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Manga! Manga!: The World of Japanese Comics

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Frederik L. Schodt received a 2017 Japan Foundation Award in 2017 for his work in bringing Osamu Tezuka and other manga artists to the world! Since first published in 1983, Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics has been the book to read for all those interested in Japanese comics. It is virtually the "bible" from which all studies and appreciation of manga begins. More Frederik L. Schodt received a 2017 Japan Foundation Award in 2017 for his work in bringing Osamu Tezuka and other manga artists to the world! Since first published in 1983, Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics has been the book to read for all those interested in Japanese comics. It is virtually the "bible" from which all studies and appreciation of manga begins. More than that, given the influence of Japanese manga on animation and on American-produced comics as well, Manga! Manga! provides the background against which these other arts can be understood. The book includes 96 pages from Osamu Tezuka's Phoenix, Reiji Matsumoto's Ghost Warrior, Riyoko Ikeda's The Rose of Versailles, and Keiji Nakazawa's Barefoot Gen.


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Frederik L. Schodt received a 2017 Japan Foundation Award in 2017 for his work in bringing Osamu Tezuka and other manga artists to the world! Since first published in 1983, Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics has been the book to read for all those interested in Japanese comics. It is virtually the "bible" from which all studies and appreciation of manga begins. More Frederik L. Schodt received a 2017 Japan Foundation Award in 2017 for his work in bringing Osamu Tezuka and other manga artists to the world! Since first published in 1983, Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics has been the book to read for all those interested in Japanese comics. It is virtually the "bible" from which all studies and appreciation of manga begins. More than that, given the influence of Japanese manga on animation and on American-produced comics as well, Manga! Manga! provides the background against which these other arts can be understood. The book includes 96 pages from Osamu Tezuka's Phoenix, Reiji Matsumoto's Ghost Warrior, Riyoko Ikeda's The Rose of Versailles, and Keiji Nakazawa's Barefoot Gen.

30 review for Manga! Manga!: The World of Japanese Comics

  1. 5 out of 5

    Caro the Helmet Lady

    Very interesting and highly recommended book for every manga fan. F.L.Schodt introduces his readers into traditional and cultural background of manga and Japanese pop-culture in general. It's not a new book, so it doesn't include many new names and titles, that grew into fame after 90-ies (no Evangelion, no Ghost in Shell, not even Sailor Moon was mentioned), but it's still very informative and worth a read.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Octavio Aragao

    Excelente livro para se compreender a cultura que embasa a produção e o consumo dos mangás. Digno da cabeceira de todo estudioso do ramo.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Guthrie

    As a westerner who lives in Asia I must daily align my cultural background and biases to that of my host country . . . it is the West that embodies the idea of modernism (aesthetically, architecturally, industrially, etc.), and therefore, ironically, exports the idea of post-modernism as the pre-eminent conceptual framework (mind-set) of contemporary urban societies . . . but who is to say what is truly important or what is simply imposed on places, like Hong Kong, that have yet to fully digest As a westerner who lives in Asia I must daily align my cultural background and biases to that of my host country . . . it is the West that embodies the idea of modernism (aesthetically, architecturally, industrially, etc.), and therefore, ironically, exports the idea of post-modernism as the pre-eminent conceptual framework (mind-set) of contemporary urban societies . . . but who is to say what is truly important or what is simply imposed on places, like Hong Kong, that have yet to fully digest (and react to) these aesthetic and philosophical trends? This is why Japan is such a fascinating place - with its own history of explicitly barring foreign influence while completely absorbing Chinese culture, a country that did not allow the importation of European books until the mid 1700s, but that has now made the comic book it own wildly successful form. Manga! Manga! is an excellent, stand-out book on the history of Japanese comics, going way back to temple graffiti and traditional scroll paintings, through the graphic efforts that emulated England's Punch magazine, all they way up to all the disparate manga genres of today that, yes indeed, exemplify post-modernism: super-hero school boys and the dramatic lives of sushi chefs. The text explains, among other things, how Japanese characters are used as a graphic element in Manga, and Yukio Mishima's proud critiques of his country's Manga productions. The BONUS is that the end of the book includes four very different styles of Manga translated into English! So it's not just explication but entertainment!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lars Guthrie

