TYPES OF MANGA
kawaii Manga comes in staggering variety and appeals to every kind of reader from innocent schoolboys to dirty, old ladies with wild fantasies. There are adventure manga with heroic salarymen and dashing samurai, science fiction manga with monsters and robots, avant guard manga with experimental art, and sado-masochistic manga for housewives as well as manga devoted to history, religion, science, politics, fishing, tennis and golf.
Almost all manga fall into two basic types: those geared for male readers and those geared for female readers. This tradition dates back to the early 1950s when manga started as children's comic books geared separately for boys or girls. The female genre began generating momentum of its own in the 1960s and 70s when talented female artists entered the scene.
Types of manga include shojo (girl's manga/anime), yaoi (manga/anime aimed at women and featuring beautiful men who love other men), cheesecake (pornographic material aimed at men),seinen (young man's manga). They are also baseball, soccer and basketball comics and food-oriented and drink-oriented manga.” There are manga that revolve yokai monsters, demonic robots, time travel and alien girlfriends. The is even a whole genre of manga about mangaka (people who draw manga).
Manga versions of literary classics and religious works such as the Bible and life of Buddha are popular (See Below). Both the Aum cult and the Ministry of Education have released their own versions of manga. The Ministry of Finance used manga to explain the purpose of taxes and how to calculate liabilities. Corporations use it as a tool to inform the public and train their employees.
In the late 2000s, manga that portrayed the medical professional in a realistic way became popular. A number have been adapted for television. Yukiko Kishi, a doctor who wrote on medical manga, told the Yomiuri Shimbun “because of changes in patient’s awareness, medicine has become a matter of general interest.. People therefore empathize and feel close to doctors---they no longer view them as specialists from a sacred profession.” Tomoko Nishi, of the Tokyo-based Contemporary Mana Library said, “medical cartoons have became a standard comic book category. They are comparable to baseball comics and food-oriented manga.”
Websites and Resources
Lolicon Good Websites and Sources: Sports Manga on One Manga onemanga.com ; Best Vampire Manga on About.com manga.about.com ; Women’s Manga on Shojobeat shojobeat.com ; Top Ten Shojo Manga comics.ign.com ;World of BL (Boy’s Love) manga saimaisama.wordpress.com ; Scans of Yaoi Women’s Manga on the Spectrum.net thespectrum.net/manga_scans/yaoi
Links in this Website: MANGA Factsanddetails.com/Japan ; POPULAR TYPES OF MANGA Factsanddetails.com/Japan ; POPULAR MANGA AND FAMOUS MANGA ARTISTS Factsanddetails.com/Japan ; MANGA FANS AND COSPLAY IN JAPAN AND ABROAD Factsanddetails.com/Japan ; OSAMU TEZUKA, MANGA AND ANIME Factsanddetails.com/Japan ; ANIME Factsanddetails.com/Japan ; ANIME FILM AND TELEVISION SHOWS Factsanddetails.com/Japan ; HAYAO MIYAZAKI ANIME Factsanddetails.com/Japan ; MODERN JAPANESE FILM INDUSTRY Factsanddetails.com/Japan ; MODERN JAPANESE FILMMAKERS AND FILMS Factsanddetails.com/Japan ; MEDIA, RADIO, NEWSPAPERS AND TELEVISION IN JAPAN Factsanddetails.com/Japan ; TELEVISION PROGRAMS IN JAPAN Factsanddetails.com/Japan ; CHILDREN’s TELEVISION SHOWS IN JAPAN Factsanddetails.com/Japan ;
Good Websites and Sources on Manga: Wikipedia article Wikipedia ; Manga.com manga.com ; Free Manga using Scanned Pages onemanga.com ; Manga Fox mangafox.com ; How to Draw Manga howtodrawmanga.com ; Essay on Manga and Anime aboutjapan.japansociety.org ; Krazy World of Manga, Anime and Video Games aboutjapan.japansociety.org ; Ultimate Manga Guide (last updated 2004) users.skynet.be/mangaguide ; Rei’s Manga and Anime Page (last updated in 2005) mit.edu/people/rei/Anime ; Manga Video manga.com ; Comic Yamasho Stores comic-yamasho.jp-stores.com ; Kyoto International Manga Museum kyoto-international-manga-museum
Books: Manga Manga! The World of Japanese Comics and Dreamland Japan; Manga! Manga!by Fred Schodt; Dreamland Japan: Writings on Modern Manga by Frederick L. Schodt (Stone Bridge Press); Adult Manga by Sharon Kinsella (Cuzon Press, 2000); Manga: Sixty Years of Japanese Comics by Paul Gravett (Laurence King Publishing, 2004); Manga: The Complete Guide by Jason Thompson (Dek Ray); and One Thousand Years of Manga by art historian Brigitte Koyama. Related books include Japanamerica by Roland Kelts (Palgrave Macmillian, 2007) and Encyclopedia of Japanese Culture by Mark Schilling. Millennial Monsterby Prof. Anne Allison is about the fantasies behind toys, games, anime and manga.
