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Cigdem Göle

Manga

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One of Japan's remarkable manga artists and writers, Keiji Nakasawa was standing behind the wall in his school's garden when the Atomic Bomb was dropped onto Hiroshima on 6 August 1945. It was the wall that saved his life that day. He was only six years old. He lost all members of his family except for his mother and an infant sister, who also died a few weeks after the bombing.

Nakasawa's commonly known manga series "Barefoot Gen" deals with the life in Hiroshima before the bombing ,the aftermath and the suffering that follows.

In 1961, after moving to Tokyo with his mother, he began his first drawings. When he lost his mother in 1966, due to the terrible effects of the atomic bomb, he decided to create a manga series related to his memories of the bombing.

In the Foreword of the first episode of Barefoot Gen, Nakasawa writes, "When I went to the crematorium to gather the ashes of my mother, I was shocked to see there were no bone particles left from her body. The radioactive residue of the bomb had destroyed even the smallest bit of bone in her body. The bomb had taken away everything from me, including my mother's bones. I was so full of anger that I swore I would never forgive the Japanese who started the war and the Americans who dropped the bomb."

In Barefoot Gen, the reader sees the life in Hiroshima before and after the bombing through the eyes of Nakasawa's alter ego, Gen. Nakasawa's depiction of the destroying effects of war upon people is amazing. He questions the sides (Japan & the USA) who caused the sufferings of the war they are in as well as the hypocrisy of the people in his hometown.

What is told by Nakasawa in Barefoot Gen causes the reader to wander away from the dreamy atmosphere of a comic strip and forces them to remind themselves that the story is real, which results in "a pain in the stomach" feeling.

An interview with Nakasawa

http://www.tcj.com/256/i_nakazawa.html

Edited by Cigdem Eksi

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Some drawings from Nakasawa's Barefoot Gen.

t1_BarefootGen.gif

gen_extract1.jpg

9780867196191.jpg

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There are many characteristics that make Manga very distinctive. The largest thing that Manga art is known for is its characters. Manga characters almost always have large eyes, small mouths, and they also usually have abnormal hair color. These things give their characters a very western look to them. Manga like Akira, however, has gone against this grain.

Manga characters usually show over exaggerated emotions. When a character cries, it usually pours out in buckets, when they laugh, their face seems engulfed by the size of their mouths and their eyes become slits. An angry character will have rosy cheeks and steam rolling from around their body. This use of emotion would most likely be categorized as cartoonish.

http://comicbooks.about.com/od/manga/ss/manga101_3.htm

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Dan,

You're welcome.

I'm glad you liked Nakasawa's art.

Thank you for the links, the first one is very powerful indeed.

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Thank you C for putting up this interesting topic. It's a persistent peripheral, and sometimes focussed, interest of mine, cinema. I used to devour Akira Kurosawa, Bergman, Bellini et.c.. Today much of the greatest cinematography in many genres have a strong oriental influence, particularly Japanese.

One thing that bothers me about Manga ( and also much ghetto stuff from various rapper derivatives is the objectification of woman) The women in Manga are so often cute and schoolgirlish. The rapper of a particular genre depends on booby butty bimboes 'with all the right moves'.

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One thing that bothers me about Manga ( and also much ghetto stuff from various rapper derivatives is the objectification of woman) The women in Manga are so often cute and schoolgirlish. The rapper of a particular genre depends on booby butty bimboes 'with all the right moves'.

That's right. The main character in manga is often Bishoujo (beautiful young girl) portrayed as

a good hearted, innocent schoolgirl with a uniform whose skirt occasionally fly about. Although

there have been an increase in the number of female manga authors, the sexist attitude changed

very little. The reason for this lies in the solid structure of the manga industry and the group of

readers it has been aiming at.

The gender roles depicted in manga reflect the traditional Japanese society and culture.The Mother or The Older

Sister in manga is the adult/mature version of Bishoujo, a maternal figure with a pure heart that the main character

asks for advice when she is in trouble. One difference of Bishoujo and modern Japanese girl is that the manga

character is more outspoken and always determined.

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One thing that bothers me about Manga ( and also much ghetto stuff from various rapper derivatives is the objectification of woman) The women in Manga are so often cute and schoolgirlish. The rapper of a particular genre depends on booby butty bimboes 'with all the right moves'.

That's right. The main character in manga is often Bishoujo (beautiful young girl) portrayed as

a good hearted, innocent schoolgirl with a uniform whose skirt occasionally fly about. Although

there have been an increase in the number of female manga authors, the sexist attitude changed

very little. The reason for this lies in the solid structure of the manga industry and the group of

readers it has been aiming at.

