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Manga Studies #2: Manga history: Shimizu Isao and Miyamoto Hirohito on Japan’s first modern ‘manga’ artist Kitazawa Rakuten by Ronald Stewart

14 Jun

Kitazawa Rakuten’s (1876~1955) place in manga history is secure. Yet the two important manga historians of today, Shimizu Isao and Miyamoto Hirohito, diverge considerably in their understandings of what Kitazawa represents in this history. Shimizu sees him in terms of continuity, while Miyamoto sees him in terms of discontinuity. Both of these scholars are in agreement that Kitazawa was Japan’s first modern manga artist and that he was an important figure in early-twentieth century manga development. However, Shimizu considers Kitazawa as an important link in a manga history that connects manga’s present to ancient Japanese past, whereas Miyamoto views him as part of a radical separation from the past that established and popularized a new genre recognizable as manga today.

Here I want to explore these two scholars’ contrasting perspectives on manga history with a focus on Kitazawa whose own thoughts on manga I will take up at the end. As many readers are probably not familiar with this artist, I will firstly sketch out his life and career.

Kitazawa Rakuten

Kitazawa Rakuten was born Kitazawa Yasuji in 1876 [1], and began the study of art from the age of twelve, initially Western art but later Japanese art. He received some instruction in Western cartooning in the foreign treaty port of Yokohama from Australian cartoonist Frank A. Nankivell who worked at a newspaper there called the Box of Curios between 1892 and 1894. In 1899 Kitazawa was invited to join the major Japanese newspaper Jiji Shinpō when their cartoonist Imaizumi Ippyō (1865-1904) fell ill. Imaizumi had begun to use the word “manga” to label cartoons and comic strips. This term would later be adopted by Kitazawa.

At this newspaper Kitazawa initially drew political cartoons, illustrations and portraits. But he was asked to create American “narrative-style comic strips”, in four to eight panels for the paper’s Sunday edition.[2] As a result, in 1902 he created a black and white comics page called Jiji Manga which would continue until mid-1905. On this page he introduced Japan’s first recurring comics characters, among them: the country bumpkins who have difficulty adjusting to city life Mokubei and Tagosaku; the would-be fashionable man-about-town High-collar Kidorō; and the mischief loving children Dekobō and Chame.

In 1905 Kitazawa Rakuten jumped at the opportunity to create and edit a manga magazine for the publisher Yurakusha. The resultant polychrome Tokyo Puck was loosely modeled after the US magazine Puck but with cartoons and comics on every page. Its popularity made Kitazawa, whose wage was linked to circulation, wealthy and it triggered a number of imitators. It also led to the word “puck” (pakku) becoming for a time a common generic term for comics, cartoons and manga magazines in Japanese.

Kitazawa left Tokyo Puck in 1912 and published two short-lived magazines Katei Puck [Household Puck] and Rakuten Puck, before returning to Jiji Shinpō in 1914. From 1921, his Jiji Manga became a permanent feature again, but this time as a four-page color insert, and over time increasing the participation of other manga artists. In 1932 he retired from Jiji Shinpō, but remained involved in the growing manga industry, training artists at his studios and serving in manga associations.

Kitazawa’s use of the term manga in particular with Jiji Manga, but also at Tokyo Puck, which advertised itself as a “manga” magazine, helped to popularize this word and its contemporary meaning which would enter vernacular Japanese from around 1914 when adopted by the manga artist Okamoto Ippei (1886-1948).

A Word about the Word

Kitazawa’s influence on the spread of the word manga is another point on which historians Shimizu and Miyamoto agree. As can be surmised from the above overview of Kitazawa’s career, he applied the term to both cartoons and multi-panel comic strips. Though as we shall see below Shimizu and Miyamoto perceive its meaning differently. But first, a word here on the slippery nature of this word is in order. How something is defined, as we all know, affects what is included in its history.