Frederik Schodt was awarded the Japanese government’s Order of the Rising Sun.
Hentai History of Manga: A History of Manga dnp.co.jp/museum ; Manga Gaku matt-thorn.com/mangagaku ; Brief History of Manga comicreaders.com ; Tokyo Manga and Anime Shops : Nakano Broadway is a shopping street in Nakano Ward that houses many shops selling items related to pop idols, manga and anime characters. Tokyo Character Street is located on the Yaesu side of JR Tokyo station. It is an 80-meter-long underground street with 15 shops offering hundreds items bearing likenesses of anime figures like Doremon and Ultraman and new characters like NHK mascots Zoomin and Charmin and Monkey D. Luffy from One Piece as well characters like Totoro form Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli. Manga Magazines and Publishers: Shonen Jump shonenjump.viz.com ; Viz Media www.viz.com ; Tokyopop tokyopop.com
Otaku Urban Dictionary urbandictionary.com ; Danny Choo dannychoo.com ; Otaku Dan Blog otakudan.com ; Otaku Generation Blog generationotaku.net ; Dumb Otaku dumbotaku.com Otaku story in the Washington Post Washington Post ; Otaku History Wikipedia article Wikipedia ; Academic Pieces on the History of Otaku cjas.org ; cjas.org and cjas.org ; Early Piece on Otaku (1990) informatik.hu-berlin.de ; Man, Nation, Machine informatik.hu-berlin.de ; Otaku from Business Perspective nri.co.jp/english ; Otaku Sites The Otaku, Anime and Manga Portal and Blog theotaku.com ; Otaku World, Online Anime and Manga fanzine otakuworld.com ; Otaku Magazine otakumag.co.za ; Otaku News otakunews.com ; Danny Choo dannychoo.com ; Spacious Planet Otaku Blog spaciousplanet.com ; Otaku Activities Maid Cafes stippy.com/japan-culture ; Male Maid Café yesboleh.blogspot.com ; Akihabara Book: The Best Shops of Akihabara---Guide to Japanese Subculture by Toshimichi Nozoe is available for ¥1,000 by download at http://www.akibaguidebook.com Akihabara Murders : See Government, Crime, Famous Crimes . Websites: Picture Tokyo picturetokyo.com ; Akihabara News akihabaranews.com ; Akihabara Tour akihabara-tour.com ; Otaku story in Planet Tokyo planettokyo.com
Manga, Classic Literature, Novels and PR
U.S. Navy manga There are manga versions of classic Japanese novels as Tale of Genji and Western masterpieces such as Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment as well as favorites from noh and kabuki.
There are even manga versions of the Bible. These tend to be works by non-Japanese for non-Japanese although Manga Messiah written bu Hidenori Kumai with art by Kozumi Shinozawa is not and was described by an American right-wing Christian group as “an edgy rendition of the Gospel accounts [that is] both compelling and highly engaging.”
Well-known samurai-themed manga include Vagabond , the Takehiko Onoue classic about te real-life sordsman Miyamoto Misashi (1584-1645); Usagi Yojimbo , about a sword-wielding rabbit by Japanese-American Stan Sekai; and Kozure Okami a classic from the 1970s by Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima titles Lone Woold and Cub in English.
Popular novels, especially those whose target audience is young people, are often released in manga form. There is a magazine specializing in adapted stories and an alliance by publishers and convenience stores to carry manga versions of classic and well-known novels. Some bemoaned the trend as failure of manga magazines to come up new material and create original stories.
