Kinsella, Sharon.  Adult Manga: Culture and Power in Contemporary Japanese Society. Richmond, Surrey: Curzon, 2000; ISBN  0700710043 (paper). Author's website

... ix
List of Figures ... xi
Introduction ... 1
  1. A Short History of Manga ... 19
  2. The Manga Production Cycle ... 50
  3. Adult Manga and the Renegeneration of Nation Culture ... 70
  4. Amateur Manga Subculture and the otaku panic [on-line version] ... 102
  5. The Movement Against Manga ... 139
  6. Creative Editors and Unusable Artists ... 162
  7. Conclusion: The Source of Intellectual Power in a Late Twentieth-Century Society ... 202
Notes ... 208
References ... 213
Index ... 224

Review by Pascal Lefèvre:
Yesterday I bought Sharon Kinsella's new and first book Adult Manga, Culture & Power in Contemporary Japanese Society (Richmond, Surrey: Curzon, 2000, ISBN (paperback) 0-7007-1004-3 ).  It's really a book I've been waiting for!  I'm not an expert in manga, so I can't judge all the statements but her approach is very interesting. It's an ethnographic study of cultural production by way of participant observation research and interviews with 65 editors, artists, critics and publishers.  She wanted to know which transformations took place in the nature of popular culture produced in Japan at the end of the Cold War.  She concludes: "Adult manga has become a more middle-class medium which expresses the consciousness of both editors and bureaucrats employed in government agencies.  From the mid-1980's adult manga has effectively changed from being an anti-establishment medium to being a pro-establishment medium."  At the same time editors are no longer sure what their high-circulation magazines should look like and who their readership is.  "Publishers noted the absence of large nation-wide manga hits and the increasing frequency of minor, less profitable hits, amongst small, fragmented readerships."  It strikes me that there are a lot of parrallels between the Japanese situation and our European (and maybe the American?).  Unfortunately, I don't know of any similar books on European or American comics.  The only thing I deplore is the fact that it took so long before this book was published, since her PhD was completed four years agoo.  Most of the statistics end in the middle of the 90's.  I got the impression that she's not very well aware of comics outside Japan.  When she speaks about the foreign artists who worked for the Japanese, I saw that the French artist Baru was spelled "Balu" (three times).  But, I'm very pleased with this book because it offered me some new and interesting insights in the world of manga. (Note: The review first appeared on the Comics Scholars' Discussion List on 1 August 2000.)

Copyright © Comics
This Page Last Updated 4 February 2006.