, by Brian Ashcraft, Shoko Ueda.
Tuttle Publishing, Nonfiction.

The full-color new edition also includes interviews with Hideaki Kobayashi, a 50-year-old computer engineer who spends his weekends (and presumably public holidays) as “Middle-Aged Sailor-Suit Dude,” and acclaimed 34-year-old photographer Yuki Aoyama, who explored a sense of teen nostalgia in his wildly successful series of “Schoolgirl Complex” photo books. Author (and JT contributor) Brian Ashcraft’s 2014 installment is a timely reminder that the country’s fascination with schoolgirls remains steadfast.