Manga is also exploited for public relations. When the United States Navy deployed the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier George Washington in Japan there were a lot of objections by Japanese over the deployment of a nuclear-power vessel in Japan. They navy attempted to waylay these fears by making available a manga called CVN 73 about the aircraft carrier with a Speed-Racer-like plot available for free on the Internet
Manga, Classics Noh and Television
Persopolis Manga have been the source of a number of television series, animated films, films and theater events, There is big money in this for manga writers the same way there is for writers whose novel is selected for a Hollywood movie. Designer and Tadashii Renau no Susume (“Advise for Sane Romance”) by manga wriiter Yakari Ichijo are two popular girl’s manga that became popular afternoon soap operas. Designer comes from a manga series aimed at primary school girls that ran in the 1970s about relations between models and designers in the fashion industry.
Manga have also inspired modern noh and kabuki pieces .Kuenai Tennyo (“The Crimson Goddess”) is noh drama shown at the National Noh Theater in Tokyo in 2006. based on the manga Garasu no Kamen (“The Mask of Glass”) by Suzue Miuchi, one of the best loved and most prolific creators of manga for girls. The story revolves around Maya Kitajima, an aspiring actress with great talents. The noh production featured female actors and was staged with the help of the director the all-female Takarazuka Revue Company.
Garasu no Kamen has also been made into a television series, anime series and a theater production. It has been published in 42 manga paperbacks as of 2006.
Manga from noh and kabuki have the elevated dialogue in balloons. Hana Yorimo Hana no Gotoku and Kabukumon are manga series that offer behind-the scenes looks at the kabuki and noh world,
Manga for Children
Manga Classics for kids include Tetsuwan Atomu (Astroboy) and Hi no Tori (Firebird) by Osamu Tezuka, Dragonball, by Akira Toriyama (a coming of age action story), Kamui-den (The Kamui Legend) by Sanpei Shirato and Gon by Masashi Tanaka, Lum Urusei Yatsura, Touch, Dr. Slump, Ebnelion, Sailor Moon and Pokemon.
Most classic children's anime characters began as manga characters. See One Piece, Conan, See Anime
Doraemon, See Television Programs
Sailor Moon was very popular as a manga and anime for a while. It features “giggly, shopoholic schoolgirls dressed sailor-style schoolgirl uniforms who become saviors of the world.” Created by Naoko Takeuchi in a manga entitled Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, it was turned into a popular anime that found a big audience in Europe and North America and ignited Sailor Moon mania in the 1990s. The story is basically about insiders and outsiders and being accepted into the group. For a while school bags, dolls and other Sailor Moon products brought in more than $250 million a year.
Hadaski no Gen (“Barefoot Gen”) is a manga story by Keiji Nakazawa that first appeared in 1973 and has been made into movies and several television series and has been translated into several languages. Based on Nakazawa’s experience in World War II, it is about a boy that survive the atomic bombing at Hiroshima. “Barefoot Gen” was the first manga to be translated into English (1978). It demonstrated the novelist style of manga. Nakazawa lived 1.2 kilometers from ground zero when the bomb was dropped. He was six years old at the time and lost his father and two siblings in the blast. When his mother died in 1966 there no bones in her cremated ashes, which Nakazawa believed was the result of the long term effects of radiation on her body.
Gon is the story of a baby dinosaur who lives in world inhabited by present-day animals such as lions, eagles and moose It is a good first manga for non-Japanese because there is no dialogue, not even written sound effects.
Captain Tsubasa soccer manga Slam Dunk was a popular manga by artist and writer Takehiko Inoue about, you guessed it, a basketball player. This was followed up by Real, about a wheelchair basketball, that also proved popular, selling 9 million copies in book form. It features characters with surprising depth.
Captain Tsubasa is one of the most popular mangas. It is about a soccer player and has been going strong for since 1981, It inspired a whole generation of soccer players, including Hidetoshi Nakata, arguably the best Japanese soccer player ever.
Hikaru No Gi is a comic series about a teenager who loves to play the traditional borad game go. It first appeared in Shonen Jump in December 1998 and has helped popularize the game among young people. The story about a boy who is possessed by a ghost that gives him extraordinary go-playing abilities.
Hachiwan Diver is about a former professional shogi (Japanese chess) player who leaves his profession to enter the in the world of shinkenshi, where people play shogi for big money. Created by Yokusaru Shibatam, a strong amateur shogi player, it was popular enough to be made into a television series.
