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This chapter probes the coincidence of the rise of the academic media celebrity in early 1980s figures such as Asada Akira and Nakazawa Shinichi with a ten-year winter of media theory. It tracks the appearance of the so-called Nyū Aka (New Academism) theorists and the discourse around these massively popular best-selling authors, who were in high demand in print, TV, and radio in the 1980s. Nyū aka seemingly never formulated a theory of media, but rather changed the mode of theorizing itself, performing a media theory rather than formulating one. A central aspect of this practice as media theory is the concept of irony as it was employed by Asada and fellow nyū aka writer Karatani Kōjin. Irony, by softening up the relation between content and form, allowed this group to play with the semantics of theory while actually enacting a theory of media in practice.

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