    Andrew Peyrie, my good Goodreads friend, turned me on to this, and he has a stellar review posted. Schodt writes from experience. He is the author of several other works on Japanese culture, especially as related to graphic arts, and also translated the Osamu Tezuka's 'Astro Boy' series for the American market. 'Manga! Manga!' is justifiably considered a standard source for research on Japanese comics. My only complaint is that it needs to be updated. Since its publication in 1983, manga has had Andrew Peyrie, my good Goodreads friend, turned me on to this, and he has a stellar review posted. Schodt writes from experience. He is the author of several other works on Japanese culture, especially as related to graphic arts, and also translated the Osamu Tezuka's 'Astro Boy' series for the American market. 'Manga! Manga!' is justifiably considered a standard source for research on Japanese comics. My only complaint is that it needs to be updated. Since its publication in 1983, manga has had a far stronger influence in our country, as can be seen by a quick look in the graphic novel or young adult sections of bookstores and libraries. However, it's a work that is still relevant, and its overview of the history of the Japanese comics industry, which has had a much greater impact on their culture than the American comic industry on ours since World War II, is invaluable. It also contains some fascinating nuggets of information. I learned that it was Hokusai who coined the term 'manga,' that Japanese writing with its ideogrammatic basis not only predisposes the Japanese zeitgeist toward visual story-telling, but in its original form contained a forerunner of the modern smiley face, and that western graphic artists living in Japan in the Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century had a significant impact on that country's publishing. Additionally, 'Manga! Manga!' is chock full of fantastic illustrations, and in an appendix contains long excerpts from four masters: Osamu Tezuka, Riyoko Ikeda (shojo magazines for girls get a chapter in the main text), Keiji Nakazawa (my first opportunity to see the powerful and influential 'Barefoot Gen' about Hiroshima) and Reiji Matsumoto. A chapter on Japanese norms and attitudes regarding morality and transgression called 'Regulation versus Fantasy' left me with more questions than answers. I am just as perplexed as Paul Theroux, whom Schodt quotes, by children 'serenely' reading 'distressing' comics that routinely depict 'decapitations, cannibalism...in general, mayhem,' and the strange (to my American eyes) Japanese blend of permissiveness and Puritanism. Maybe some things can't be explained. I recommend reading this with Yoshihiro Tatsumi's 'A Drifting Life,' which gives the reader a personal and autobiographical slant on the post-war development of Japanese comics. Schodt just gives a quick nod to Tatsumi as the originator of 'gekiga' (drama pictures), but he is fantastic.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Skjam!