Food and Wine Manga
Drops of God was a popular manga in the mid 2000s and had a large following in South Korea and China. Written by a brother and sister of wine afficionados, it was set at a Tokyo bar and combines wine drinking with a mystery story and revolves around the search for the 12 best wines in the world and the claiming of a ¥2 billion prize.
Oishinbo a Japanese manga about food, written by Tetsu Kariya and drawn by Akira Hanasaki, was first published in Japan in 1983, and has run to over a hundred volumes. The books have been enormously bestsellers. To date, they have sold over a hundred million copies worldwide, and have spawned a popular television show. The California company Viz Media released the first English translations in 2009. [Source: The New Yorker, Madeleine Schwartz, August 10, 2010]
Madeleine Schwartz wrote in The New Yorker, “It is hard to imagine a more successful combination of comic books and cooking. The premise is straightforward. Two rival Japanese newspapers compete to create a menu that will capture the essence of the country's cuisine. But the battle is complicated by the foodies in charge. At the head of the "Supreme Menu" is the fearsome chef Kaibara Yuzan, whose "Gourmet Club" is thought to be the best restaurant in all Japan. Facing him is his son, Yamaoka Shiro, a reporter and the hero of the series, who is in charge of the "Ultimate Menu."
“Yamaoka is like a gastronimical Clark Kent: as a reporter, he is unremarkable and often outright lazy,” Swatrz wrote. “Several scenes feature him clipping his nails at work. But with food, he is unstoppable, flaking fish with a broken glass when a knife is too dull, or parading enough esoteric information about Japanese cooking to make even an expert jealous. This expertise is vast, and it makes the series an enlightening read. Most of the stories center on the discovery of some aspect of Japanese cooking: as Yamaoka samples fish and mills rice, he also guides the reader through new ingredients and old traditions, with the help of copious footnotes. I did not know, for example, that black edamame are a delicacy, or that sake comes in so many varieties.
“But his mission is not only a search for good ingredients. The book constantly admonishes fanciness when simplicity will suffice, and flourish that ignores basic principles. In one story, an amateur chef given to showy knife skills has to peel a three-meter strip off of a single radish to prove his worth. In another, a worker attempts to impress his date by eating elegant French food, only to realize that nothing is more satisfying than ramen noodles. (French food, it might be noted, does not come off very well in the series).”
“At times, the stories verge on the pedantic, but they make up for it with humor. Yamaoka's passion for his project pushes him to extreme situations and outrageous bursts of indignation. I have never read so many food-related insults in one place. "He's like a gourmet demon," a character says of Kaibara. Chefs accuse each other of being mere amateurs or, worse, of forgetting the reverence they must have for their ingredients. One confrontation has father and son playing out years of family tension in a heated discussion over parasites.”
Death Note, Zombie, Ghost and Vampire Manga
German Death Note Vampire Hunter D, a character created by writer Hideyuji Kikuchi and featured in novels by Saiko Takaki, first appeared in 1983 and has been the central character in 17 novels and two anime films.
Death Note is a popular manga by Takeshi Obata that became a very popular film in Japan. It is about a ghost with a death list, and notebook with magical powers to kill anyone whose name appears in it. In China, authorities cracked down on pirated versions of the manga and the DVDs of the movie because authorities said they “adversely affected the mental and physical health of young people.” The manga and DVDs were said to be especially popular with middle school students who made notebooks similar to the one in the story and wrote in them the names of teachers and parents didn’t like. Students didn’t like the crackdown. In one city local government were barraged with phone calls from angry students.
