By Yamada Tomoko from The Citi exhibition Manga
How does one define shojo manga (girls’ manga)? As a child, I believed that
only Japan had shöjo manga. The idea may have come to me from magazines and television. I began to have my doubts, however, when I read a manga essay in Hayaboshi Nanao’s The Nanao Syndrome (Nanao no shökögun, 1982), vol. 2, and learned that England, too, had what seemed to be shõjo manga. Later, while reading books about manga, I learned that the famous musical Annie, starring a little orphaned girl, had its source in the cartoon Little Orphan Annie by Harold Gray, which started circulation in 1924. I also learned that during the 1950s, English magazines directed specifically at young girls were publishing cartoons about the ballet, for example, Ballet Dancers by David Walsh (1952), and Belle of the Ballet by George Beardmore and Stanley Houghton (1954). Aware that manga differ from place to place, here I would like to share some of my impressions of Japanese shōjo manga.
In practice the Japanese term ‘manga’ encompasses a wide range of media, but for now I am thinking of the kind of manga that appear in panels across several pages, with speech bubbles, dialogue and stories about male and female protagonists who undergo a transformative or unusual experience. Normally, after being published in several issues of a manga-focused magazine, measuring 2-4 cm in thickness, manga series are systematically compiled in the form of small pocket-book-size volumes (tanköbon). We are now in a period of transition, when manga can be purchased not only in actual bookstores but also online, and the format of a publication can be paper-based or electronic. In 2017, manga magazines and tanköbon together generated almost half of all publishing revenue in Japan-660 billion yen ($4.6 billion) out of 1.37 trillion yen ($9.5 billion). The question remains as to how much of this revenue was derived from manga aimed at girls and women, but girls’ and women’s manga seem to occupy about one-third of the space allocated overall to manga in bookstores. As a conservative estimate, then, perhaps at least one-sixth of manga are aimed specifically at girls and women.
From the late 1990s to the early 2000s
People around the world were enjoying two globally broadcast anime: Sailor Moon (based on Takeuchi Naoko’s manga, published 1992-97) and Cardcaptor Sakura (based on the manga by CLAMP, published 1996-2000). When people from abroad discuss these two works, their most frequent and most favourable impressions concern the representation of various conditions of gender and forms of love. Generally, what is understood is that, though gender equality is not discussed explicitly, it is conveyed as an important message. In Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura – but also in the onginal shojo manga on which these anime were based- an openness about gender consciousness is presented not as exceptional but as rather ordinary.
In my experience, when people who know little of the subject first hear uhe term shojo manga, they tend to assume that it refers to manga in which the main characters are young girls (shöjo). However, although it is a genre aimed at chidren and teenagers, shojo manga has an almost unnoticed history of depicting quite transgressive approaches to gender, as seen, for example, in the celebrated, poch-defining manga Princess Knight. Princess Knight was originally published by Tezuka Osamu between 1953 and 1956 and then again in new variations during the 1960s. It tells how, due to the action of a mischievous angel, the main character Sapphire has both a male and a female soul. Another example is Rose of Versailles (Berusai no bara, 1972-73) by Ikeda Riyoko, in which the protagonist Oscar is a beautiful woman who dresses up as a man. This work played a large part in establishing wider public interest in and acceptance for shöjo manga. Of course when the genre is viewed as a whole, we find many shojo manga from both the past and the present whose protagonists are indeed young girls.
Japanese shōjo manga formed as a genre during the 1950s.
At this time manga artists were predominantly male, with only a few women in the field. During the 1960s, however, love stories were produced by increasing numbers of female artists, who were older than most of their young readers. During the 1970s female artists were now closer in age to their readers and only a few male artists were still drawing shōjo manga. At this point the genre saw innovations that built upon previous works. For example, around the time of the publication of Rose of Versailles, many works were produced featuring only boys, both love between boys and friendship approaching romantic love. Representative of the period are HagiOMoto’s The Poe Clan (Po no ichizoku, 1972), Heart of Thomas (Tõma no shinző, 1974), and Takemiya Keiko’s Kaze to ki no uta (unofficially known in English as The Poem of Wind and Trees, 1976-84). In addition to these works, which also appeared in tankõbon volumes, each one around 200 pages in length, girls’ manga magazines of the time introduced many works whose protagonists were boys and sometimes young men. There were even depictions of boys who due to family circumstances were burdened with caring for young children.
What did shojo manga have to offer by depicting boys as protagonists, or by depicting relationships between boys that included sexual love? Maybe they simply gave girls a chance to see a lot of handsome members of the opposite sex. Or maybe girls and women who found it oppressive to be female took pleasure in human relations and love liberated from femininity. It also seems that readers who suffered in the awareness that their sexual orientation stood somehow in the social minority derived from these manga the courage to live. This message would also have reached readers who were not young girls, and one has the impression that male fans of shōjo manga rapidly increased in number around this time. Evidence for this includes the appearance of numerous shōjo manga critiques written by men. Shöjo manga that depicted the world of boys’ love did not precisely overlap with the stories of male homosexual love drawn by men, or with the real-life experiences of homosexual men, but perhaps it was this openness that allowed the genre to capture the hearts and imaginations of a broad range of readers.
