OBACHAN'S SCRIBBLES

Thursday, August 26, 2004

JAPANESE MANGA (COMICS) -1-

Well, how's this new design? The background for the blog header is a pattern often seen in Japanese traditional paper, chiyogami, a kind of paper people use for paper folding. I also made another change --- those links to the websites which I got the web materials from were listed under "About Me"before. I did so just because the "About" section seemed to be already clogged, and I forgot that it can have up to 500 words. But thanks to one of the kind readers, I noticed that it looked like those 2 sites were my homepages. I hope that the way it is now is less confusing.

Now, it's finally time to talk about Japanese manga!! Sorry that I didn't write about this topic earlier.

About twenty years ago, when I was a college student, an American student in the cross-cultural communication class said that Japanese people looked so childish because they read manga all the time. He said it was so strange to see so many businessmen in suits reading manga on the train. His conclusion was this: Japanese adults are not intelligent enough or they all have some unresolved issues from their childhood, because they read manga too much. There was absolutely no student in the class who presented a different opinion.

Things seem to have changed in the past twenty years. Thanks to all those books and magazines that discuss manga not as just kids' stuff but one interesting cultural asset of Japan, and numerous fan sites of Japanese "anime (animation),"Japanese manga seems to be gradually gaining respect (to some extent) and becoming known worldwide. The American student mentioned above might have taken his kids to see "Spirited Away" or bought a VHS video of "My neighbor Totoro."

I believe that manga in Japan has become more than just funny "kids' stuff." Why was it possible? Someone said that the answer was: We had Osamu Tezuka in Japan. Many of his work are beyond mere entertainment and can be considered as true human drama, I believe. You may not believe this but by reading manga you can actually be deeply moved and feel encouraged to rediscover the beauty in people... faithfulness, strength, courage and love. If you don't understand what I'm talking about, just try some of the masterpieces by Osamu Tezuka such as "Black Jack" and "Adolf."


posted by obachan, 8/26/2004 11:41:00 PM

2 Comments:

Yes, you improved "About" and "About me" sections. As one of the Japanese I applaud your essays that introduce Japanese culture. You'd rather want to hear comments from overseas readers. So I'll make my comment short. Actually I, born before the World War II, seldom read manga so that I have little to comment on. In my childhood, however, I enjoyed the manga "Norakuro." It depicted the military life by the use of humanoid dogs. Those dogs were very humane, suggesting that the author Suiho Tagawa did not like wars at his deep part of mind in those days of militarism.
commented by Blogger IDEA & ISAAC, 8/27/2004 9:46 AM  
Thank you for your comment!
Yes, I know "Norakuro." I have read only a few episodes so I don't know
this manga very well, but I, too, had the impression that the author did
not like the war. I also read somewhere that Osamu Tezuka respected
Suiho Tagawa very much as his predecessor.
commented by Blogger obachan, 8/30/2004 10:50 AM  

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