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American Manga... does it exist??

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RE: American Manga... does it exist??

Postby Pianogirl123 » Wed 01.30.2008 7:43 pm

wow, its so confusing... but i guess i can relax a little : ) ... it doesn't really matter what you call it i guess. but what do you guys think of the second part of my post?
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RE: American Manga... does it exist??

Postby burstandbloom » Thu 01.31.2008 2:28 am

A friend in my Japanese class works for Tokyopop. (I don't know if 'works' is really the best word for that)
I'm not sure what exactly she does, but she is an incredible drawer (drawler), so I'm guessing it has something to do with that.
Last edited by burstandbloom on Thu 01.31.2008 2:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: American Manga... does it exist??

Postby MMM » Sat 09.27.2008 5:13 am

MANGA is the Japanese word for comics.

Manga is not a style or a fad, but a medium. Manga is comics from Japan.

Just because you are influenced by manga artists, does not make you a manga artist. I can be influenced by French Cinema, but that doesn't mean my movie is French Cinema.
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Re: American Manga... does it exist??

Postby AJBryant » Sat 09.27.2008 8:35 am

Was that worth an eight month necropost?


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Re: American Manga... does it exist??

Postby Sairana » Sat 09.27.2008 10:29 am

MMM wrote:I can be influenced by French Cinema, but that doesn't mean my movie is French Cinema.


I notice you said "French Cinema" and not "Cinéma français". Why use the English translation for this, but not for Manga? Think about that for a while. In the meantime, I'll point out that French Cinema specifically makes the distinction, in both French and English, that it applies only to movies made by FRENCH PEOPLE.

Manga in Japanese, and Manga in English are not the same word. The Japanese word makes no special distinction for where the comics come from. The English word DOES. Similarly, imported words from English into Japanese are not as transparent as they may seem, such as 神風(jp) and kamikaze(english), or arbeit(german) and アルバイト(jp).

On the Japanese wikipedia page for American Comic books, titled アメリカン・コミックス, the first line reads:
アメリカン・コミックは、アメリカの漫画

The word コミックス appears 7 times on the page, always paired with another katakanized English word as part of a set phrase (like "Underground Comics"), where 漫画 is used to refer to the comic books themselves more than 50 times in 2 pages or so of material.

Therefore, if you are a comic book artist and you wish to state it in Japanese, you can most assuredly say, 僕は漫画家です。 But you wouldn't be able to say, 僕は日本の漫画家。 Ne?
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Re: American Manga... does it exist??

Postby MMM » Sat 09.27.2008 12:54 pm

AJBryant wrote:Was that worth an eight month necropost?


Tony


Sorry, I am new. It was on the front page in the anime and manga discussion board, and I didn't look at the date of the last post. If I am stepping on the rules, please let me know.

Sairana wrote:
MMM wrote:I can be influenced by French Cinema, but that doesn't mean my movie is French Cinema.


I notice you said "French Cinema" and not "Cinéma français". Why use the English translation for this, but not for Manga? Think about that for a while. In the meantime, I'll point out that French Cinema specifically makes the distinction, in both French and English, that it applies only to movies made by FRENCH PEOPLE.

Manga in Japanese, and Manga in English are not the same word. The Japanese word makes no special distinction for where the comics come from. The English word DOES. Similarly, imported words from English into Japanese are not as transparent as they may seem, such as 神風(jp) and kamikaze(english), or arbeit(german) and アルバイト(jp).



Sairana, I feel like we are making the same points and I am not sure where you are disagreeing with me. I agree that 漫画 and "manga" mean two different things. 漫画 is "comics" in Japanese and "manga" is "comics from Japan". Indeed the English word does distinguish where the comics come from, like you said.

(I don't understand your next point because "kamikaze" and "arbeit" are not imported words from English into Japanese.)

Sairana wrote:On the Japanese wikipedia page for American Comic books, titled アメリカン・コミックス, the first line reads:
アメリカン・コミックは、アメリカの漫画

The word コミックス appears 7 times on the page, always paired with another katakanized English word as part of a set phrase (like "Underground Comics"), where 漫画 is used to refer to the comic books themselves more than 50 times in 2 pages or so of material.


