Manga Diplomacy

Friday, September 28, 2007


Manga is Japan’s ubiquitous art form; a kind of comic book equivalent that illustrates everything from tax preparation to hard-core fantasy. But it is its growing success outside Japan that’s highlighted its new utility, what Japanese politicians are calling ‘manga diplomacy.’ Roland Kelts, author of Japanamerica, explains why politicians are recognizing the form as a powerful cultural export.

Comments [3]

David from Rhode Island

Lewis is funny. He says specific examples of manga and anime outside the area of "girls in short skirts beating up bad guys" would have been nice, and then cites Sailor Moon, which my daughter loved. And the poster in her room sure looked like it was about girls in short skirts beating up bad guys, but maybe I was missing something. In any case, Lewis' comments are otherwise right on.

Oct. 10 2007 12:15 PM
Shelly from United States

A definition for manga? It's a medium for telling a story or imparting information, the way a novel or a documentary is. It's not defined by its content, but rather the way the story is told, in a combination of black and white graphics (with shading if the artist wants) accompanied by dialogue and small amounts of text. The collective content of manga is as varied as the contents of a library.

Sep. 30 2007 06:56 AM
Lewis Reining from Virginia, United States

It's so interesting to hear manga on public radio. As a 17 year old adopted korean-American, I've grown up with anime and manga. Unfortuantly, in today's society, I do get the sense that too many people view manga as nothing more than "disproportionate girls in short skirts beating up bad guys." But it's so much more than that. Anime and Manga span the entire spectrum which I'm glad was addressed in this piece. Specific examples would have been a nice addition. Examples such as: Sailor Moon and Dragon ball Z which are two fairly well known animes where good guys beat down their enemies with super powers and in doing so save the world. But there's also Death Note about a genius with a twisted sense of justice who acquires an unusual power that will either save the world or throw it into ruin. Salad Days, a manga about high school romances and the troubles we endure trying to figure out how this relationship thing works. Shaman King is another one that explores personal strength, and how possessing the mental strength not to lose yourself can overcome any physical barrier. Anime and manga explore everything from child abuse to first romances to teen pregancy to instant teen idols to the power of kindness. I wish there had a been a little more representation of this spectrum in the piece; nonetheless, I was happy to hear this blooming media explored on this show. Thank you.

Sep. 29 2007 04:55 PM

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