To my way of thinking, shōjo manga may have been able to foster such a positive reception because in previous periods the genre was driven less by readership numbers and other such statistics than by an interest in untangling the human heart. Having said that, early shōjo manga endeared itself to girls mainly through stories about men and women or mothers and daughters: that is, through stories of human relations that approached conventional social reality. Since the 1970s, however, it seems to have become almost commonplace for shojo manga through settings that are positively unconnected with reality, to depict new gender roles and modes of communication, in tales not just of boys’ love’ but also of science fiction, fantasy and homosexuality. Examples include They Were Eleven
(Jūichinin iru, 1975) by Hagio Moto, Sons of Eve (libu no musuko, 1975-79) by
Aoike Yasuko, / Like John (Johane ga suki, 1979) by Öshima Yumiko, Mari and Shingo (Mari to Shingo, 1977-84) by Kihara Toshie, Star of Cottonland (Wata no kunihoshi, 1978-87) by Öshima Yumiko, Patalliro! (1979) by Maya Mineo and Prince of the Place where the Sun Rises (Hi izuru tokoro no tenshi, 1980-84) by Yamagishi Ryöko. It seems to me that by empathizing with the characters in these manga, the reader learns how to respect those people who are different from herself. On the other hand, perfectly “ordinary” love stories in which the main character is a conventional female girl certainly continue to be popular today.
Through the flourishing fanzine market and Comiket, which has been supported since its founding in 1975 mainly by female contributors, bõizu
rabu (boys’ love) has become a major genre attracting mainly adult women readers. Depending on the size of the book store, the bõizu rabu genre can occupy from one to several shelves of a manga section. The 1980s saw the arrival of manga genres aimed at adult women, along with specialized magazines that continue to be published today. It strikes me as notable, however, that for some reason we have no term to describe as a whole the genre of manga aimed at adult women, and that for the most part even manga aimed at adult women are categorized as shöjo manga. A separate but also interesting aspect of the field is the increasing number of female manga artists who grew up reading shöjo manga and who are now publishing in men’s magazines.
There are many wonderful things about Japanese shõjo manga and the woks to which they have given rise and it makes me happy to know that the genre is becoming more familiar to audiences worldwide.
Sora Yori Mo Tooi Basho
Original title: Sora Yori Mo Tooi Basho
Direction: Atsuko Ishizuka
Genre: Adventure, Comedy
Mari Tamaki is a high school student who dreams of making the best trip of her life, but he is very afraid to do it. Then, she meets Shirase Kobuchizawa, who has been saving time to travel to Antarctica in search of her lost mother. Motivated by her friend, Mari begins working in a store part-time and saving money for the trip. Two other girls join the adventure and the four embark on a boat adventure to the frozen continent.
Original title: Summer Wars
Direction: Mamoru Hosoda
Animation: Hiroyuki Aoyama, Shigeru Fujita, Kunihiko Hamada, and Kazutaka Ozaki
Script: Satoko Okudera
Music: Akihiko Matsumoto
Genre: Science Fiction, Comedy
Duration: 114 min.
Welcome to the world of OZ, the largest social network on the internet! Connecting through a computer, television or telephone, millions of people enter this virtual world and take the form of avatars to lead a new life beyond the limits of reality. Kenji is a shy and highly gifted math student who works part-time as an OZ maintenance technician. Natsuki, the girl of his dreams, invites him to spend the summer with her and her traditional family in her hometown: Nagano. But when a virus attacks OZ, triggering a worldwide catastrophe, Kenji and the entire Jinnouchi clan start a true family crusade to save the virtual world and its inhabitants.
Original title: Sarazanmai
Direction: Ikuhara Kunihiko, Nobuyuki Takeuchi.
Genre: Fantasy, action, supernatural.
High school students Kazuki, Toi and Enta accidentally destroy the statue of a kappa in a temple, the kappa serves as the guardian of the Asakusa district of Tokyo. The students are turned into kappas by Keppi, the guardian of the place. In order to return to their original state, students must obey Keppi’s orders: to fight against zombified kappas and collect certain elements that fulfill the wishes of those who possess them. To defeat the zombies, the students must be together for the attack to be effective.
Spring: longer days, warmer weather and the desire to get out of our burrows to feel the sun on your face.
And there is also the desire to release new treasures in order to prove to everyone that we are authentic Otakus.
Hiragana (平仮名, ひらがな) is a Japanese syllabary, one basic component of the Japanese writing system, along with katakana, kanji, and in some cases rōmaji (the Latin-script alphabet). It is a phonetic lettering system. The word hiragana means “smooth kana”
Thank you, Japanology!
Japan Labor Thanksgiving Day.