Often the two ideographic characters that form the word are, particularly in popular writing on manga, read essentially as meaning whimsical drawings or impromptu sketches, definitions that allow the casting of a very wide historical net indeed. However, the meaning of the word manga is actually arbitrary, and shifts over time and between users.[3]

Shimizu: Kitazawa and Continuity

Shimizu Isao’s overarching histories of manga extend back to premodern, even ancient, times. Within these histories Kitazawa is one of a number of important actors in a continuum of development. Shimizu forwards his own definition of manga as, “pictures drawn in a ‘spirit of humor’ or ‘spirit of satire’.”[4] While occasionally making use of other cartoonesque qualities (simplified line drawings, anthropomorphism, caricature, panels, etc.) and links in cultural practice (manga as commodity, popularity, artists’ contact with each other, etc.), it is mostly this rather broad humor/satire definition that allows him to reach back to a distant past and encompass a variety of forms. In doing this Shimizu builds upon the type of humor focused manga histories that first crystalized with cartoonist Hosokibara Seiki’s A History of Japanese Manga (1924). While more-or-less following the historical surveys by Suyama Keiichi, Miyao Shigeo, Ishiko Jun and others, Shimizu’s accounts vary in focus and form and sometimes shift a little to accommodate newly found material, changing trends in manga culture, or the research of others.[5]

Shimizu’s manga histories indicate multiple start points.[6] In many cases continuity between them is suggested more by their chronological order and the underlying broad definition rather than any detailed account of developmental changes. Shimizu’s histories begin with manga as a hand drawn form dating from eighth-century graffiti and the famous twelfth-century Frolicking Birds and Animals (Chojūgiga) picture scroll. The next start point is the beginning of manga as commodity from early in the eighteenth-century when they were produced for larger audiences using woodblock print technology. This is followed by the beginning of modern manga from the mid-nineteenth century until around 1910. Shimizu sees manga in this period flowering, particularly as satire, and becoming a true mass media form within journalism as state control of media relaxed and new foreign models were introduced. This is the period which appeals most to Shimizu, it is where his histories linger the longest, and where he places Kitazawa.

During this time a new style of manga was introduced labeled ponchi (named after the English humor magazine Punch). While approximating Western cartoons these, according to Shimizu, consisted of Japanese-Western hybrids, initially produced as woodblock prints. Shimizu says these ponchi had lost their vigor and deteriorated in quality by the 1890s, so Imaizumi Ippyō and then Kitazawa Rakuten applied the word manga to differentiate their work.[7] For Shimizu this modern period comes to an end with a 1910 treason incident that led to media self-censorship and decline in satire.[8]

Up to this point, the humor/satire definition is the main source of historical continuity, but moving towards the present this definition becomes less tenable. Here Kitazawa becomes one important link. With his Jiji Manga page and later color supplement as well as Tokyo Puck magazine he is regarded as the start point for newspaper manga inserts, for comics character creation, for children’s comics, for creative editing of comics, and for systemizing the production of manga with studio assistants. His long career, his influence on others like Okamoto Ippei and his fostering of young artists also provide continuity for Shimizu’s narrative well into the middle of the twentieth century.[9]

Miyamoto: Kitazawa and Discontinuity

Miyamoto Hirohito is one of a handful of scholars who have in recent years questioned histories like Shimizu’s.[10] For Miyamoto, Shimizu’s definition of manga as pictures drawn with a humorous or satirical spirit is inadequate. While Miyamoto does not attempt a definition for manga, he detects clear division within the alleged continuity of Shimizu’s modern period. As he has demonstrated, the satirical pictures of the last half of the nineteenth century, which had come to be known as ponchi, and the type of cartoons and multi-panel comic strips which slowly began to appear in newspapers from the 1890s, which Kitazawa helped popularize as manga, were radically different.[11]

For Miyamoto ponchi had changed little in form from the 1870s through into the 1890s, even though many had been given a facelift with newer printing techniques (etching and lithography) and some with the addition of caricature. Produced mainly by the same print houses, writers and artists as earlier woodblock prints, ponchi were text-centric: all spaces around their pictures were filled with script, and this script overflowed with allusions to popular literature, puns, puzzles, and wordplay. Their text was mostly written with a poetic style and meant to be read aloud in groups. In contrast, manga were much more visually orientated; they depicted things more directly, representing moments in time. Unlike ponchi, they were designed to be silently and quickly grasped. Miyamoto has forwarded three main reasons for this change: 1) the new modern education system and new public reading spaces (trains, libraries, etc.); 2) the huge growth in daily newspapers which required information that could be digested quickly by a broader audience; and 3) the growing division of text and image into specialist areas. According to Miyamoto, along with this change, there arose a consciousness that a new genre had developed, leading to the need for a new label. The label adopted was “manga” a then little used word open to fill with new meaning.

Miyamoto’s theory of the change in phenomenon from ponchi to manga which took place roughly between 1890 and 1910, places Kitazawa within this transition period, making him a marker of discontinuity from longer traditions. Miyamoto’s historical perspective is also a point in discontinuity with established manga histories from Hosokibara to Shimizu. As distinct from these, Miyamoto’s theory applies to all manga, regardless of whether humorous, single panel or multi-panel narratives. Unfortunately, however, complex historical research either by Miyamoto or others building on this theory to connect it to the following periods has yet to be done.