Yes, this makes perfect sense, as 漫画 is a term that includes all comics, (though rarely does a original English comic make it into publication in Japan).

Sairana wrote:
Therefore, if you are a comic book artist and you wish to state it in Japanese, you can most assuredly say, 僕は漫画家です。 But you wouldn't be able to say, 僕は日本の漫画家。 Ne?


Absolutely. I agree with this as well. If you are a comic book artist, and are in Japan or are speaking to a Japanese person, you certainly can say 僕は漫画家です, but it would sound strange to say, 僕は日本の漫画家.

So if 漫画 is the Japanese term for "comics" and "comics" is the English term for "comics", why would any non-Japanese person take on the moniker of a "manga artist". We both agree that "manga" in English means "comics from Japan". To continue from your above example, if you were to speak to a Japanese person IN ENGLISH and they said "What do you do for a living?" and you said "I am a manga-ka," they would look at you sideways. "You mean comics artist, right?" would be the likely response.

I can be influenced by French cinema, or "Cinéma français" as you pointed out, but unless I am French or at least living in France, it is going to be hard to sell as "Cinéma français".

Part of the reason is that I can sit in my American apartment and watch hundreds, even thousands of hours of French movies, but that doesn't mean I will understand what it is to be French and what is behind the message behind what Truffaut, or Renoir or Malle are trying to say with a first person understanding. I can not repeat that experience with first-hand knowledge. To call a film I made, influenced by Cinéma français, "French cinema" would be a sham.

So why would we allow aspiring artists who are influenced by Japanese manga wo call their comics "manga"? They may have been able imitate some of the styles of Japanese manga-ka they like, but that doesn't mean they know what it is like to live in Japan, go to a Japanese high school (for example) or be Japanese.

I think people forget that manga is not a more that speed-lines and sweat drops. There is a cultural exchange going on that cannot be imitated. That's why American Manga does not exist.
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Re: American Manga... does it exist??

Postby Sairana » Sun 09.28.2008 2:57 pm

MMM wrote:(I don't understand your next point because "kamikaze" and "arbeit" are not imported words from English into Japanese.)

Because I was on 2 days of no sleep, and while I had originally had things like ドア as my examples, I edited them for more dramatic changes across the language gap, and forgot to edit the line ahead of them.

...

We aren't arguing the same point, I just suck at explaining myself well....

You started with this:
MANGA is the Japanese word for comics.

Which is to say, you are using the Japanese definition to make your point...

Manga is not a style or a fad, but a medium.

based on the Japanese definition.....

Manga is comics from Japan.

Boom... you've changed languages here.

The English definition encompasses also the style of the artwork, the shape of the speech balloons, the black-and-white panels, the shape of the character's eyes and the way they draw the irises.... all the little details that make an English speaker glance at an image and say, "That's from a manga!"

There's a little bit of American culture at work here behind the drift in meaning of the word 'manga', too. We tend to de-emphasize nationality and homogenize things. We teach our children that at the core, all people are the same no matter their cultural background. We melt other cultural practices into our own and embrace them as a society. Somewhere along the way, the "national" requirement becomes lost.

Americans can hold a fiesta, and will have a pinata and flowery tissue paper decorations, and we celebrate oktoberfest with bratwursts and sauerkraut. These aren't shams, they're just pieces of other countries that have found their way into our society.

In much the same way, Manga is its own genre, its own identity. American Manga exists, whether the purists like it or not.
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Re: American Manga... does it exist??

Postby MMM » Sun 09.28.2008 7:30 pm

Sairana wrote:
MMM wrote:(I don't understand your next point because "kamikaze" and "arbeit" are not imported words from English into Japanese.)

Because I was on 2 days of no sleep, and while I had originally had things like ドア as my examples, I edited them for more dramatic changes across the language gap, and forgot to edit the line ahead of them.

...

We aren't arguing the same point, I just suck at explaining myself well....

You started with this:
MANGA is the Japanese word for comics.

Which is to say, you are using the Japanese definition to make your point...



Ask 10 Japanese people to name 10 manga, and I would bet 100 dollars all the titles they name are from Japan.
Sairana wrote:
Manga is not a style or a fad, but a medium.

based on the Japanese definition.....

Manga is comics from Japan.

Boom... you've changed languages here.


