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“MANGA”

Vol.4

The Japanese Manga Situation – Manga and the Minister of Foreign Affairs

 

Love romance and violence manga were created when the first kids who were addicted to manga grew older and outgrew children’s manga, and when they matured new genre manga including social issues and business came out. In short, new genres of manga were created as to follow the growth of the first-generation manga readers.

Take JUMP for example, the most famous across the world is SHONEN JUMP but there is YOUNG JUMP for older guys and BUSINESS JUMP for even older men. There are a whole lot more, but I won’t go into that since these three are the biggest.

Anyone can tell that the titles of these three JUMPs say their target age for themselves and the contents too are quite clearly separated. SHONEN JUMP includes 100% manga and manga-related news and goods, but YOUNG JUMP includes centerfolds and gravure photos of girls mostly in bikinis, and BUSINESS JUMP has business topic manga and columns.
This style of clearly distinguishing the contents cutting out not-around-children stuff from SHONEN, or this-is-too-childish stuff from BUSINESS, is accepted in SUNDAY and MAGAZINE and thus dozens of manga magazines load the racks and shelves of bookstores and convenience stores.

Having said that, it is also true that some little ones reach out for YOUNG and more commonly vice versa, the YOUNG generation continuing to read SHONEN.

Here, I would like to take one manga as an example and explain exactly which characteristics make an adult manga an adult manga.

Among one of the most popular adult manga today belongs Salaryman Kintaro.

Yajima Kintaro, the main character of this manga who is an ex-leader of a motorcycle gang was working as a fisherman with his loving son in his late wife. His unexpected and new career as a trainee businessman starts when he rescues the chairman of Yamato Construction from drifting from an accident. Not many days after he starts his life as part of Yamato Construction, Kintaro finds out that the president of the company is an autocratic golden parachutist, and the chairman along with his executive managing director – a member of the company from its establishment – are about to forced to step down. Enraged by the corrupt management Kintaro steps forward to save the chairman and is soon supported by a number of Yamato employees impressed by Kintaro’s bold action unrestricted as a mere businessman (=salaryman).

That’s the brief outline of the story and even though the piece itself is a pure fiction, the composer have taken in various elements from the Japanese top-to-bottom society then and the social issues as well. The challenges, failures, concerns, anger and sometimes happiness of the daring protagonist drew sympathy from so many people that the manga was made into TV dramas and films totaling five.

I will have to admit that many parts of this manga like any other manga have the unique manner of exaggerating things such as companies and characters, but it is a very entertaining piece depicting very well the Japanese society and is fun even for mature people to read. It can be an introduction to Japanese business style, too.

So, I have written that manga is not something only children read. After all, for people who have got into the world of manga no matter the age develop no preconceptions for manga and genuinely enjoy it as a source of entertainment. Moreover, because people like that are there, manga grow too and thus created the Japanese manga culture and will continue to do so.

Next time I will unfold the world of shojo manga (girl’s comics) in contrast to shonen manga – a new field for me to break in.
from left:
SHONEN JUMP
YOUNG MAGAZINE*
BUSINESS JUMP

Can you see that you can actually tell the differece just by looking at the
cover page?

*YOUNG JUMP couldn't be found in the nearby bookstore so is replaced by
YOUNG MAGAZINE. (The cover pages look pretty much the same, however.)
 
Made in Japan Contents
ANIME ORIGAMI BUDO
MANGA MASS ENTERTAINMENT JAPANESE TEA CULTURE
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    Spirited Away (2001)
  • Haruki Murakami
  • Yasunari Kawabata
  • Banana Yoshimoto
  • Yukio Mishima
  • Inazo Nitobe
  • Japanese Tea
  • Bonsai
  • VAIO
  • Canon

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