Tokyo Notebook

-・- From My Everyday Life to Japanese Culture -・- Why don't you see the real Japan, not the typical foreigners' version.

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19 2010

The Genre of Essay Manga

If I happen to have “a manga (漫画: comics)”, I read it on the subway train during commuting time, though less frequently.

I thought it’s a thing of the past that Westerners are surprised to see adults reading comics in Japan. However some foreign passengers (always Caucasian businessmen) seem to be surprised when I open a manga on the train. I see… but if they know what I’m reading, it would remove the assumption that all comics are inappropriate for adults to read in public.

In present-day Japan Manga is considered one form of expression and communication, not just graphic novels.

The most of mangas l read are Manga-style essays drawn by manga artists who are also gifted as an essayist. The theme of the essay is one’s experience in many cases: a journey, child rearing, life with a partner or pets, challenging something difficult or silly, and childhood and growing up.

This style essay is more advantageous than a regular essay. Insightful manga artists effectively express their ideas using a synergistic effect between drawing and witting. For example, by a combination of them the artist can convey atmosphere accurately and bring humor to pages naturally.

essay mangas
Manga-style essays I like

Left: “A Nice day to sit in a café (カフェびより)” by Nichiho Higuchi (ひぐちにちほ). It was written based on a real story that the artist and her sister opened a café: coffee-brewing training, bank loans, documentation and trial and error after opening the café.

Middle: “Can I do it? (できるかな)” by Rieko Saibara (西原理恵子)
The middle-aged artist, known for her unconventional behavior, drew her reckless challenges from haggling over her back tax with an officer to working as a nightclub hostess.

Right: “Non-Stop, Road to being a Bride (ノンストプおヨメ道) “ by Aya Tsuge (柘植文).
This single artist depicted the circumstances of culture lessons through her all sorts of “training to be a good housewife (as a joke)”: making sushi, relaxing massage, horse riding, kimono-wearing, harp playing, capoeira, and so on.



Posted by Kinakinw | 14:51 | Comment [0] | TrackBack [0] | Cultural Issue (Japan)

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