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Japanese Manga and Cultural Politics Lecture

Date: 2005 September 29 16:15

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Author and anime expert Jonathan Clements has sent us details of the SOAS Japanese Manga and Cultural Politics Lecture and Discussion in London. This is due to take place at 7pm Tuesday 11th October, with free admission at the The Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre, SOAS. Since it's hosted by The School of Oriental and African Studies, you know it should be good.

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Press release as follows:

Japanese Manga and Cultural Politics
Lecture & Discussion
The Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre, SOAS, Russell Square
7.00 p.m on Tuesday 11th October 2005
Admission Free

Two specialists in the field of comics, manga and contemporary Japanese art and culture, Roger Sabin and Sharon Kinsella, will give a joint lecture for The JapanSociety.

Barefoot Gen in the West:
Comic or Political Tool?
The classic manga Barefoot Gen, first serialised in Japan in the early 1970’s, tells the story of the 1945 Hiroshima atomic bombing through the eyesof a young boy, ‘Gen’. It is also the semi-autobiography of Keiji Nakazawa.

This paper concerns the successive efforts to translate and publish the story in the west, first as an underground comic (1980), then as a four-part graphic novel (1989) and finally in a new translation in ten volumes (2005). On eachoccasion, fresh political questions were raised. Was the book simply anti-nuclear propaganda? A symbol of new phase in comics publishing? A memorial publication?

Roger Sabin lectures in Cultural Studies at Central St. Martin’s College of Art and Design, London. Included among his books are two oncomics: ‘Adult Comics: An Introduction’(Routledge. 1992) and ‘Comics, commix and Graphic Novels’ (Phaidon, 1996). He writes fora variety of academic journal including ‘MangaStudies’, and has an occasional review column in ‘The Observer’.

Institutionalisation of Manga

During the 1960s, the Japanese manga medium grew rapidly and transformed from a radical youth culture into a new national medium.Manga provided a public space for the communication of taboo interests and desires and often dissident political attitudes, which could not be expressed elsewhere in Japanese society. From the mid 1980’s however, a newgenre of realist adult manga began to transmitpolitical and social ideals which supportedbusiness and national security goals. Selectedmanga stories acquired the status of ‘nationalculture’, and began to appear in art galleries,education syllabi and museums. This paper willpresent an overview the cultural process andpolitics of this institutionalisation.

Sharon Kinsella is a Research Associate based at Oxford University where she is writing abook – Girls as Energy: fantasises ofrejuvenation in contemporary culture. Previously she has taught history and JapaneseSociology at Cambridge University andSociology and Cultural Studies in YaleUniversity, USA. Sharon published AdultManga: Culture and power in contemporary Japanese society in 2000 (Curzon).

This event is supported by All Nippon Airlines, without which it would not be possible to have such a varied andfascinating series.

The event will take place at the Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre by kind permission of SOAS

Source: SOAS
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