“Kanta Ishida wrote in the Daily Yomiuri, “It's been a while since I've become so enraged by an author and his manga. Why? Because it is so good it's made me angry. I'm talking about I am a Hero by Kengo Hanazawa. The manga series, which is being carried in Big Comic Spirits, is the story of Hideo Suzuki, a mangaka whose debut doesn't go as well as expected and whose relationship with his girlfriend has become a bit rocky, too. Then, the life of this thirty-something man, who is eking out a living as an assistant to a popular mangaka, suddenly enters a world of extraordinary horror: A mysterious disease begins to spread, causing people to turn into zombies. Even Hideo's girlfriend becomes undead and tries to attack him. [Source: Kanta Ishida, Daily Yomiuri, February 4, 2011]
“The plot is a familiar one, found in everything from manga and anime to video games and films since it appeared in George Romero's 1968 horror classic Night of the Living Dead . Hideo fights off the encroaching zombies with a shotgun---his only hobby is hunting, and blowing apart zombies is a mainstay of this genre. Yet despite its well-worn premise, this particular story is transcendental and highly innovative, sad and fearful. Far from being a hero, the protagonist is a hopeless case who was on the verge on dropping out of society. The manga is like a tale of Hideo's delusions. The mangaka is imagining a society in which the concepts of love and trust---or communication, for that matter---have fallen flat in the face of the zombie menace.” [Ibid]
“Hideo kills his zombified girlfriend and later meets Hiromi, a middle school girl, while on the lam. Like the name Hideo, whose kanji characters mean "hero," the name Hiromi also elicits images of a heroic figure (hero-mi, perhaps?). Hiromi, a regular target of school bullies, is attacked by classmates who have succumbed to the illness. The story develops with a sense of urgency in regard to this part of the plot, though there is a glimpse of a light at the end of the tunnel.” [Ibid]
“The series has so far left me flabbergasted by the unforgivable cruelty the author inflicts on his characters. But despite my anger, I had a sense this series could turn out to be a masterpiece. The series has been compiled into five volumes so far, but I'm far too eager to see where the story is leading, so I end up buying Spirits every week as soon as it comes out.” [Ibid]
a kappa, a kind of yokai A lot of mangas have mythical creatures known as “yokai.” Manga expert Ryota Fujitsu has said many Japanese secretly believe in yokai despite being surrounded bay a modern technological society, “When something strange happened in your room---your brand-new computer suddenly stops working and then starts up again just as suddenly---it’ll make your life more interesting if you believe it’s the doing of a yokai.”
Manga and Western comics that feature a wide array of yokai, often shown in crowded tableaux or parades, include Cat Eyed Boy by Kazuo Umezu, Yokai Doctor by Yuki Sato, Yokaiden by Nina Matsumoto and Usagi Yojimbo by Stan Sakai. [Source: Tom Baker, Daily Yomiuri, December 2010]
Nina Matsumoto's Yokaiden , Tom Baker wrote in the Daily Yomiuri, “is about a boy who slips into a parallel universe, yokai run the gamut from scary to cute. Her menacing kappa, with piercings and tattoos, would be at home in a biker gang, while her umbrella yokai, unable to hop on its one leg, walks on its knuckles instead. (That may sound grotesque, but she makes it endearing.) Only two volumes of this excellent series are in print, but Matsumoto has been looking into continuing it as a Web comic.” [Ibid]
“Sato, writing for a Japanese audience, had no such limits. In Yokai Doctor, only part of which is available in English, the ugly Nure Onna is shown as a beautiful mermaidlike creature who adopts a human baby, and Konaki Jiji is even more radically recast as a kindly obstetrician.” [Ibid]
“Popular culture is a long way from exhausting yokai's potential. Warner Bros. in Japan plans to release Tofu Kozo, a 3-D computer-animated feature about an innocuous-looking yokai who serves tofu, next spring, while Hiroshi Shiibashi's manga Nura: The Rise of the Yokai Clan will be published in February in an English translation by Yoda and Alt.” [Ibid]
Manga for Teenagers and Young Adults
Death Note Nana is a popular manga that sold 30 million copies and was made into a popular feature film. It is about two young women named Nana who meet by chance on a train. Although they seem have to have little in common---one is tough independent punk rocker and other is a cute preppy named after a loyal dog---they decide to live together and afterwards share adventures and experiences together and become best friends forever.
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, by Hirohiko Araki, is one of the longest running manga series. Debuting in 1987, it follows the journey of Jojo from Japan to Egypt and features invisible assassins, zombie armies, tongue-eating scarabs, brain-burrowing mites and murderous orangutans. Translations in English are available.
Inio Asano, the mangaka behind Solanin , a story of a young band, has become something a spokesperson for Japan’s disaffected youth. His own story is not all that different from his readers and characters. Among his characters are Soshoku Danshi (literally “herbivore boy”) and Oyasumi Punpun ( a bird-like boy that lives among regular humans). After graduating from university Asano said he had trouble making a living from his work and considered a job in the gaming industry but was “really lazy and couldn’t be bothered to fill out the application.” Instead he befriended a number of freeters (young people who bounce from part time job to part time job) who hid their concerns about the future behind the motto---living for the moment.”
