Manga!

I honestly had no idea how expansive and popular manga & anime are in Japan. And I know I’ve said it once before on the course discussion board, but to constitute upwards of 40% of an entire nation’s text consumption is difficult to fathom…

I haven’t had much previous exposure to manga or anime. Granted, like every kid, I watched a few Japanese cartoons…but manga was generally out of my reach. I’m kind of overwhelmed by how many different kinds there are – for every novel genre I can think of, there is a manga to match (and at least ten other similar kinds). Because there are so many manga genres (shoujo, shonen, mecha, etc.), comics appeal to everyone, which makes it very plausible for manga to be an anthropological phenomenon in that they are a way for casual language to permeate multiple generations. I don’t know if I could draw a parallel like that to America – do we actually have anything like manga specific to our culture (aside from silly chick magazines) that is able to that?

The manga/anime presentation in class today was enlightening, and I’m looking forward to exploring more before our trip to ACen.

– Jorie

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2 Responses to Manga!

  1. tomomi says:

    Thanks for your comment, Jorie! Manga is so permeated in the daily lives of Japan, so thinking back, I am also amazed at how influential the media is, and could be… From newspapers to educational materials, advertisements and of course, magazines and books…

  2. naesung says:

    Interesting point! It’s so strange that when we see another culture, the media forms that appear strange or foreign to us are allowed to stand in for all sorts of hegemonic culturalization processes. That is, because manga in Japan is so violent, pornographic, strange, etc. or Japanese “American fetishization” is so obvious in Tokyo (a la cowboy bars), then children growing up there must be very strnage indeed! Especially when Americans think about “testing hell” in Korea and Japan, we associate it with a sort of a culturally deterministic quality. It’s not just educational (“they have hard tests therefore they do good work”) but also psychological (“they have hard tests therefore they are more likely to commit suicide”) and behavioral (“they have hard tests therefore they are very boring people”). I think we will see a lot more of this sort of pop reasoning in the next few weeks as Americans attempt to deal with the Virginia Tech shootings, and “Korean youth” get more and more objectified as products of culture.

    On the other hand, when we look at America, unless we are considering “subalterns” in society, there is only a sense of agency and responsibility of the parent to make their child “normal within reason.” We ofetn seem to have no conception that media touting globalized markets and economies might have as strong, if not more penetrating influence on our subconscious that we expect manga to have on the subconscious of “the Japanese.”

    That is to ask the question: what makes up 40% of the books we read, and how can this be compared?

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