    Back in the early 1980s, manga and anime fandom was tiny, with almost no material being available in English save dubs heavily edited for American children’s television and expunged as much as possible of their Japanese roots. It required a certain amount of determination, luck and a little madness to collect these foreign entertainments. One of the first cracks in the dam was this book, published in 1983. (The edition I am reviewing is the 1986 paperback with updated sales figures.) The book beg Back in the early 1980s, manga and anime fandom was tiny, with almost no material being available in English save dubs heavily edited for American children’s television and expunged as much as possible of their Japanese roots. It required a certain amount of determination, luck and a little madness to collect these foreign entertainments. One of the first cracks in the dam was this book, published in 1983. (The edition I am reviewing is the 1986 paperback with updated sales figures.) The book begins with a look at the manga industry itself, the insanely high sales figures, the wide variety of genres and the demographics covered. This is compared to the relatively tiny and narrow American comic book market. (To be fair, Japan was going through an economic boom and the U.S. comics market would do much better in the latter half of the Eighties, but it’s still striking.) From there we proceed to the history of manga, starting from the delightful Animal Scrolls of the 12th Century. While there was a thriving culture of humor magazines with cartoons and political cartoons, magazines with just comics were primarily for children until after World War Two. Then there was a phase where independent non-children’s manga were primarily made for the pay library market. But with cheaper printing processes and especially the mass-market success of Osamu Tezuka, weekly and monthly manga anthologies sold at newsstands became the standard format. The chapters that follow cover general themes found in manga: The samurai spirit and Japanese tradition, often translated into modern-day sports. Romance and emotional drama catering to girls and women. Business comics both dramatic and silly. And taboo-breaking manga, dealing with subjects from sex to teen rebellion against society. There’s another chapter on the details of the industry, showing how artists, publishers and accountants work together to produce the manga everyone loves to read. And then a chapter on the future of manga. This is naturally the one that’s most interesting in retrospect. Mr. Schodt predicted that manga would never become successful in America due to the difficulties of translation and resistance to foreign goods. He thought only a handful of classics would ever be brought successfully to market, and primarily for the scholarly venues. As it turned out, there was in fact a tremendous thirst for manga, which just needed to find the right distribution channel. The book closes out with four manga samples. The first is a brief interlude from Osamu Tezuka’s classic Phoenix in which a sculptor has a vision of the undying bird. Reiji Matsumoto’s Ghost Warrior is a complete story about two Japanese soldiers separated from their units during World War Two. (Note: sexual situations.) Ryoko Ikeda’s The Rose of Versailles is represented by the chapter where Marie Antoinette refuses to talk to Madame DuBarry, setting off a diplomatic crisis. Keiji Nakazawa’s searing Barefoot Gen depicts the events of August 6, 1945 in Hiroshima. (Note: Horrific depictions of injury and corpses.) There’s a brief index and bibliography at the back, and plenty of illustrations throughout. This is an excellent introduction to the subject of manga, and a snapshot of what the industry looked like in the mid-1980s. Younger readers may be a bit disappointed by the dated material–many of today’s top creators weren’t even born when this book was published! Still, recommended to anyone with an interest in manga as a primary text.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Wendelin Gray

    This is a very informative book about the development of the manga industry in Japan as well as the history of library publishing there. I really liked the manga excerpts they had at the end, too. Definitely worth reading even though it's not a recent resource.

  7. 5 out of 5

    John

    The only criticism I have of this book is that it was written in the mid-1980s and so some of the conclusions are no longer valid, but that happens with any comprehensive work, especially if the author makes the mistake of attempting to predict the future. Frederik Schodt does a great job of looking at specific examples of manga--individual series, magazines and popular trends--to explain the culture that creates and is shaped by manga. One benefit of reading multiple books on a given subject--a The only criticism I have of this book is that it was written in the mid-1980s and so some of the conclusions are no longer valid, but that happens with any comprehensive work, especially if the author makes the mistake of attempting to predict the future. Frederik Schodt does a great job of looking at specific examples of manga--individual series, magazines and popular trends--to explain the culture that creates and is shaped by manga. One benefit of reading multiple books on a given subject--anime and manga--is that you (or at least I) retain the information better and all of the books will present titles that other ones miss. For instance, there was a popular trend of magazines and manga series about Mahjong and Pachinko, in addition to a number of gag strips about salarymen that were not included in the other books I've read, though they've been referenced as a genre generally. Also includes some selections from notable manga at the end of the book, definitely recommend this title and anything by Schodt.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Soobie's scared

    I bought this book while I'm writing my dissertation about manga and I wanted to start from the basic. Schodt's work is the first of a long series of book about that matter. What I found interesting was the perspective the author used for this book. He knew he was going to present something extremely new to a public which didn't know absolutely nothing about Japanese comics and had a completely different idea of comics. I don't agree with the Schodt only towards the end when he writes that it will I bought this book while I'm writing my dissertation about manga and I wanted to start from the basic. Schodt's work is the first of a long series of book about that matter. What I found interesting was the perspective the author used for this book. He knew he was going to present something extremely new to a public which didn't know absolutely nothing about Japanese comics and had a completely different idea of comics. I don't agree with the Schodt only towards the end when he writes that it will be almost impossible to translate lots of Japanese comics into other languages because the cultural differences are too wide. I've been reading comics for 16 years now, which is more that half of my age, and I've read about anything. Japanese mythology or playing Go or Japanese history. And all of these was translated into my language. In addition, Schodt said that according to him the tropes of manga where difficult to understand for an American audience because they were not used to them. By tropes I mean, for example, the little drop that appear on the face of a manga character when something doesn't go as planned or the fact that people got a nosebleed when they are aroused. Schodt's comment was really American-centered because I'm not American and still I find it more difficult to read American comics rather than manga. I probably miss some of the tropes that are common for US readers and the boards are something built in a weird way and I have to think which way to read and that doesn't happen when I read a manga. To conclude, I give this book four stars only because it's an outdated book. The reader should read something newer after this one but as introduction into the world of manga is perfect.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Nozomi

