Thursday, April 30

Manga as tool of political propoganda

The rise of Japanese manga as political commentary medium advancing sets of political beliefs that bears some reminiscent to Yukio Mishima's attempt to indoctrinate post war Japan into old Imperial mold of rightist thinking again using his literature power (which he failed and commits a very public suicide in Japanese Self Defense Force HQ). This time though, mangas like Spirit of the Sun (the author here appealing to Japanese youth to have pride to be Japanese again in national crisis), Rideback (this manga talks about fears of globalization destroying local political culture specifically Japan) and even seemingly every seinen manga published by Kodansha which I can recall, don't have much socialist or left wing slanted titles.

Most famous political manga in Japan is Silent Service which even got debated in Japanese Diet (parliament). This remarkable manga which still in top 10 of best seinen manga in Japan readership (2006) talks about a rogue Japanese submarine XO who hijack the submarine and declared his ship as independent neutral entity "Yamato" despite it is built as joint US-Japanese SSBN (nuclear submarine). 2.2 million copies were sold by 1992 and still enjoys massive popularity even today in Japan. In the end, he sailed to UN HQ in New York to appeal to the world that everyone should dismantle their nuclear arsenal or to be destroyed. Predictably, the US Navy is the baddies here, they tried to stop the Yamato from accomplishing the objective. To many readers it seems very naive politically but as ideologue on pacifism, it is remarkable poster boy in backhand manner.

However a discussion of politcal manga cannot be complete without talking about controversial Yoshinori Kobayashi. Famous for his Gomanism Shingen / ゴーマニズム宣言 and his more infamous statements were like for example, total veneration of Kamikaze Corps, denial of Nanking Massacre and comfort women issue is a fabrication of anti Japanese propaganda. He is the darling of Japanese media and often appear in morning shows to give opinions on current events. His rise to international fame is when 2 major liberal newspapers known in Western world; NY Times and Le Monde wrote a scathing article on him for his neo fascist stand. To the end, he still defiant and his latest manga "On Taiwan" is published outside of Japan despite angry retorts from Chinese.

Stay tuned for more later, as I will discuss what I think of Eagle, a manga of Japanese-American become US President advocating pacifism.

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T3H_Kanasai said...

This is definitely an interesting article, the author has his views. However there are so many twisted views that he talks about which I wonder how much facts does he base his comments on. It seems like he is just making it out of his own imagination or is he still living in japanese waring days?

Stormy001 said...

Manga advantage is it can be molded into anything by mangaka, so even unfortunate extremist views can be artfully represented.

The author is crazy, egoistic SOB to me but the support of his stance reflects Japanese growing resentment of emasculation of Japan as proper nation instead of subservient ally of USA.

Even Silent Service which is basically a very naive but strong anti nuclear message, advocating world government to reduce role of superpowers like USA (did u see a pattern here?)

I can go on, but that's for another day.