Yun Zhang: Doshisha Anime Circle

As a big fan of Japanese pop culture, I attended an anime and voice actor fan club in Doshisha University.

First of all, I would like to simply introduce how the regular activity works. Most of the Japanese school clubs have their own club rooms called「部室」, where club members usually meet everyday after class. As for the anime club, you are free to come and leave whenever you like. People read manga, play games, and talk with one another about new anime episodes during the club time.

The existence of 「部室」makes relationship between club members in Japan very different from that of America. I was also a member of anime club in Boston University before I came to Japan, which was a much larger club consisting of more than 100 members. We met in a normal classroom every Friday to watch several anime episodes and did not have much time to talk. Therefore, when I first went to the anime club in Doshisha, I was very surprised to find out that people actually sleep in futons and have meals in the club room. It feels like the club is another home for them. And the relationship between club members is different from schoolmates or friends, but closer to family who live together based on the same interest. For example, when someone buys a new game, he/she will bring it to the club and share with everyone else. After playing the game together, people will sit and chat about whether they like it or not. I really enjoy the relaxing and delightful atmosphere.

Here is an advice for people who might be interested: If you want to experience Japanese unique school life in a rather easy and enjoyable way, it would be a nice choice for you to attend a club like anime club. However, if you wish to really do something meaningful, there are many other better choices for you such as voluntary works.

7 thoughts on “Yun Zhang: Doshisha Anime Circle

  1. I remember when you and I went to the club for the first time. We didn’t believe anyone was in the room when we peeked in but then two people who were sleeping emerged out of nowhere right before our eyes. It’s nice that you weren’t thrown off by our strange first encounter and stuck to it. When you said that the relationship between the club members was more like a family, did you feel you were able to achieve a bit of that closeness even as a study abroad student.

    • Yeah that scene is kind of hard to forget…I don’t really think I’ve been active enough to actually become one of them, but still I’m glad to have this chance experiencing the unique Japanese school life which I had only seen in anime before.

  2. It was interesting to read about the circle culture that you experienced. Do you think being anime fans create any special bonds between the members that are not seen in other kinds of circles?

    • Yes. As for the anime club, since we don’t have anything to practice, there is no such serious senpai-kouhai relationship which is usually seen in some sport clubs. Therefore members are very close to one another as they share the same interest.

  3. Even if it wasn’t ‘meaningful’ per se, that sounds like a fun community to be a part of. What sorts of games did people bring to play? Also, did you happen to get a sense for how common playing board games is among college students here in Japan? It’s pretty common (time permitting) in my social circle at Swarthmore, but I think we’re something of an exception in that regard.

    • People usually bring PlayStation game softs so that they get to play together on TV. Although we don’t actually play board games in the anime club, I think the “人狼” game is quite popular among college students in Japan.

  4. It sounds like an interesting club activity which really connects people together by their interest. Even if it is not that meaningful, it seems like you really enjoy it. Is there anything else you will do after the usual club time?