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American Manga... does it exist??

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

Postby MMM » Tue 09.30.2008 3:16 am

Harisenbon wrote:
MMM wrote:It would even be hard (but not impossible) for me to say Usagi Yojimbo is not manga,


Wait, why is Usagi Yojimbo suddenly manga? It was written in English, in America, by a 3rd Generation Japanese-American (although he was born in Japan). Why is this manga, and other manga-esque comics written in america not manga?


If a Japanese born Japanese artist well educated in culture of Japan as Stan Sakai is, it would be hard but not impossible for me to call his works not manga, if he were to call his work that himself. As entrenched in authentic Japanese culture as Usagi Yojimbo is, it is still an American comic. Fortunately for my argument the author of the 32-page floppy monthy has called his own work "comics" and not "manga". He himself calls himself an "comics artist" and not a "manga-ka", so Usagi Yojimbo really can't be used as a good example as the artist himself considers it an American comic.

Usagi Yojimbo is not "suddenly manga".

I am realizing I need to choose my words incredibly delicately if I want anyone to talk about the real issue.
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Re: American Manga... does it exist??

Postby Sairana » Tue 09.30.2008 8:49 pm

Let's put it rather simply.... now that manga has spread throughout the general public, only the niche market of fanboys/purists care whether the latest greatest Manga was written in Japan.

To use your hypothetical-poll-as-fact tactic... take 100 average Americans, have them read some "authentic manga" and some "fake manga", and ask them to tell the difference. Then ask them if they care where it was written.

The word "manga" is not a possession. It belongs to society, like all words do, and society will shape the word as need arises. Like it or not, the word doesn't belong to the self-proclaimed otaku. It's not a secret insider term anymore. You just have to accept it.

Regarding "clunky" verbiage: It's no more clunky to say "Japanese comics" or "Japanese manga" than it is to say "German Industrial" or "Indian cuisine".

Re: French wine vs Napa Valley: I really wish we'd stop using the French as an example. As a nation, they're unusually possessive. To even consider doing something French-like without permission is a grave offense to the entire body of Frenchmen. To continue to compare this way is to say the Japanese are as equally offended when other cultures emulate their work, and see it as degrading the quality of their own. So far as I know, this is wholly untrue.
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Re: American Manga... does it exist??

Postby MMM » Tue 09.30.2008 10:20 pm

Sairana wrote: Let's put it rather simply.... now that manga has spread throughout the general public, only the niche market of fanboys/purists care whether the latest greatest Manga was written in Japan.


It isn't society that has appropriated the word, but some big publishers that have found that if you put the "manga" label onto something, it sells. I am saying this is false advertising.

I have no problem with artists that are inspired by manga, but to use a Japanese words to describe something that isn't Japanese is misleading.

OEL manga, International manga, manga-inspired comics, there are all kinds of more accurate descriptions.

The Manga Bible and Avril Lavigne's Cine-Manga are just bastardizations of the word. Is ANYTHING manga?

Sairana wrote:To use your hypothetical-poll-as-fact tactic... take 100 average Americans, have them read some "authentic manga" and some "fake manga", and ask them to tell the difference. Then ask them if they care where it was written.


Most Americans wouldn't care. That's because most Americans aren't manga fans. I don't care if my coffee comes from Guatemala, El Salvador or from Anaheim. Because I don't care about coffee. But I know a lot of people do, and I wouldn't tell them to stop being purists about where their coffee comes from.

Sairana wrote:The word "manga" is not a possession. It belongs to society, like all words do, and society will shape the word as need arises. Like it or not, the word doesn't belong to the self-proclaimed otaku. It's not a secret insider term anymore. You just have to accept it.

Regarding "clunky" verbiage: It's no more clunky to say "Japanese comics" or "Japanese manga" than it is to say "German Industrial" or "Indian cuisine".


It's seems as silly to say "Japanese manga" as it does to say "Korean manhwa". And to give the term "manga" to non-Japanese and call actual manga "Japanese comics" feels a bit extreme. On the other hand, "OEL manga", or "International manga" seems to fit the bill. (I know some American artist feel those terms are "clunky" and would rather be able to call their comics "manga", but, like I said, I think that is misleading.)

Sairana wrote:Re: French wine vs Napa Valley: I really wish we'd stop using the French as an example. As a nation, they're unusually possessive. To even consider doing something French-like without permission is a grave offense to the entire body of Frenchmen. To continue to compare this way is to say the Japanese are as equally offended when other cultures emulate their work, and see it as degrading the quality of their own. So far as I know, this is wholly untrue.