Otomen is a manga that features a male character named Asuka, a name usually found on girls, a female character named Ryo, a name usually found in boys, and Juta, a friend who tries to plays cupid but ends up being a third wheel. Asuka is a champion kendoist who hides his passion for girly things like cooking and cute stuffed animals. Ryo comes across as girl in school but in actuality is a skilled marital artist. Juta is secretly manga artist who uses the couple as a source for material in his stories.
“Mecha” refers to manga and anime with robots, especially giant robot warriors. See Anime
Sakura Taisen is based on video game in which a troupe of good guys try to reclaim psychic power spots, mostly near famous temples, taken over by evil robots. The manga is set in Taisho era (1912-1926) as is about an Imperial navy ensign assigned to work as a ticket taker for a Takarazuk-style all-female theater revue. He finds that the female actors lead double lives as the Imperial Fighting Troupe. He joins them as they protect Tokyo from hell raising demons and evil steam-powered robots.
Manga for Adults
Monster is a an 18-volume manga by Naoki Urasawa about Dr,. Tenam, a brilliant, idealist brain surgeon, who saves the life of a young boy, Johan, who turns to have been programs from birth by a secret society to be the next Adolph Hitler. In a quest to bring Johan to justice Tenma has to deal with assassins, Nazi transvestites, the Czech secret service and Johan’s beautiful twin sister Urasawa has been designated a national treasure in Japan.
Naoki Urasawa has won awards and produced series such as 20th Century Boys, which sold 20 million copies during its eight year run from 2000 to 2008 and produced three films that cost an average of $20 million to make, a considerable sum for a Japanese movie. Shifting between the 1960s and the year 2018, 20th Century Boys is about a group of friends led by a former aspiring rock musicians who becomes a convenience store manager, then a terrorist leader and finally saves the world from a bizarre cult, with a doomsday prophecy based on secret stories and drawings
Classic science fiction manga include Leiji Matsumoto's manga Galaxy Express 999 .
See Manga Artists
Manga for Men
Gaku is an adventure manga that covers a lot of bases. Created bu Shinichi Ishizuka, it follow the exploits of mountain rescue volunteer Sanpo Shimazaki, who has climbed great peaks in Nepal, Europe and South America and now lives in a tent in the Japanese Alps. He doesn’t work in an official capacity but is called from time to time by an old friend who works at a local police station to help out when weather conditions prevent helicopter rescues. Much of the story line is devoted to exploring the personalities and backgrounds of the people that are rescued.
Golgo 13 is a classic manga bout a professional assassin by mangaka Takao Saito. Said to be the favorite manga of Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso, it debuted in 1968 in the manga magazine Big Comic and has been carried in every issue since then. Golgo 13 has been made into two live-action films and an animate movie but was not into a television series until 2008.
The book form of Golgo 13extends to almost 150 volumes which have sold more than 200 million copies. The main character Golgo, or Duke Togo, is a tough, taciturn pro with amazingly accurate shooting skills and an ability to carry out the most seemingly impossible missions. The name Golgo is derived from Golgotha, the hill where Jesus Christ was crucified.
There is a whole genre of salaryman comics. Arguably the most beloved is Shima Kosaku, drawn and written by Kenshi Hirokane. Debuting in 1983 and selling more than 330 million copies in book form, it covers the slow rise of Kosaku Shima from lowly salaryman to president of the fictional conglomerate Hatsushiba Goyo Holdings. Shima is widely followed in the Japanese business world. Tsunehisa Katsumata, te CEO of Tokyo Electric Power Co. called him---a man of principal.” When Shima was appointed to president some newspapers covered the story as if he were a real person.
Shima embodies the Japanese virtues of diligence, modesty. Loyalty and self-sacrifice and yet acts independently, takes risks, speaks his mind and pushes reforms, qualities that are well-received in corporate Japan. Outside the manga he has endorsed beer and snacks and has appeared in two television series and a film. Shima deals with issues that are relevant to many salarymen and the ir families: working long hours, rarely seeing one’s family, having extramarital affairs, unscrupulous office politics and employees forced to take early retirement for questioning decisions made by their superiors. Much Shima’s company’s dealings have to do with buying wine from European producers and marketing them Japan.
