Japan Pop!: Inside the World of Japanese Popular Culture - Edited by Timothy J. Craig. This is a generally pleasing overview of Japanese cultural studies -- I think (though I haven't checked; I'm just going by the feel of the book) largely by Western, if not US, scholars. It was published in 2000 & I'd be really curious as to how some of the topics discussed have morphed since then; for example, I was interested in James Stanslaw's article on how female pop stars use English (or not) to assert certain things about themselves & their image, & I'd imagine this has developed much further in the last 11 years.
I also liked William Lee's piece talking about how popular TV shows (most recently -- & that's not v. recent anymore -- Crayon Shin-chan) use nostalgia about a certain type of family to draw in viewers, especially for shows that may have already been airing for decades & that rely on the appeal of a certain mythic timeless good-old-days social structure. One article by Anne Allison about Sailor Moon & her reception in the US retreads old ground for me (though it probably wasn't old when the book was published... ) about localization of Japanese anime, but also points out that part of the reason Sailor Moon wasn't nearly as popular in the US was because kids found her annoyingly "girly" for a superhero. For all those who posit the US as feminist light years ahead of other countries (including Japan), well, yes, look at that: US kids rejecting someone for trying to be both a superhero & feminine. Hm.
Other stuff I liked: Christine Yano talking about the continuing appeal of enka; Hiro R. Shimatachi on karaoke-induced culture clashes (though again, this is something I suspect has changed a lot since publication); & Hiroshi Aoyagi on pop idols as tools for pan-Asian identity. Anyway: a nice overview, and now I have to see what's been written in English more recently on some of these same subjects.