The gender roles depicted in manga reflect the traditional Japanese society and culture.The Mother or The Older

Sister in manga is the adult/mature version of Bishoujo, a maternal figure with a pure heart that the main character

asks for advice when she is in trouble. One difference of Bishoujo and modern Japanese girl is that the manga

character is more outspoken and always determined.

Interesting. One thing that strikes me is my misunderstanding is partly that I probably am a target and therefore while I intellectually am a feminist, I'm old school. Perhaps at best what has been derisively termed a snag. Food for thought.

Do you feel that Germaine Greers' "Damned Whores and (or?) Gods Police" concept can help understand the cultural background or is it more complex or subtle than that? I suspect it is, and is not, as Japanese culture when looked at through Kurosawas early works, the young girls were hidden away in movies such as Seven Samurai.

In many cultures until quite recently in written history woman, unless married, or under parental/family protection, could be taken as property by any man who comes across her.

A friend of mine regularly had visitors from Japan, (usually young fruitcakes who thought cycling across Oz pre higher ed was a cool thing to do), as her sister had taught English there some years preiously. Anyway, one night after a dinner party, one young Japanese women needed to get somewhere and as I was driving a guy home we suggested we drop her off. She immediately looked worried and didn't know what to say, or, how to say: no, that would not be proper. As we later had it explained to us.

So, this young Japanese woman seemed perhaps typical in fitting into a rather incongrous role that spoke of both prison and freedom.

Edited by John Dolva

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One thing that bothers me about Manga ( and also much ghetto stuff from various rapper derivatives is the objectification of woman) The women in Manga are so often cute and schoolgirlish. The rapper of a particular genre depends on booby butty bimboes 'with all the right moves'.

That's right. The main character in manga is often Bishoujo (beautiful young girl) portrayed as

a good hearted, innocent schoolgirl with a uniform whose skirt occasionally fly about. Although

there have been an increase in the number of female manga authors, the sexist attitude changed

very little. The reason for this lies in the solid structure of the manga industry and the group of

readers it has been aiming at.

The gender roles depicted in manga reflect the traditional Japanese society and culture.The Mother or The Older

Sister in manga is the adult/mature version of Bishoujo, a maternal figure with a pure heart that the main character

asks for advice when she is in trouble. One difference of Bishoujo and modern Japanese girl is that the manga

character is more outspoken and always determined.

Interesting. One thing that strikes me is my misunderstanding is partly that I probably am a target and therefore while I intellectually am a feminist, I'm old school. Perhaps at best what has been derisively termed a snag. Food for thought.

Do you feel that Germaine Greers' "Damned Whores and (or?) Gods Police" concept can help understand the cultural background or is it more complex or subtle than that? I suspect it is, and is not, as Japanese culture when looked at through Kurosawas early works, the young girls were hidden away in movies such as Seven Samurai.

In many cultures until quite recently in written history woman, unless married, or under parental/family protection, could be taken as property by any man who comes across her.

A friend of mine regularly had visitors from Japan, (usually young fruitcakes who thought cycling across Oz pre higher ed was a cool thing to do), as her sister had taught English there some years preiously. Anyway, one night after a dinner party, one young Japanese women needed to get somewhere and as I was driving a guy home we suggested we drop her off. She immediately looked worried and didn't know what to say, or, how to say: no, that would not be proper. As we later had it explained to us.

So, this young Japanese woman seemed perhaps typical in fitting into a rather incongrous role that spoke of both prison and freedom.

That's quite a broad subject to cover in a thread on Manga, but at least on the last

point you made, there is also the possibility that the young Japanese woman was only normal

in not feeling comfortable about travelling with two men she met at a party. :ice

Edited by Cigdem Eksi

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That's it. There is culture involved. It was sufficiently out of the ordinary (for me/us) for it to stand out. Why couldn't she just simply say "no, I'm gonna do bla bla..."?

btw, BushiDo is "the soul of Japan", The Sun-God or Devine Emperor. Wordplay - mindplay?

Edited by John Dolva

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That's it. There is culture involved. It was sufficiently out of the ordinary (for me/us) for it to stand out. Why couldn't she just simply say "no, I'm gonna do bla bla..."?

btw, BushiDo is "the soul of Japan", The Sun-God or Devine Emperor. Wordplay - mindplay?

Of course there is culture involved. How can it be the opposite?

Maybe she just couldn't or didn't want to lie.

As far as I know, Bushido means "way of the warrior" and refers to The Samurai.