Sexually Violent Fantasies in Manga
Yoshiro Hatano, Ph.D. and Tsuguo Shimazaki wrote in the Encyclopedia of Sexuality: A contribution to a local newspaper in the summer of 1990 complaining that the contents of comic books had become grossly obscene sparked debate between freedom of expression in Japanese comic books and the negative influence these magazines have on young people. This debate has grown into a major social issue. It is certainly true that a great many scenes in the comic books read by young boys and girls would trouble sensible adults. It should be noted that the authors or publishers of these comics have exercised self-imposed control concerning sexually explicit matter. However, there has been apparently no control from either party in limiting scenes containing violence. [Source: Yoshiro Hatano, Ph.D. and Tsuguo Shimazaki Encyclopedia of Sexuality, 1997 hu-berlin.de/sexology ++]
“This tolerance of violence is due to the norms of Japan’s male-dominated society and to its long history in which violence was condoned as a symbol of manliness. As a result, the sexual content of comic books aimed at young people has been curbed, whereas the authors and publishers have been given free rein in depicting violence (Bornoff 1991, 69-71). The past few years, however, have seen an active increase in movements, spurred on largely by women’s groups, to denounce sexual violence in the media. As a result, major enterprises, publishers, and television stations have revised their presentations of sexual violence. However, there are always people, in any society, eager to make a profit through work in the underground. It is an undeniable fact that comic books depicting sexual violence can be found in Japan today. Now, many people are crying out that urgent attention be given to sex education, in order to confront the sexism, gender bias, and sexual depravity found in such people as the authors and editors of these comic books. ++
Manga with Cross-Dressing Boys
Manga with cross-dressing boys have always been around. Go Nagai’s Harenchi Gakuen and Oira Sukeban and Hisashi Eguchi’s Stop!! Hibari-kun! are examples of manga classics with young make characters disguised as women. But in the 2000s the idea expanded to elicit a “moe” response among otaku---I guess so they could their jollies by being imagining themselves as cute girls---and found its way into games and anime as well as manga.
Among the most popular “moe” genre media are Guilty Gear XX , a manga about a boy brought up as a girl who races around in a mini skirt and a nun’s wimple; Idolm@ster DearlyStars , a game with three main characters who dream of being female idols, one of them a boy; and Baka to Tesuto to Shokanju , an anime featuring a boy with a beautiful face who is regarded as neither male or female.
Manga for Women
Shojo comics are written by and for women. Their target audience is often teenage and preteenage girls but readers include women of all ages, including any middle-aged women. They are often "romantic tales, with historical or supernatural twists" and typically feature a cute 13- to 16-year-old protagonists that get involved in romantic relationship and often travel to magical worlds to escape their boring lives at school and home. There is often a frumpy character who repeatedly get dumped or is ignored by boys in her school and a cute, popular one.
Women’s manga come in a lot different styles and for different age groups. They often feature characters that are much thinner than those found in manga geared for men. Women’s manga are very popular with female fans in the United States.
“BL” (boys love) and yaoi (an abbreviation of “yama nashi, ochi nashi, imi nashi” meaning “no climax, no ending, no meaning”) describe manga and novels for middle-age women that feature romantic relations between homosexual men---as a fantasy. Most boy-love manga feature dreamy, feminine-looking male characters. Fans of this genre are dismissingly known as fujoshi. Of late they have become popular in Britain among young boys and girls.
For young women there are schoolboy cafes with waiters with lip gloss and manicured hands and soft voices who pretend to be teenagers for well-dressed Japanese women playing the roles of benefactresses visiting the school. The café is inspired by the Edelestein, a 1970s-era classic manga about romance at a German boarding school. Most of the customers have a passion for “boy-love manga” featuring boy-boy romances.
Violent Women's Manga
Manga for women also have a surprising amount of sex and violence. One issue of the comic Amour, for example, featured rape scenes on 90 of the magazine's 316 pages. In one story, a woman was kidnapped and repeatedly raped and tortured with various devices and the story ends with her realizing how much she enjoyed it. Another story is about housewife who is introduced to sado-masochism by a man who rapes her. [Source: Nicholas D. Kristof, New York Times]
Amour has a circulation of 400,000 copies, but its readership is probably several times larger because copies are passed around and shared. Other hot-selling "ladies" comics with graphic sexual violence include Taboo, Cute, Scandal and Love. One magazine called I Wanna Be Your Dog featured naked women groveling on all fours. An issue of Cute once ran a story about an "office lady" who helped her psycho-killer boyfriend lure young owned to be tortured and raped. The rape of boys is a common feature of manga that cater to teenage girls.