    It was interesting to read about the origins of manga, as I read it when I was younger, my brother read it when he was younger, and my mother read it when she was younger. Manga aren't just comics that children read, but a huge media form in Japan. That said, let's hope readers put away the stereotypes reading manga has in their own countries (as I know the stereotypes in America are pretty negative). Also, the norms about what is shown and censored are different (for example, some of the anime s It was interesting to read about the origins of manga, as I read it when I was younger, my brother read it when he was younger, and my mother read it when she was younger. Manga aren't just comics that children read, but a huge media form in Japan. That said, let's hope readers put away the stereotypes reading manga has in their own countries (as I know the stereotypes in America are pretty negative). Also, the norms about what is shown and censored are different (for example, some of the anime shown on [Adult Swim:] are actually children's anime in Japan). There were some images that I didn't care for (the drawn porn) but hey, all countries have their different presentations of pornography (2girls1cup comes to mind). I had to read this for my Japanese history class, and the only thing I fear to hear from other students are judgemental comments about Japanese people and culture. I only wish there was an updated version of this book. Though I have read some of the manga mentioned (discovering boxes of my mother's and uncles' manga whenever I visited my grandparents' house), the "modern" manga mentioned in the book reflects my mother's youth, not mine or my brother's.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Enrique

    El libro escrito por Frederik L. Schodt es un trabajo excelente, no por su extensión que es muy pequeña, sino por la dificultad de conseguir materiales que hablen sobre la teoría del cómic japonés y su historia. Sin embargo, este libro ha quedado desfasado (su primera edición es del año 1986). Su estilo es claro y con numerosas referencias para las personas que desconocen sobre el tema. Además, añade tres capítulos de tres mangas clásicos para complementar su lectura. Recomiendo otro libro escri El libro escrito por Frederik L. Schodt es un trabajo excelente, no por su extensión que es muy pequeña, sino por la dificultad de conseguir materiales que hablen sobre la teoría del cómic japonés y su historia. Sin embargo, este libro ha quedado desfasado (su primera edición es del año 1986). Su estilo es claro y con numerosas referencias para las personas que desconocen sobre el tema. Además, añade tres capítulos de tres mangas clásicos para complementar su lectura. Recomiendo otro libro escrito por el mismo autor y que se enfoca en aspectos teóricos: Dreamland Japan: Writings on Modern Manga.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nish

    Good introduction to Manga and its relationship with the Japanese psyche. Reflections on the history of cartooning in Japan, WWII, and the modern Manga industry are provided though it is a bit dated around the 1980s. Unique archetypes include "kiddie porn, samurai exam crammers, Yakuza assassins, expressionistic axe-murderers, etc." There are sample comics at the end to read.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Acha

    helped me finished my thesis... great book!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Joshua R Derke

    A must-read for any manga fan.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Yanathorn Jiararattanakul

    Open the world manga!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Eric Orchard

    The book that brilliantly explained to me all the manga I was reading and made me want to discover even more.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Colin Tate

  17. 5 out of 5

    Carlos

  18. 5 out of 5

    Allison

  19. 4 out of 5

    David

  20. 4 out of 5

    Zachary Harless

  21. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

  22. 5 out of 5

    Agata (Aninreh)

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jean-baptiste Soufron

  24. 4 out of 5

    Laurence Green

  25. 4 out of 5

    Genevieve

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rebecka

  27. 4 out of 5

    Anders Korn

  28. 4 out of 5

    Karl Hickey

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tom

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rubén Jerez

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