November 23th is Japan´s National Holiday to give thanks to its workers
Originally, Labor Day in Japan was a harvest festival, therefore it took place in autumn. The origins of this day come from the rituals of the Asuka period (11th and 12th centuries). Since the reign of Empress Kōgyoku, the people of that time, mainly agricultural workers, thanked Kami (Shinto deities) for the abundance of rice and other products. The sovereign presided over the ceremony making an offering of new rice to the gods before tasting it.
This festival, called Niinamesai, lasted until World War II.
THE INFLUENCE OF THE UNITED STATES.
In 1948, three years after the Japanese surrender to the United States, the Supreme Commander of the allied forces, the military administration of the United States in charge of the occupation of Japan after the war, put an end to the imperial nature of this festival, because he considered his Shinto influence suspicious. It was then that they replaced the holiday with the “day of gratitude to the workers” (Kinro kansha no hi), the holiday as it is known today, it´s a mixture of two American celebrations: Thanksgiving and Labor Day.
A PARTY TO SAY THANKS
According to the Constitution of Japan, on November 23 is dedicated to “honor work, celebrate production,” and encourage people to express “mutual recognition.” The fact that the holiday has evidently evolved since the sixth century, now all sectors are honored, including the service and research industries.
Today, November 23 is a pretext for numerous celebrations in temples and shrines throughout the country that give thanks to those who contribute to the prosperity of the country.
Third post of the last two weeks of our Japanese school for otaku life . Words that we like, that you may not need to use them or that you simply like to learn.
Remember to enter our Instagram account to not miss any news or updates.
Second post of the last two weeks of our Japanese school for otaku life . Words that we like, that you may not need to use them or that you simply like to learn.
Remember to enter our Instagram account to not miss any news or updates.
The most watched anime releases of this season by region.
With the start of the fall season, and with many anime releases going on, most fans have already discovered what their favorite series are.
Here is a summary of the tastes of the viewers by country or region
Which series triumphs more in each region? And in your country? Join us to discover it!
As an explanation, we remind you that these maps only include series premiered this season and not those that have continued since previous seasons, such as Black Clover or Boruto: Naruto Next Generations.
Search your area and have fun learning what animes your neighbors watch.
Europe, region of very different countries where the triumph of Giorno with Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind is something indisputable, including in Spain and Portugal. Perhaps it is because of its setting in Italy or because it is a series with a very Mediterranean atmosphere, but it has managed to overcome Goblin Slayer, which is less popular here. In second place is That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime.
We also have Sword Art Online, Seuran Kanuga, Zombieland Zaga, and Ulysses: Jeanne d´Arc and the Alchemist Knight.
Only Goblin Slayer in the whole country? Because it is the most popular in each of the states! Although the adventures of Rimuru in That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime were in second place in practically every state.
The fans of Latin America are full of passion, so they have not been able to avoid placing Goblin Slayer as the most popular series with its harshness, crudeness and interesting background, something that has managed to dazzle the fans of Mexico and Brazil, for example. That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime and Sword Art Online: Alicization also has its dose of fans, and even Zombie Land Saga appears in Haiti … although we all know that this series is increasing its legion of fans.
Canada has more disparate tastes than its southern neighbors, and although Goblin Slayer also occupies a large part, there is room for That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, Sword Art Online: Alicization in Quebec and New Brunswick, and even Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure : Golden Wind.
The Internet legends say that in Australia there are a lot of beings that can kill you, but if something does not kill you there are the goblins, or the goblins, as they are also called: Goblin Slayer completely dominates the views of the fans of the country .
Do you agree with this data? What is your favorite anime for this season?
At the beginning of October, in Chica Manga we decided to start practicing some words in Japanese, in order to color our otaku life.
Today we present the first six, and every Friday there will be three more on the Instagram account, so you can have a look during your weekends.
Bleach and the Kubo returns.
If you are a reader of the Bleach manga, you know the story of Ichigo Kurosaki and his ability to interact with the spirits. You also know of the great success that it has achieved since its launch, back in the summer of 2001.
I imagine too, that you will know that Bleach is written and drawn by Tite Kubo, who in 2016 ended the saga.
Since that year, Kubo has allmost no intervened in the manga universe, and it was not until this year that he released the one-shot Burn The Witch.
But the most interesting part of this long-awaited return has been his motives: Kubo was lonely.
As explained by the mangakain a interview, with the end of Bleach he lost a lot of his friends, because the ‘shinigamis’ were his companions. After realizing the loneliness that invaded him, he pushed himself to publish a new story.
For his comeback, Kubo strayed away from his work with Soul Reapers for a different sort of fantasy. The artist published his one-shot Burn The Witch earlier this year, giving fans a look at his take on all things dragon and magic. However, towards the end, fans were teased with some Bleach tie-ins as the one-shot made reference to a western Soul Society and more.
So, if audiences are lucky, Kubo might revive his iconic shonen series for a sequel down the line.