One artist told the New York Times, "My mother's generation is very different. My Mon seems to feel that even opening the covers of comic books is disgusting. She knows that I'm writing something like this, but she won't tell relatives or neighbors what kind of comics I write."
Publishers say that most of their buyers are women in their 20s and 30s. The ads run in the magazines are primarily for women's products and sexy items like G-strings, push-up bras and mini-shorts. The magazines also features candid articles about sex, romances stories about love between gay men and run letters, like the one in Love Experience by 20-year-old office girl who was handcuffed and raped by her boss and "felt an ecstacy that I never felt before."
A 35-year-old housewife who draws for Amour told the New York Times her rapist are not "greasy, middle-age men" but dashing young attackers. "So readers don't really take it as a rape," she said. "They see it a assault by a person whom they are attracted to but whom they could not have as a partner in real life." When interviewed by a New York Times reporter, Masafumi Mizuno, editor of Amour, said: “Sometimes we carry stories where the woman takes the initiative, and those kinds of stories have their fans. But most readers seem to prefer when the women are in a passive position.”
Yoshiro Hatano, Ph.D. and Tsuguo Shimazaki wrote in the Encyclopedia of Sexuality: Despite the growing independence of Japanese women, these comics portray passive women being brutalized rather than assertive women who control their own lives. Mariko Mitsui, a former politician and active feminist, Finds it puzzling that many young Japanese women really do not want to be liberated. “They want to escape independence, and so for them to be raped seems better” than negotiating their own sexual encounters. Another popular comics theme, particularly in those aimed at teenage girls, deals with romances between gay men. These are less graphic and more sentimental than stories of heterosexual romances. They are also erotically engaging without being personally threatening for teenagers who are just discovering their sexuality. [Source: Yoshiro Hatano, Ph.D. and Tsuguo Shimazaki Encyclopedia of Sexuality, 1997 hu-berlin.de/sexology ++]
Female Manga Underground
Kiss Me Reporting from Angouleme international comics festival in Angouleme, France.Myriam Chaplain-Riou wrote in AFP: “Underground mangas by Japanese women artists that explore the sordid and the absurd are getting attention at one of the world's biggest comic-book festivals. The section titled “Manga Underground: Women's Point of View” is eye-catching and provocative. In turns, the storylines and characters can be shocking, virulent, violent, gothic, romantic, even naive, in settings that delve into reality or flee into fantasy. "These artists are (cultural) sponges who retranscribe what they feel in an instantaneous manner in their words and action, with no editorial constraints and no public to please," said Erwan Le Verger, coordinator of the manga programme at the festival. [Source: Myriam Chaplain-Riou, AFP, January 28, 2011]
“Kahori Onozucca is a manga artist who specialises in mangas in the "yaoi" genre that focuses on homosexual relationships for a female manga audience,” Myriam Chaplain-Riou wrote in AFP. “She concocts sexual intrigues in which sensuality and sentiments intertwine. In a video interview for the festival, Onozucca described in Japanese how her album “Jornada”---drawn in the style of traditional romantic mangas---inverted the roles of men and women in pornography. “Despite the contrast, readers found the result surprisingly authentic,” she said. [Source: Myriam Chaplain-Riou, AFP, January 28, 2011]
“Intriguing as well as disturbing, Junko Mizuno excels in the brutal tension between cute childlike drawing and sordid themes such as gentle baby dolls devouring children. Many of her books are adult adaptations of fairy tales, including “Cinderella”, and in France she illustrated the cover of “Bye Bye Blondie” by feminist writer and film director Virginie Despentes. [Ibid]
“Known as the queen of horror, Kanako Inuki has children tell worrying stories in which characters are often disfigured. Akino Kondoh mashes up dream and reality, plays with the absurd and expresses a very sombre and introspective view of the world as seen by prepubescent girls.Besides manga, she works in a number of other media, such as painting, video and animation.” [Ibid]
Image Sources: 1) 5) Japan Zone, 2) xorsyst blog 3) Hector Garcia blog, 6) 8) Amazon, 7) Takarazuka website ; Wiki Commons
Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Daily Yomiuri, Times of London, Japan National Tourist Organization (JNTO), National Geographic, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, Lonely Planet Guides, Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.
© 2009 Jeffrey Hays
Last updated August 2013