Category Manga Historiography

40c. The Mobilization of Shōjo Culture pt. 2

The theatrical elite that seek to shape Maya’s destiny have, quite literally, no regard for her genetic family, only for how her social relations might be reshaped so as to further their own ends. Similarly, as we see in the kindai period, education, particularly those educational institutions created to serve elite/bourgeois ends, fractures family in service of a society largely beyond the individual’s control but to which the state demands a precise form of obeisance. Contemporary Japanese society has not escaped this mobilization of shōjo culture–if anything, it has simply adopted a new mask.

Mononoke: 20 Years of Animated Imperialism

Mononoke is for many, once even for myself, a sacred object, a relic that embodies a transcendent anime ideal and to which, much like the bones of martyrs, the “true fan” must pay obeisance after a long pilgrimage. Even now with my ideological misgivings I have to admit that the film is breathtakingly beautiful, its pacing clear and direct–it tells its story well. But the question as to whether it’s a good story, one that bears the ceremonious retelling that an anniversary would seem to demand, remains an open question.

40b. The Mobilization of Shōjo Culture pt. 1

There were–and remain–then, two forms of sexual expression that were both mandated and directly overseen by the Imperial (now “democratic”) state: motherhood and prostitution. With motherhood, the state controlled the means of reproduction, the means by which imperial subjects were created and inculcated with certain values. Prostitution was sanctioned by the state in order to appease the all male military and keep them in line. Stability in the military was important given the frequency with which splinter factions within it mounted insurrections meant to “restore the Emperor,” a polite euphemism for “our ruling on his behalf.”

What Translation Conceals, or How to Make Bad Choices Well

It is, perhaps, a bit unfair, even if useful and necessary sometimes, to pick apart someone else’s translation, to linger creepily over its supposed faults, and generally slap it about with the sloppy phallus of your smug superiority.  I myself only started to eschew these bouts of accusatory dick-waving once I had spent a considerable […]

23c. Third World Manga, or Sazae-san Blue

I had, of course, intended to finally talk about Hasegawa Machiko this week, but I must momentarily defer yet again, for as I was laying out today’s post, it occurred to me that there were a couple of aspects of the two examples of Tsurumi Shunsuke’s manga criticism I posted last week and the week […]

21. Okamoto Ippei, or Another New Manga

Almost entirely by accident, I seem to be constantly running into “new manga” of late, and not simply new manga in the sense of new titles but entirely new conceptions of manga, be it the Franco-Japanese hybrid of la nouvelle manga or this week’s topic, Okamoto Ippei’s How to Draw the New Manga (Atarashiki manga no kakikata-shū).  This “collection” comprises […]

14d. The Anonymous Mangaka, Don’t Expect Us

Alright, the last of this four part kerfuffle, and I can imagine you, dear reader, breathing a gale force sigh of relief that my month long digression through ancient history is coming to an end.  The four parts of this series have delved into the roughly four levels of pre-war manga notoriety: legend, notable, who?, […]