The Japanese are not cultural purists? That is probably an argument for another thread.

But I am happy not using the French wine in comparison any more.
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Re: American Manga... does it exist??

Postby AJBryant » Tue 09.30.2008 11:33 pm

Sairana wrote:Re: French wine vs Napa Valley: I really wish we'd stop using the French as an example. As a nation, they're unusually possessive. To even consider doing something French-like without permission is a grave offense to the entire body of Frenchmen. To continue to compare this way is to say the Japanese are as equally offended when other cultures emulate their work, and see it as degrading the quality of their own. So far as I know, this is wholly untrue.


Oh, for the love of God.

I'm not talking about FRENCHMEN. I'm talking about AMERICANS who are wine snobs.

Just like Americans who are anime or manga snobs. Only the "real thing" will do.


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

Postby MMM » Wed 10.01.2008 12:06 am

AJBryant wrote:
Oh, for the love of God.

I'm not talking about FRENCHMEN. I'm talking about AMERICANS who are wine snobs.

Just like Americans who are anime or manga snobs. Only the "real thing" will do.


Tony


It seems funny to me that on a website that is about Japanese language and culture, as someone who is interested in Japanese language and culture, to want to read Japanese comics containing Japanese culture makes someone a "snob".
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Re: American Manga... does it exist??

Postby Harisenbon » Wed 10.01.2008 12:27 am

MMM wrote:If a Japanese born Japanese artist well educated in culture of Japan as Stan Sakai is, it would be hard but not impossible for me to call his works not manga,


Actually, Stan Sakai himself says that what he knows of Japanese culture he learned in Hawaii. And he's not Japanese, he's Japanese-American. At what point do you set the cut-off line for when someone drawing comics is drawing manga, or non-manga? This seems to be more of a race issue with you rather than a location, nationality or culture thing.

So, my friend is white as white can be. He was born in Japan, is a Japanese citizen, but left the country at the age of 12 and moved to Russia. If he makes a comic, do you call it manga?

Anyhow, I'm running out of steam for this conversation. [/Harisenbon Out]
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Re: American Manga... does it exist??

Postby MMM » Wed 10.01.2008 12:41 am

Harisenbon wrote:
MMM wrote:If a Japanese born Japanese artist well educated in culture of Japan as Stan Sakai is, it would be hard but not impossible for me to call his works not manga,


Actually, Stan Sakai himself says that what he knows of Japanese culture he learned in Hawaii. And he's not Japanese, he's Japanese-American. At what point do you set the cut-off line for when someone drawing comics is drawing manga, or non-manga? This seems to be more of a race issue with you rather than a location, nationality or culture thing.

So, my friend is white as white can be. He was born in Japan, is a Japanese citizen, but left the country at the age of 12 and moved to Russia. If he makes a comic, do you call it manga?

Anyhow, I'm running out of steam for this conversation. [/Harisenbon Out]


I thought Stan Sakai was born in Japan. My mistake. Regardless, Stan Sakai doesn't call his work manga, and neither do I. There is no need to argue about Stan Sakai.

In general, the simple definition for manga would be comics published in Japan by Japanese authors written in Japanese for a Japanese audience. Again, this is the simple, basic, narrow definition I work off of. Most of what is labeled as "manga" in America today falls under this definition.

So in your friend's case, I don't know. Is your friend writing in Japanese for a Japanese audience? Is it being published in Japan? (I know you are out of steam, and this is sort of a side-argument anyway...)

And it's completely a culture thing for me.
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Re: American Manga... does it exist??

Postby AJBryant » Wed 10.01.2008 10:42 am

MMM wrote:It seems funny to me that on a website that is about Japanese language and culture, as someone who is interested in Japanese language and culture, to want to read Japanese comics containing Japanese culture makes someone a "snob".


If that's really your perception of the issue, then I have to withdraw, as I clearly am unable to explain things to you in ways that you can understand them.


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

Postby two_heads_talking » Wed 10.01.2008 11:47 am

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

Postby richvh » Wed 10.01.2008 11:59 am

MMM wrote:It seems funny to me that on a website that is about Japanese language and culture, as someone who is interested in Japanese language and culture, to want to read Japanese comics containing Japanese culture makes someone a "snob".


To want to read Japanese comics containing Japanese culture doesn't make you a snob; to insist that comics written in Japanese by Japanese people and published in Japanese magazines and books is The One True Definition of manga is being a snob.
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Re: American Manga... does it exist??

Postby MMM » Wed 10.01.2008 12:33 pm

So I am asked a question, give an answer and am insulted for it.