I am using your English definition. MANGA in English means comics from Japan.

Sairana wrote:
The English definition encompasses also the style of the artwork, the shape of the speech balloons, the black-and-white panels, the shape of the character's eyes and the way they draw the irises.... all the little details that make an English speaker glance at an image and say, "That's from a manga!"



"They" who? You are changing your definition here. People talk about "manga-style" but anyone who actually reads manga knows there is no "manga-style" Osamu Tezuka's cartoony characterizations are completely different from Yusaku Hanakuma's "heta-uma" style (all eyes are pretty much dots) which is completely different from Taiyo Matsumoto's eccentric sketchbook-style, which is completely different from Hiroki Endo's more realistic style. They way "they" draw the irises and the speech balloons is not universal across manga, just as it isn't universal across American comics.

Sairana wrote:

There's a little bit of American culture at work here behind the drift in meaning of the word 'manga', too. We tend to de-emphasize nationality and homogenize things. We teach our children that at the core, all people are the same no matter their cultural background. We melt other cultural practices into our own and embrace them as a society. Somewhere along the way, the "national" requirement becomes lost.



It's not a "drift" but a "push". "Comics" is an English word that is associated to no nationality or culture. "Manga" is a Japanese word. It has been adopted into English as the defining word for "comics from Japan", as "comics from Japan" is clunky. Just as "manhwa" has been adopted as the defining word for "comics from S.Korea". as saying "comics from S. Korea" is clunky. Easy, no problem.

But now there is a push from American artists influenced by Japanese comics to be able to call their own works "manga". You can make "manga-inspired comics" or "OEL manga, but unless it is from Japan or by a Japanese person, it isn't authentic manga. You are ignoring that cultural aspect I wrote about. Any talented artist can imitate the irises or speedlines. But it takes more than that to give a genuine cultural experience.
Sairana wrote:Americans can hold a fiesta, and will have a pinata and flowery tissue paper decorations, and we celebrate oktoberfest with bratwursts and sauerkraut. These aren't shams, they're just pieces of other countries that have found their way into our society.

In much the same way, Manga is its own genre, its own identity. American Manga exists, whether the purists like it or not.


American's can imitate "fiestas" and "octoberfests" but that doesn't make them genuine. Ask a Mexican person if Cinco de Mayo is the same in Mexico as it is in the US. Same with St. Patrick's day. Japanese Valentine's Day, adopted from the US, is very different than the American version. In all cases they have been adopted to fit the culture of the host country.

But we aren't talking about holidays. We are talking about the comic medium. I could call comic "manga-inspired" but where is the authenticity in calling it "manga" if I am not Japanese and not from Japan? I understand as an American the fact that my art "will never be seen as legitimate manga" is painful, but that doesn't mean you can change the definition of the word so your art fits in. In no other medium have I heard of such a situation. I knew a potter who made nothing but ancient Japanese-style style pottery. He became one of the premier western potters in that specific style of pottery, but never in his wildest dreams would he call his work "authentic Japanese pottery". It's as close as you are going to get outside Japan, but that doesn't make it Japanese.

Where does this need to be legitimized by the word "manga" come from?

If your work is inspired by manga, it is inspired by manga. That doesn't make it manga. To be fair to the consumer, call it what it is.
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Re: American Manga... does it exist??

Postby Sairana » Sun 09.28.2008 9:17 pm

MMM wrote:but where is the authenticity in calling it "manga" if I am not Japanese and not from Japan?
[..snip...]
To be fair to the consumer, call it what it is.


And there's the crux of the issue.

Only a purist feels the need for manga to be "authentic". If you pick up a comic book that calls itself manga, you read it, like it, and later find out it's by someone NOT Japanese, do you feel cheated? If you do, that's crazy.

Don't get me wrong, I like manga. I look to my left and see a stack of Japanese-language Clamp X right next to my desk.
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Re: American Manga... does it exist??

Postby Harisenbon » Sun 09.28.2008 11:27 pm

MMM wrote:Ask 10 Japanese people to name 10 manga, and I would bet 100 dollars all the titles they name are from Japan.


Well, seeing as there are very few non-Japanese comics for sale in Japan, that is a pretty good bet.
But that as less to do with "American Comics are not Manga" and more with "Most Japanese people don't know about any American comics."