"wordplay-mindplay?" I look forward to your own explanation for this.

I want to ask you one thing about your previous post.

"....I suspect it is, and is not..." is that meant to show that there's an ironic aspect to your way of thinking?

Edited by Cigdem Eksi

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That's it. There is culture involved. It was sufficiently out of the ordinary (for me/us) for it to stand out. Why couldn't she just simply say "no, I'm gonna do bla bla..."?

btw, BushiDo is "the soul of Japan", The Sun-God or Devine Emperor. Wordplay - mindplay?

Of course there is culture involved. How can it be the opposite?

Maybe she just couldn't or didn't want to lie.

As far as I know, Bushido means "way of the warrior" and refers to The Samurai.

"wordplay-mindplay?" I look forward to your own explanation for this.

I want to ask you one thing about your previous post.

"....I suspect it is, and is not..." is that meant to show that there's an ironic aspect to your way of thinking?

My mother tell's me she took a course in Finland in 1953/54 by (in German) a Tojohiko Kagara : ""Bushido - the soul of Japan" where the analysis was that B stands for the sun-god or emperor. The one in direct communion with 'god'. Bishoujo seems a variant of this where the pure mother (sun) is sought out for advice.

The Fox mythologically is a shape shifter that maintains and extends control by staying the same within but takes on guises to suit. ie Manga is a furtherance of a rigid society that only appears to change in order to mollify. Perhaps there's also an element of commercialism shaping consciousness as the young, while innately more justice oriented, are also more naive with regards to impulse and, with a disposable income, becomes a target. Japan was a feudal, closed country, only recently cutting borders for trade. So, is it a way of managing the wish for freedom while maintaining control? I don't know. Hence the apparent irony.

I'm not being deliberately ironic. I've for a large part of my life been interested in the far east. From a mixed background, essentially scandinavian, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish perspective, the way of thinking or being is similar and different. Enough to confuse and interest me. Greer looks at two roles for woman acceptable in a patriarchial world. IOW it's forced onto women. The simple dichotomy as a starting point is all very well, but there are subtle variations. re Seven Samurai. On the one hand the peasants desperately seek help from Samuriais to save them, yet have an deep innate distrust and hide their young women from them. Ie trusts them in matters of killing men but not in regards to sex. This seems complex, or even absurd to me. I'm sure there is a clearer answer. In Manga there is the girl, or often apparently androgenous persona, and the battles fought. Whatever, it could be seen as progressive and oppressive.

re dinner guest: My understanding is that she was caught in a dilemma. She was torn between a yes, that is a convenient way of getting home (rational), and no, it is not proper to be alone with two strange men for any reason (cultural). Her participation in the mixed dinner party was open. Anyway, the host explained it to me later that such 'unprotected' association was not 'proper' accordig to her (Japanese woman) upbringing.

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Well, there are different societies and within these different men and women. Some feel free to say no and some understand what it means and some do not. My personal experience found this encounter odd or thought provoking. By open I mean free. What do you think I meant? It was at a table on which there was food that people ate and there was freely ranging conversation. (The ghouls were safely locked in the dungeon.)

----------------------

BUSHIDO - THE SOUL OF JAPAN BY INAZO NITOBÉ, A.M., Ph.D.

DECEMBER, 1904

" I found that without understanding Feudalism and Bushido,[1] the

moral ideas of present Japan are a sealed volume."

http://www.fullbooks.com/Bushido-the-Soul-of-Japan1.html

Perhaps there is a deeper understanding.

The way of the warrior appears a misnomer. The Ideals of Chivalry is closer to the correct english translation.

It's true that the Samurai class held this as a highest ideal and was a guiding force in Japan as a whole. Samurai women did indeed face the dichotomy of Greer. Their highest duty was at the hearth. Dutiful daughter, faithful wife, protective mother. This duty extended to self destruction if violation occurred or threatened. (a choice of being a God's police or a Damned whore). Thus woman in the Samurai class was least free in Japanese society. Similarly, Valour, to the Samurai man transcended self and bound him to a Loyalty to a higher being. During feudal Japan, this ideal (not a person) was a glue that held society together. In the highest form it was a mythical godlike persona (emperor or war lord) that allegiance and honor (life and death, in peace, battle death, or suicide) was devoted to. Merely being a warrior was not Bushido. It was far more complex than that.