So far I have been referred to as a snob, a fan-boy, a self-described otaku, a poseur, and shallow.

I think I have explained pretty clearly why it is misleading to use a Japanese word do label something that isn't from Japan. I have explained why terms like "OEL manga" or "international manga" make more sense than just labeling all comics "manga".

I am still hoping someone who isn't too busy can explain why I am wrong. What is the counter-argument?
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Re: American Manga... does it exist??

Postby richvh » Wed 10.01.2008 1:10 pm

It's not your definition - it's your insistence on defending it so rigorously against all opposition and insisting that we adopt it as our own that's getting you those labels.

If a comic that is set in Japan, and is drawn and written by someone profoundly influenced by anime, manga and renai games and who seeks out advice from natives and has made research trips to Japan, is translated into Japanese and published in Japan, is it a manga or not? If not, why does Megatokyo not qualify as a manga, whether or not Fred Gallagher calls it such? I'm sure that his Japanese readers called it 漫画.
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Re: American Manga... does it exist??

Postby MMM » Wed 10.01.2008 4:21 pm

richvh wrote:It's not your definition - it's your insistence on defending it so rigorously against all opposition and insisting that we adopt it as our own that's getting you those labels.


Let's slow down a minute and take a breath.

Never did I insist that anyone do anything. My definition is "mine". I said that. I didn't call it the "The One True Definition of manga" as you seem to have read. I called it my own, and would like to hear a other opinions. I would never have the audacity insist my way should be adopted by all.

What is your definition of manga, rich?

richvh wrote:If a comic that is set in Japan, and is drawn and written by someone profoundly influenced by anime, manga and renai games and who seeks out advice from natives and has made research trips to Japan, is translated into Japanese and published in Japan, is it a manga or not? If not, why does Megatokyo not qualify as a manga, whether or not Fred Gallagher calls it such? I'm sure that his Japanese readers called it 漫画.
richvh wrote:


Fred Gallagher doesn't call Megatokyo manga (he doesn't call it anything).

By MY standards that I do not insist or even advise anyone else to usem, I would say Megatokyo has some of the features that would qualify it as a "manga", but not all. It is not written in Japanese for a Japanese audience. On the other hand, it is based on Gallhager's life in Japan, so there is a cultural accuracy there with a first-person authenticity. I am sure his Japanese readers call it 漫画. They call Snoopy comics 漫画 there. I would call call Megatokyo "OEL manga* for accuracy, but you choose probably the best example of a title worthy of debate. Gallagher doesn't like the "OEL manga" label, either, so maybe "comic" is the best thing to call it.

What would you call it?
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Re: American Manga... does it exist??

Postby richvh » Wed 10.01.2008 4:34 pm

MMM wrote:
richvh wrote:It's not your definition - it's your insistence on defending it so rigorously against all opposition and insisting that we adopt it as our own that's getting you those labels.


Let's slow down a minute and take a breath.

Never did I insist that anyone do anything. My definition is "mine". I said that. I didn't call it the "The One True Definition of manga" as you seem to have read. I called it my own, and would like to hear a other opinions. I would never have the audacity insist my way should be adopted by all.


Then why are you arguing so hard? (And complaining about the labeling of manga-format comic books certainly sounds like you want the publishers, at least, to conform to your definition.)
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Re: American Manga... does it exist??

Postby two_heads_talking » Wed 10.01.2008 5:01 pm

MMM wrote:
richvh wrote:It's not your definition - it's your insistence on defending it so rigorously against all opposition and insisting that we adopt it as our own that's getting you those labels.


Let's slow down a minute and take a breath.

Never did I insist that anyone do anything. My definition is "mine". I said that. I didn't call it the "The One True Definition of manga" as you seem to have read. I called it my own, and would like to hear a other opinions. I would never have the audacity insist my way should be adopted by all.


Methinks thou dost protest too much.. And in the protestation, you have painted yourself into a very unfriendly corner. Perhaps, had you not come off with so much gusto and steam, no one would have perceived you to be so defensive in your opposition. Perhaps, by allowing us to not have the same opinion and not be so fired up about us not agreeing with you, then perhaps it would be a discussion. A discussion must have two sides willing to talk about things, not one side on a soap box and the other side in stockades with a mouth spike so we can't speak or disagree. Currently, it's a one sided rant with the soapboxer getting more an more spun up as his point is not being heard.

Look we aren't here to put you to the fire, but you can't have it both ways. You will find us alot more friendly if you don't come stamping in the house and tracking in mud. :mrgreen:
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