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Manga at a Crossroads 2015

image of blue pedalSince the creation of the first manga magazine, Eshinbun Nipponchi, in Japan in 1874, manga evolved and came a long way. After manga became a widely-accepted form of popular culture in Japan, it was exported to countries like the US and has become an international phenomenon. Manga is no longer a mere source for entertainment for the general public, but also it is a serious subject of academic inquiry.  However, while manga became mainstream and global, its sales in the US have recently been in decline. Although some publishers attribute the sales drop to the market stabilization and maturation, it is clear that manga is at a crossroads. Through the two manga symposia, the origin of manga and future directions of this unique art form that started in Japan will be reexamined. The first symposia on March 6, 2015 will focus on classical manga. The second symposia on April 4, 2015 is dedicated to diversification and globalization of manga. The participants will also learn about the OSU’s manga materials accessible to them and find out how they can incorporate manga into research, teaching, and learning.

Exhibit: World of Shōjo Manga - Mirrors of Girls’ Desires! (March 28 - July 5, 2015)
Tuesdays - Sundays, 1:00-5:00pm (Closed Mondays)
The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, 1813 N. High Street Event link

This exhibition will focus on discussing the specific phenomenon of women's changing roles and expectations in Japan. The artworks of twelve artists (total about 100 pieces) has been chosen to address this theme through the diverse subjects in their manga. The artworks are composed of two qualities: original art and reproductions. Original shojo manga books/magazines and other related materials (e.g. figures, toys) will be displayed along with the artworks in their context to help audiences understand the power of visual pop culture since the influences appear often in mass media, including TV animation and toy products.

Teacher Workshop: Manga and Storytelling (June 12)
10:00 am - 3:00 pm, Sullivant Hall (1813 N. High Street, Columbus, OH - on the OSU campus)
Registration deadline: June 1   (Space is limited, register early).  Free for educators, lunch included.
Event link       Flyer      Registration

Learn how any issue, personal, local, and/or global theme can developed into manga art through manga story telling methods. Visual literacy will be incorporated into the workshop. Using visual images, students can develop their own literacy, through which students can understand other cultures and ideas to find and develop their own identity. The hands-on, interactive techniques demonstrated in this workshop are perfect for getting students involved in the fun and learning that occur when they create original manga. The workshop will also explore the history of manga, including Girl’s (Shōjo) manga, which can be seen at the current exhibit that focuses on the specific phenomenon of women's changing roles and expectations in Japan. The workshop also explores how teaching through manga storytelling methods can be aligned to the new core curriculum standards.

Symposium 1: Manga at a Crossroads - Classic Manga!  (March 6)
12:00 pm - 4:30pm, Thompson Library, Room 165, OSU campus
Event link        Flyer (click to zoom on image)     Flyer (pdf)

  • Prof. Maureen Donovan (OSU), “Comics from the Time of ‘Erotic Grotesque Nonsense’: Yomiuri Sunday Manga of 1930-1931”
  • Prof. Thomas LaMarre (McGill University), "Manga Empire: Companion Species and Shōnen Kurabu"
  • Prof. Gennifer Weisenfeld (Duke University), "Laughing in the Face of Calamity: Visual Satire after the Great Kantō Earthquake of 1923"
  • Prof. Natsu Onoda Power (Georgetown University), “Questioning the Racial Question: Representations of Human Faces in Classic Manga”

Symposium 2: Manga at a Crossroads - Development & Globalization of Manga! (April 4)
1:00 pm - 5:30pm, Sullivant Hall, Room 220, OSU campus
Event link       Flyer (click to zoom on image)     Flyer (pdf)

  • Prof. Masami Toku (California State University, Chico), “World of Shōjo Manga!: Mirrors of Girls' Desires”
  • Prof. Jennifer Prough (Valparaiso University), "Local Texts, Global Audiences: a View from within the Shōjo Manga Industry"
  • Prof. Kerim Yasar (Ohio State University), "Marketing Manga in the U.S.: Translational Strategies, Transnational Flows"
  • Prof. Casey Brienza (City University London), “Global Manga: 'Japanese' Comics without Japan?”

Sponsors: East Asian Studies Center, Institute for Japanese Studies, The Ohio State University Libraries, Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures, Department of History of Art, Department of Arts Administration, Education & Policy, Division of Arts and Humanities, Association for Asian Studies, Japan Foundation New York, and US Department of Education (Title VI).

Japan Foundation logo

Photo credit: Matsumoto, Akira (Reiji). Aoi Hanabira (Blue Petals) (Tokyo: Showa Manga Shuppansha, 1958).