Turning Japanese

April 16, 2009 in General

PCOer Martin Honeysett responds to an article in The Guardian which reported Japanese plans to boost their national economic prospects with drawing. Martin recently spent two years in Japan as a visiting professor of visual communication.

It comes as no surprise to read that the Japanese Prime minister keeps manga comics in his official limo. Manga is huge in Japan. Not just the comics but the whole pop culture that feeds off it.

That 90% of it is, in my opinion complete pap, seems to encourage rather than hinder its popularity.

Originally the word manga encompassed all cartoon drawing including political, strip and single panel cartoons. These are now overshadowed and squeezed out by the popular comic genre.

So while the idea that a Prime Minister keeping comics in his car might seem appealing, remember that our politicians already keep them in their toilets. Sharp, satirical, funny, well drawn cartoons and caricatures.

Not that we can ignore manga and the power or popular culture. It’s interesting to note that even in Japan the volume of printed manga is decreasing while online and e-manga is rapidly increasing. Way to go?

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