Out of the many authors who publish on comics, Frederik L. Schodt is one of the few with a truly distinct writing style – neither academic nor fannish, neither highbrow nor colloquial, his writings are full of rather obscure words, some of which I have never seen anywhere else. Recently I re-read the beginning of his book Dreamland Japan, and while doing so, just for fun,* assembled this list of my favourite eccentric words therein and their meanings (as far as I could find out):
to accord – p. 19: “Japan is the first nation in the world to accord ‘comic books’ […] nearly the same social status as novels and films.” – to grant, to give.
bone-crushing – p. 28: “Yet along with this celebration of the ordinary is the bone-crushing reality that the vast majority of manga border on trash.” – back-breaking, depressing (cf. German: ‘erdrückend’).
hari-kari – p. 11: “in due time both words [manga and anime] will undoubtedly be listed in the standard English dictionary along with other Japanese imports like ‘hari-kari’ and ‘karaoke.'” – variant of harakiri (ritual suicide).
finicky – p. 13: “In Japan, people’s names are usually listed with the family name first and the given name last. Certain academic types in the English-speaking world are rather finicky about this convention and insist on preserving it even in English texts” – difficult to please, demanding.
to flounder – p. 34: “Japanese people have floundered about trying to the right term to describe the sequential picture-panels that tell a story.” – to struggle.
full-figured – p. 26: “Japanese manga offer far more visual diversity than mainstream American comics, which […] still reveal an obsession with muscled males and full-figured females” – according to Wiktionary, ‘full-figured’ means ‘fat’ or ‘plump’, but here it’s probably used in the sense of ‘curvaceous’ or ‘voluptuous’.
persnickety – p. 14: “Fans of Japanese manga (even more than academics) can be a rather persnickety and unforgiving lot” – see finicky.
profuse – p. 15: “Profuse thanks are offered to all who helped.” – plenty, abundant.
raga-like – p. 14: “[…] with raga-like stories that may continue for thousands of pages” – maybe Schodt means, ‘as lengthy as an Indian epic (raga)’?
satori-like – p. 21: “his face lit up in a satori-like realization” – (Buddhist) enlightenment.