Sharon Kinsella

Sharon Kinsella


Personal profile


Sharon Kinsella has been focusing on the cultural language and political symbolism of both mass media and cultural production and subcultural forms and reactions in Japan since the early 1990s. Earlier work looked at cuteness and infantilism as rebellion; the educational and class factors behind the political and commercial transformation of manga for adults in the 1990s; otaku subculture and Lolita complex subcultures. Her first book Adult Manga (2000) is about the class sociology and politics of manga for adult readers between the 1960s and the new millenium.

Sharon’s second book, Schoolgirls, Money and Rebellion in Japan (2014) incorporates research on girls’ street styles and male journalism and in particula the media focus on kogyaru and ganguro street fashion and 'compensated dating' (or school girl prostitution) as one siginificant moment in the 'cult of girls' in the 1990s to the 2000s. Sharon's current research on otoko no ko ('boy daughters') and the rise of new modes of male to female cross-dressing within two-dimensioal kyara ('animation character') culture, and live amongst young men, examines a new phase in the cult of the girl, from 2006 to the present. 

Sharon Kinsella's undergradudate degree was in Economic History (LSE), and she has a DPhil in Sociology from the University of Oxford (1997). Sharon has worked in universities in the US (Yale, MIT) and the UK (Oxford, Cambridge, Manchester). In 2020 Sharon will be affiliated with the Tokyo University of the Arts (Geidai) and Waseda University, and researching the political-economic factors surrounding cross-dress fashion and cuteness for men (otoko no ko) in Tokyo, and female consciousness and reaction to this. 



Recent or forthcoming publications from 2018-2020 include:
“Male Subculture in Japan in the 2010s: otoko no musume, joso and hard work”, Japan Forum, June 2020

“Financial Deviancy and Materialist Girls' Style in Japan,” in Joanna Turney ed., Crimes of Fashion: Fashion and Crime, Bloomsbury, 2019.

“Taste, Snobbery and Distinction on the Periphery of European Bourgeois Hierarchies” in Malcolm Quinn ed., The Persistence of Taste: Art, Museums and Everyday Life After Bourdieu, Routledge, 2018.

Sharon Kinsella’s research and publications and some downloadable articles can be found at:
Sharon’s ideas can also be sampled in shorter media broadcasts:
Radio 4, Forethought, podcast on the ‘cult of girls’ can be found at:; a piece in the Financial Times samples the (‘The Cult of Cute’ Nov 2015), and an interview on moe and Lolita Complex can be sampled at the Huffington Post (August 2014) 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities

Areas of expertise

  • HM Sociology
  • HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
  • contemporary Japanese society and culture studies


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