EQUAL-OPPORTUNITY ANNOYANCE (telophase) wrote in manga_talk,

Academic articles on manga

As some of you know, my secret identity is as an academic librarian. Every so often I do a search in some of our databases, looking for academic articles on manga. There's usually not too many, and most of them are short ones in library journals saying "Hey! Kids are reading manga nowadays!" In the past year or so, however, there has been a small uptick in the number of serious academic journals publishing articles on manga, and here's the abstracts of four of them.

I haven't read any of these yet at the time of posting, so I can't participate in any discussion of them yet - I'll do so in a day or two.

It does seem like the academic world is starting to flail over what the online fandom world is yawning over, namely questions of gender portrayal in shoujo manga, but keep two things in mind: first, this is a subject that hasn't had much serious study in the English-language academy so many of them are just being introduced to the subject, and second, that due to the nature of academic publishing schedules, the articles may have been written one to two years previous to publication, when the subject was a bit more current. and three, the the leading edge of a large wave of the fandom participants in the English-speaking world is just getting to grad school and the first professional jobs in the field and is finagling ways to get class credit and tenure for reading manga. :D

I'll post more as I come across them.

Beautiful, Borrowed, and Bent: "Boys' Love" as Girls' Love in Shôjo Manga.
Welker, James
Source: Signs: Journal of Women in Culture & Society; Spring2006, Vol. 31 Issue 3, p841-870, 30p

Abstract: The article presents information on the Japanese narrative art form manga (comics) and the emergence of "boys' love" manga in shôjo manga (girls' comics). The former began as a subgenre of girls' comics in 1970 just at time when women artists were making their space in the comics market. Soon it became popular among the girls' comics genres, and its creators became some of the best-loved artists in the industry. The presentation of androgynous beautiful boys who love other beautiful boys rather than girl characters made the boys' love narratives more impressive. These comics depicted the beautiful boy as neither male nor female, visually or physically, and his romantic, erotic interests were directed at other beautiful boys. Most importantly, his tastes were not exclusively homosexual as he lived and loved outside the heteropatriarchal world inhabited by his readers. He seemed a homosexual character but gender as performance has long been an essential part of Japanese theater.

Wood, Andrea

Source: Women's Studies Quarterly; Spring/Summer2006, Vol. 34 Issue 1/2, p394-414, 21p, 5 cartoons

Abstract: The article examines how the transnational circulation of Japanese comics known as boy-love manga which visually portrayed homoerotic love between male protagonists had developed a global and resistant counterpublic. The Internet facilitated discourse and textual circulation of boy-love manga among its fans, primarily towards teenage girls, in different countries which was resulted to developed a global counterpublic that is both subversive and queer in nature. According to the author, the significant change in how the teen readers conceived and fantasized about love and sex could be seen through their involvement in Internet communication, discourse and textual circulation that distinguish them as part of a global counterpublic.

Reading Manga: Patterns of Personal Literacies Among Adolescents.
Allen, Kate
Ingulsrud, John E.

Source: Language & Education; 2005, Vol. 19 Issue 4, p265-280, 16p, 6 charts, 3 graphs

Sales of manga or Japanese comics dominate the publishing market in Japan. Manga cater for a wide variety of readers, ranging from children's comics to adult pornography. In this paper, we focus on adolescent readers and describe patterns of learning to read manga. The findings demonstrate the importance of belonging to a community of readers since this community enables readers to share ideas and provides a resource for developing reading skills. These skills are self-taught, developed outside the classroom, since the reading of manga is generally frowned upon in most schools. Being aware of how actively adolescents read manga as well as of the kinds of skills needed to understand these texts would provide teachers with a deeper understanding of their students' reading skills. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

A History ofManga in the Context of Japanese Culture and Society.
Authors: Ito, Kinko

Source: Journal of Popular Culture; Feb2005, Vol. 38 Issue 3, p456-475, 20p

Abstract: This article explores the history of manga or Japanese comic art and how it reflected events in Japanese society during various historical periods. Manga has humor, satire, exaggeration, and wit. The comic art includes caricature, cartoon, editorial cartoon, syndicated panel, daily humor strip, story-manga, and animation. Like any other form of visual art, literature, or entertainment, manga does not exist in a vacuum. It is immersed in a particular social environment that includes history, language, culture, politics, economy, family, religion, sex and gender, education, deviance and crime, and demography. Manga thus reflects the reality of Japanese society, along with the myths, beliefs, rituals, tradition, fantasies, and Japanese way of life. Manga also depicts other social phenomena, such as social order and hierarchy, sexism, racism, ageism, classicism, and others. The Japanese culture belongs to what U.S. anthropologist Edward Hall calls the high context culture, in which people prefer to use more implicit, unclear, and ambiguous messages whose meanings are found in the context, rather than explicit, clear, and straightforward messages. According to Japanese anthropologist Masao Kunihiro, English is intended strictly for communication. Japanese is primarily interested in feeling out the other person's mood. Japan is a small island nation with a long history, and the people are homogeneous. In contrast, the U.S., according to Hall, belongs to the low context culture, in which messages themselves are important and everything must be spelled out. Japanese communication, being in the high context culture, relies more on contextual cues such as facial expressions, gestures, eye glances, length and timing of silence, tone of voice, and grunts, all of which can be expressed in manga very eloquently.
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