Japan Study Abroad: Post Twelve

I believe, in this way, we are in a new era of entertainment.

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Welcome back friends! In today’s class we engagingly discussed manga and anime. We discovered the origins, all the subcategories of each, popular figures in the realm, publishing aspects, etc. Let’s dive right in!

Manga has its roots in ukiyo-e from the Edo period, when the famous artist Hokusai had created a book of sketches in 1814. He came up with the term manga by combining what he imagined himself to be doing essentially – “whimsical sketches.” When printing evolved, manga began to be found in the comic section of newspapers. It was not taken as seriously as a part of pop culture, however, until Osamu Tezuka came along.

Osamu Tezuka was studying medicine before he was inspired to draw manga. He was most famous for producing Astro BoyBuddhaThe Phoenix, and Metropolis. His works cover subject matter from philosophy, religion, mythology, and more. He is known for changing the way people read manga and watched anime because of his ability to design deeper expression within the characters, allowing for the audience to connect on a different level with the characters. On average he would write about ten pages per day. He wrote over 150,000 pages of work and animated 60 movies before he passed away at the age of 60.

Nowadays, manga is a very pertinent part of Japanese society. Manga is read on trains and places called manga kissas, or cafe-like places where you can pay to read manga of your choice by the hour. Moreover, convenience stores and libraries alike sell manga. It’s no wonder then, why anime is also so popular, considering the content and art of both.

And of course, it would be highly inappropriate to write a blog about anime and manga without discussing Hayao Miyazaki. His most popular movie, Spirited Away, has won Oscars and Berlinale awards. He has a way of creating an on-screen magic that adults can make sense of. The dreaminess balanced with the strong plotlines allow the audience to engage in a way that was never possible before. Children and adults can obtain the same level of enjoyment from his films and watch them time and time again without getting bored. He makes movies that revitalizes the creative spark and inspires us to seek adventure at any age. I believe, in this way, we are in a new era of entertainment.

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