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Manga/Comics and Transnational Flows of Culture in Asia

Sun, June 26, 1:00 to 2:50pm, Shikokan (SK), Floor: 1F, 108

Session Submission Type: Organized Panel Proposal Application


Japanese manga has had a tremendous influence on comics culture in many Asian countries. The immense popularity of a distinctive form of pop culture is often seen as overwhelming local aesthetics, to the detriment of artistic expression, which is then limited to imitation. This panel seeks to disrupt that narrative, instead offering examples of productive transnational flows of culture.
Mashima Tojirakarn discusses the case of Thailand, where the popularity of Japanese manga created a newly thriving local comics scene. While the aesthetics of locally produced comics are hotly contested in terms of a traditional versus imported style, Tojirakarn points out that the concept of tradition in Thai media in general relies heavily on imported content. Yukari Fujimoto looks at the newly popular genre of educational comics in Asia. Although publishers credit Japanese titles such as Doraemon with inspiring local versions, by contrast educational manga are dull and unpopular in Japan. Educational comics borrowed the concept of appealing characters from Japanese manga, creating a new genre that exceeds similar attempts in Japan. Deborah Shamoon points out that in its early days, manga in Japan also appropriated American cultural forms, not from American comics, but from Hollywood film, which informed the development of shojo manga in the 1960s. Tricia Fermin addresses the popularity of shojo manga in Southeast Asia, specifically how young women negotiate local norms of sexual and gender expression through fandom of homosexual erotica. Discussant Patrick Galbraith will add his expertise on manga discourse in Japan.

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