This then did indeed imprison society as a whole while also maintaining it. (btw much cartoon art has a violent pic or two, even superman :ice context, context, always context. It's the story as a whole rather than a fragment that speaks closer to the truth. Apostle John, in a letter to a particular grouping, wrote that women shouldn't speak in church (body of believers, not a building) because their understanding through circumstance was not up to speed. They should keep the simpler questions to the home so the church could grow. Christian history is littered with variants that take portions out of context and make that the basis of belief. Likewise a fractured look at any subject will never be the whole truth which often is quite different from that fragment) It did so until the trade with the western world introduced the merchant class and the Samurai died out. Bushido on the other hand did not die. It continues to shape Japanese society. Manga can be seen as a way of (yes, mollifying or imprisoning women) into these ideals. It provides a compelling framework for robotic personas to act out real feelings. Whether it is an appropriate framework is another question.

-------------------

I agree that nuclear blasts, whether from friendly or unfriendly sources, are not very nice.

The written or drawn history throughout the world is littered by 'underground' contributions. I don't think Manga qualifies. Not even as benign Mainstream. The Fox is a typical oriental mythological being. It can be argued that many Chinese see the Chairman as 'foxy', Further, was there ever a 'Last Emperor' or was there simply a morphing that defeats the endless peasant revolts?

Edited by John Dolva

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I agree with Çiğdem. Any woman from ANY culture would be reticent about taking rides with 2 guys she'd just met at a dinner party, however much her "participation" in the party was regarded by one of the guys as "open" (whatever that might mean). And according to our friends at the CIA, Bushido means "way of the warrior" -- "a code of conduct and a way of life, analogous to the European concept of chivalry."

http://www.123exp-history.com/t/03764084717/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bushido

The more curious part of this for me is the tangling of Manga into a mainstream media issue (?), which by definition in these parts means it ought not to be trusted: "The Fox mythologically is a shape shifter that maintains and extends control by staying the same within but takes on guises to suit. ie Manga is a furtherance of a rigid society that only appears to change in order to mollify."

I really can find nothing "mollifying" or "comforting" or "complacency-inducing" in Nakazawa's presentation of the aftermath of an atomic bomb blast:

http://titan.iwu.edu/~rwilson/people.html

people-big2.gif

Hello Dan

It's good to see you're back :ice

As you said, it is normal for a woman to worry in such a situation.

I don't think there are many women who would feel comfortable in travelling with two strangers.

Anyway, the aim of this thread was to focus mainly on Nakasawa's art and his depiction of the atomic bomb

disaster. The above drawing disturbingly shows the effects of this incident.

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This then did indeed imprison society as a whole while also maintaining it. (btw much cartoon art has a violent pic or two, even superman :ice context, context, always context. It's the story as a whole rather than a fragment that speaks closer to the truth. Apostle John, in a letter to a particular grouping, wrote that women shouldn't speak in church (body of believers, not a building) because their understanding through circumstance was not up to speed. They should keep the simpler questions to the home so the church could grow. Christian history is littered with variants that take portions out of context and make that the basis of belief. Likewise a fractured look at any subject will never be the whole truth which often is quite different from that fragment) It did so until the trade with the western world introduced the merchant class and the Samurai died out. Bushido on the other hand did not die. It continues to shape Japanese society. Manga can be seen as a way of (yes, mollifying or imprisoning women) into these ideals. It provides a compelling framework for robotic personas to act out real feelings. Whether it is an appropriate framework is another question.

John,

It's the nature of all art forms i.e., creating a fantasy world where the characters do/say things which people in real

life usually don't. Manga is based on this fantasy. The female figures in it are often forward and determined, therefore successful.

Also they represent innocence. They experience romance in a childish way, which is meant to show the notion "good girls

don't". The cartoon characters live in a different world and their experiences are extraordinary. That's why they are popular.

I don't think Manga or any other cartoon format aims to imprison women. They should be seen as fantasy not as a concept to blame.

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John,

It's the nature of all art forms i.e., creating a fantasy world where the characters do/say things which people in real

life usually don't. Manga is based on this fantasy. The female figures in it are often forward and determined, therefore successful.

Also they represent innocence. They experience romance in a childish way, which is meant to show the notion "good girls

don't". The cartoon characters live in a different world and their experiences are extraordinary. That's why they are popular.

I don't think Manga or any other cartoon format aims to imprison women. They should be seen as fantasy not as a concept to blame.

Cigdem, you could very well be right. Nevertheless I find the discourse interesting (see GO topic) the young Samurai was initiated while sitting on a traditional GO board).

ps in the context (host being my girlfriend, Japanese girl her friend and the guy I was driving home a nice guy, a few minute side trip to drop her at the train station is not a scenario to conjure up fear. At least not in my experience.

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