SGRA Kawaraban (Essay) in English
Chang Kuei-E “Global Dynamism of Manga & Animation Research and Its New Possibility”
Tezuka Osamu, famous cartoonist every Japanese knows, said “Novel is made by letters from pictures. Illustration is made by pictures. Manga is made by pictures from letters. Comment is made by letters.” It is said that he regarded “Manga” as “the third culture” which exists just between pictorial culture and literal culture.
In France, on the other hand, where they have peculiar aesthetic sense and sharp discerning sense for originality of artworks, Manga is regarded as “The 9th Art”.
And, Manga became the subject of criticism or research recently. It is also brought to public attention that the Louvre Museum, the world greatest sanctuary of the art, has opened its door at last in the 21st century to Manga which has both pictorial beauty of visual arts and stylish beauty of linguistic expressions.
In the past, Manga has been denigrated as vulgar reading, uncultivated amusement or just sub-culture in“business-first culture”. However, by the effort of creative Manga writers who pursued originalities and innovativeness, Manga is now owned commonly by the people all over the world as a treasure house of art which represents deep culture or cultural products which depict world view or philosophical principles.
Due to this, a boom wherein Manga collections should be enhanced in libraries or museums has broken out in the world, especially in Japan and France.
Animation or cinematization of Manga has progressed dramatically by the remarkable evolution of digital image technology. And it became the latest culture which dominated the world immediately. Globalized Manga and animation culture have built a wonderland like fascinating cosmos which seems to have reached the summit of visual art. It captivated the young in the world. Readers or viewers of Manga are invited to the unusual daily-life and are enchanted. Manga and animation are now media to understand themselves or understand others and the world.
The Manga-animation culture, which has become a sub-culture of comic magazines or books through paper medium, or animations, goods relating to popular characters and cosplay (dressing up the costume of a character), has now made birth “content industries” of global scale. It caused changes to the main culture of a country, affecting their economic development. We can say that it is the source of our soft-power which changed our life-style dynamically affecting the behavior of people today.
In 2001, the “Japan Society for Studies in Cartoons and Comics” was established and it became possible to academically and internationally approach the profound world of Manga from an academic viewpoint. In 2006, a faculty of Manga was established for the first time in a university where they educate and study Manga there In the same year 2006, the Kyoto International Manga Museum was also established as the world-first “new style institution which has both the functions of a museum and a library. It attracts attention of the world as a sacred place of contents-tourism for enthusiastic Manga-fans who shall visit there once in their life time.
In Taiwan also, a lot of cultural courses in universities which are being opened one after another so that they can deepen their understanding of culture and society of foreign countries through Manga. Soochow University enhanced their collection of books on comics and set up the “Area for Reading Manga” in their library in 2014. They conducted academic symposia, also searching for possibilities of Manga-Animation culture; and cooperated with a faculty of Japanese language. Ahead of other universities, Soochow University is at the front of Manga-Animation culture which has already spread and has become established globally, and is trying to create its new possibilities looking steadily at the future of their academic researches.
In May, 2018, we will have “The 8th Japan-Taiwan Asia Future Forum” in Taipei to be co-sponsored by Atsumi International Foundation and Soochow University. We will discuss there about the “New Possibility of Global Dynamism of Manga-Animation Research” aiming at promoting academic “Media-Contents Studies”. We paid attention to an appeal of “Manga-Animation Culture” which has spread on a world-wide level, based on an essay on “screen image culture” which can be owned jointly or felt sympathy as communication tools.
In other words, we would like to set up a creative stage for considering processes of progress of “Contents Industry” which can be created together by global citizens of the next generation, as well as a stage for considering so-called “theory of emergence” of Manga-animation, which we can emotionally support and own jointly as our communication tool for disseminating our culture.
In our sessions, we would like to discuss on following themes: collection, preservation and utilization of Manga; translation of Manga-Animation and its communication among different cultures; theory and practice of formation of Manga literacy; Manga-animation and a theory of tales; visual arts theory; theory of pictures; mixing of Manga-animation and media and their multi-use; cultural economy of Manga-animation, Manga-animation culture and sociology etc.
In this forum, we aim at finding new possibilities by researchers and participants who decipher “Dynamism of Manga-Animation Research”, which has become global now, from their own standpoints and academic approach. We hope we can contribute to promoting our mutual understanding and exchange of ideas between Japan-Taiwan and among the East Asian countries.
＊”Japan-Taiwan Asia Future Forum” is an international conference sponsored by Atsumi International Foundation Sekiguchi Global Research Association (SGRA), Japanese Interest Incorporated Foundation, and operated by an executive committee run by ex-scholarship students, living in Taiwan (members of Taiwan Raccoon-kai).
This Forum is in line with the objective of SGRA of promoting academic exchange between Japan and Taiwan, deepening of Japan study and studying a future of Asia. At the Forum, we take up many subjects like language, culture, literature, education, law, history, society and regional exchange, etc. as Taiwan is very liberal and respects freedom of speech, thought and creed. At the 8th Forum in 2018, we will have an international symposium on Manga-Animation culture co-sponsored by Japanese language faculty and Library of Soochow University.
(Associate Professor, Soochow University)
Translated by Kazuo Kawamura
English checked by MacMaquito