The only reason most people know about superman, the x-men and spider-man is because of the movies.
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Re: American Manga... does it exist??

Postby MMM » Mon 09.29.2008 1:48 am

Sairana wrote:
MMM wrote:but where is the authenticity in calling it "manga" if I am not Japanese and not from Japan?
[..snip...]
To be fair to the consumer, call it what it is.


And there's the crux of the issue.

Only a purist feels the need for manga to be "authentic". If you pick up a comic book that calls itself manga, you read it, like it, and later find out it's by someone NOT Japanese, do you feel cheated? If you do, that's crazy.

Don't get me wrong, I like manga. I look to my left and see a stack of Japanese-language Clamp X right next to my desk.


You say "purist" like it is a bad word. I am one of those people that got into manga after getting into Japanese and Japan (nowadays it is often the opposite), so yes, I want my manga to be from Japan. It's more than the art, but the culture that authentic manga has that American-born manga doesn't.

I have picked up "manga" that turned out to be written, drawn and published in America, and I did feel cheated. I don't think that makes me crazy.

Harisenbon wrote:
MMM wrote:Ask 10 Japanese people to name 10 manga, and I would bet 100 dollars all the titles they name are from Japan.


Well, seeing as there are very few non-Japanese comics for sale in Japan, that is a pretty good bet.
But that as less to do with "American Comics are not Manga" and more with "Most Japanese people don't know about any American comics."

The only reason most people know about superman, the x-men and spider-man is because of the movies.


Like I said above, rarely are American comics translated and published in Japan. Her point was that in Japanese 漫画 includes not only comics from Japan, but all over the world, and my point was, even if that is true, if you as 10 Japanese people to name 10 manga, you are going to hear the names of 100 manga from Japan. When Japanese people think "漫画" they aren't thinking Superman and Wonder Woman.
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Re: American Manga... does it exist??

Postby chikara » Mon 09.29.2008 2:29 am

AJBryant wrote:Was that worth an eight month necropost?

IMHO, no, but this thread does appear to have gained a new lease of life.

MMM wrote:...... if you as 10 Japanese people to name 10 manga, you are going to hear the names of 100 manga from Japan. When Japanese people think "漫画" they aren't thinking Superman and Wonder Woman.

If you take that logic and apply it to the English word "movie" then you could argue that word only refers to cinema produced in the USA. ;)
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Re: American Manga... does it exist??

Postby Harisenbon » Mon 09.29.2008 3:05 am

chikara wrote:If you take that logic and apply it to the English word "movie" then you could argue that word only refers to cinema produced in the USA. ;)


I wouldn't call any movie produced in the USA "cinema" [/rimshot] :lol:

And there are good american manga-styled comics around.
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Re: American Manga... does it exist??

Postby chikara » Mon 09.29.2008 3:29 am

Harisenbon wrote:I wouldn't call any movie produced in the USA "cinema" [/rimshot] :lol: ......

Hollywood maybe but there is still the odd indie that comes out of the USA :)
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Re: American Manga... does it exist??

Postby AJBryant » Mon 09.29.2008 11:44 am

MMM wrote: I am one of those people that got into manga after getting into Japanese and Japan (nowadays it is often the opposite), so yes, I want my manga to be from Japan. It's more than the art, but the culture that authentic manga has that American-born manga doesn't.

I have picked up "manga" that turned out to be written, drawn and published in America, and I did feel cheated. I don't think that makes me crazy.


I don't think it makes you "crazy" but it definitely makes you weird.

Other than Japanese produced manga actually SET in Japan (e.g., Maison Ikkoku, etc.) what does it matter WHAT culture produced it? As long as you get your spikey-hair, big eyes, chibi cutey, and outlandish sound effects down, what does it matter? A space opera (e.g., Galaxy Express) is a space opera. A historical epic (e.g., Vinland Saga) is a historical epic.

The only reason the country of origin would matter is an irrational attachment of import to that aspect of the comic rather than whether the comic is good or bad.

It's shallow. Like people who only appreciate French wines, and will prefer a shitty French wine over a gold-medal winning wine from Napa Valley in California.

Personally, I don't like poseurs and snobs.


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