Manga in the United States

Report
Tracing factors leading to the rise of manga in the US.
MANGA IN THE UNITED STATES
OVERVIEW

Anime/manga in the U.S.
 The

popularity of anime/manga in the U.S. today.
Unpromising beginnings.
 WWII,
negative preconceptions, and the difficulty of
marketing manga in the West.

The rise of manga.
 Factors

contributing to the rise of manga in the U.S.
A mutual relationship.
 How
the popularity of manga in the U.S. has affected the
literature produced.
ANIME/MANGA IN THE U.S.
QUESTION!
In what state is the largest anime
convention in the United States
held?
ANIME CONVENTIONS

1990: Project A-Kon (Dallas, TX)


1992: Anime Expo (Los Angeles, CA)


2011 Attendance: 47,000
1994: Otakon (Baltimore, MD)


2011 Attendance: 18,447
2011 Attendance: 31,348
1998: Sakura-Con (Seattle, WA)

2011 Attendance: 19,040
Comparative Number: UW has around 42,000 students (graduate and undergraduate).
COMIC-BOOK CONVENTION


1970: San Diego Comic-Con International (San Diego, CA)
 2010 Attendance: 130,000
2006: New York Comic Con
 2010 attendance: 96,000
Compare to 47,000 for Anime Expo.
MANGA SALES

In the “…Diamond Comic
Distributors back list,
about 43% are manga.”


"ICv2 Graphic Novel White Paper" by Mikhail
Koulikov (2-5-2009)
http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/convention
/2009/new-york-comic-con/icv2
"Overall, manga still makes
up the majority of the
North American graphic
novel releases“

"ICv2 Estimates U.S. Manga Sales Were Down
17% in 2008" (2-5-2009)
http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2009
-02-05/icv2-estimates-u.s-manga-sales-weredown-17-percent-in-2008
QUESTION!
In 2011, what was the top selling
manga in Japan? In the US?
2011 TOP SELLING MANGAS
Japan
United States
UNPROMISING BEGINNINGS
WORLD WAR II: ANTI-JAPANESE SENTIMENTS
(BUT TO BE FAIR…)

To compete with the “gung-ho
patriotism” in American comics…

“Perhaps the earliest manga to
appear in English were the bilingual
colour comic-strip leaflets issued
during World War II by the Japanese
military to undermine enemy morale.
One example showed a Western
soldier’s wife back home enjoying the
advances of a leering stranger after
being informed that her husband
would never return…”

Manga: Sixty Years of Japanese Comics
by Paul Gravett
NEGATIVE PRECONCEPTIONS

“Westerners often have …
preconceptions about
[manga]: ‘All the characters
have big, Bambi-like eyes’;
‘The magazines are as thick
as phone directories’;
‘Businessmen devour them
in public on trans’; ‘They are
full of sex and violence’…’tits
and tentacles’…”

Manga: Sixty Years of
Japanese Comics by Paul
Gravett
NEGATIVE PRECONCEPTIONS

“Otaku is extremely negative in
meaning as it is used to refer to
someone who stays at home all
the time and doesn't have a
life…they pass the time by
watching anime, playing
videogames, surfing the internet.”


Urbandictionary.com
1989: Tsutomu Miyazaki “The
Otaku Murderer”
NEGATIVE PRECONCEPTIONS

“weebo: Someone not of the oriental race that tries impersonate or
emulate the japanese or japanime culture.”


Urbandictionary.com
Saturday Night Live skit: “J-Pop America Fun Time Now”


http://www.aoltv.com/2011/10/17/j-pop-america-fun-time-now-funny-orracist-snl-video/
http://www.crunchyroll.com/anime-news/2011/12/11-1/video-j-pop-americafun-time-now-episode-2
DIFFICULTY OF MARKETING



Xenophobia
Trade protectionism
Difficulty of page layout (flipping) and translation.
THE RISE OF MANGA
TV & ECONOMIC CONSIDERATIONS



Rise of television.
Considerably less costly and
uncomplicated to import
Japanese animated cartoons.
“…anime broadcasts…primed
viewers for eventual manga
consumption…”


Manga: Sixty Years of Japanese
Comics by Paul Gravett
"Manga made their way only
gradually into U.S. markets, first
in association with anime and
then independently“

Wikipedia.com
DECLINE OF THE AMERICAN COMIC




Slim profit margins on comic books.
Censorship.
Subject considered juvenile.
Disconnect with youth culture.

“The early 1960s saw a major reevaluation of youth culture…[that]
most comic books…had not kept up with…[they] failed to speak to the
social and emotional disorientation of young people.”
THE FEMALE AUDIENCE


Shojo, Josei, Shojo-Ai, ShonenAi, Yuri, Yaoi.
“Teen anguish was once a
staple of many 1970s British
girls’ weeklies that have now
completely vanished. In
contrast, girls’ manga thrive
because authors are not
prevented from confronting
difficult issues…”

Manga: Sixty Years of Japanese
Comics by Paul Gravett
IDEOLOGICAL THEORIES: THE COLD WAR

Re-imagination of Asian figures
driven by economic
considerations…


The rehabilitation of Japan in the US
helped paved the way for economic
exchange.
…and Cold War politics.


“During the…Cold War, the United
States distinguished itself from
Communist nations…by emphasizing
its democratic impulse towards”
cultural difference.
“…interest in Japanese style became
an expression of the principle of
freedom of choice, helping to
distinguish American democracy from
its Soviet counterpart.”

Virtual Orientialism: Asia Religions
and American Popular Culture by Jane
Naomi Iwamura
A MUTUAL RELATIONSHIP
AVATAR (2005-2008) & HEROMAN (2010)
TIGER & BUNNY (2011)
QUESTION!
What do you notice about the main
characters of Japanese
manga/anime over time?
PRE-1990
EARLY 1990S
LATE 1990S
2000S
2005 AND ON

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