The most important public demonstration of the change described in Miyamoto’s theory, was in the 2003 Newspark exhibition curated by him and Tokunaga Yasuhiko, bringing together ample historical materials displayed specifically to highlight the ponchi to manga shift.[12] However the historical view of manga developing out of a premodern tradition holds popular appeal and persists in many forms in and outside of Japan. One recent example is the Manga Chronicle exhibit (curated by Shimizu) at the 2013 Milano Manga Festival which presented a two hundred year history of manga highlighting the “DNA” it inherited from traditional woodblock prints particularly Hokusai’s.[13]

Kitazawa Rakuten’s Final Word

The lack of historical research building on Shimizu’s material and Miyamoto’s critical arguments also means that there are very few studies of Kitazawa Rakuten.[14] Here I would like to touch on Kitazawa’s own writing briefly to consider the positions of the historians introduced above.

Between the 1920s and 1950s Kitazawa wrote a handful of essays looking back on his career occasionally elaborating on his conception of manga. In these he regularly stressed his efforts to “wipe out ponchi.”[15] As noted above Shimizu indicated that Kitazawa had wanted to separate himself from ponchi because he felt they had dropped in quality. But there was more to his disapproval. He considered them also old fashioned, overly wordy, and incapable of direct expression. Kitazawa indeed asserts that manga should ideally have a minimal amount of words, and cartoonists “should endeavor to make the pictures speak”. For him this applied equally to single-panel cartoons and multi-panel comic strips: he opined that comic strips that make the reader “perceive the story without explanation are best”.[16] Kitazawa also reasoned that unlike older times when political discourse was strictly controlled, press laws had become much more tolerant “so there was no need to say things in a roundabout manner”, and he was critical of artists continuing to use old-style methods of hiding satire “behind words, mostly in the form of wordplay”.[17] Kitazawa’s disapproval here of excessive words, indirect expression and wordplay supports Miyamoto’s theory.

Kitazawa also perceived manga as something not Japanese, but something universal, and considered the rapid rise of “manga” since the turn-of-the-century as the “natural consequence” of becoming a matured society.[18] His rejection of ponchi along with his implied feeling that “manga” was something not particularly traditional to Japan confirms Miyamoto’s theory and Kitazawa’s manga as part of a discontinuity.[19]

Feeling the way expressed above, if Rakuten today were alive to walk into an exhibition that featured his manga as part of a longer tradition including ponchi and woodblock prints he would probably be left somewhat angry and confused.

Bibliography

Berndt, Jaqueline.
——— 2008. “Considering Manga Discourse: Location, Ambiguity, Historicity,” in M. MacWilliams ed. Japanese Visual Culture: Explorations in the World of Manga and Anime, Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, pp.295-334
——— 2009. “Manga and ‘Manga’: Contemporary Japanese Comics and their Dis/similarities with Hokusai Manga,” in Jablonski, A. & S. Meyer, K. Morita, eds, Civilisation of Evolution, Civilisation of Revolution, Metamorphoses in Japan 1900-2000, Kraków: manggha/Museum of Japanese Art and Technology, pp. 210-222.

Duus, Peter. 1999. “The Marumaru Chinbun and the Origins of the Japanese Political Cartoon.” International Journal of Comic Art 1(1): 42-56

Hosokibara, Seiki. 1924. Nihon manga-shi [A history of Japanese manga]. Tokyo: Yūzankaku.

International and Cultural Section, Planning Departmant, City of Omiya ed. 1991. Kitazawa Rakuten “Founder of the Modern Japanese Cartoon.” (Japanese and English text) Planning Department, City of Omiya.

Ishiko, Jun. 1979. Nihon manga-shi [A history of Japanese Manga] (2 volumes), Tokyo: Tokuma Shoten.

Jo, En. (Xu Yuan)
——— 2008. “Meiji ni okeru Kitazawa Rakuten no ‘Dekobō’ manga no arikata / A Study of Dekobou Comic by Rakuten Kitazawa (sic) in Meiji Era.” Manga kenkyū [Manga Studies]. Vol.13: 76-86.
——— 2013. Nihon ni okeru shinbun rensai kodomo manga no senzen shi [The pre-war history of serialized children’s manga]. Tokyo: Nihonbashi-hōsha.

Kawasaki-shi Shimin Myūjiamu [Kawasaki City Museum] ed. 1996. Nihon no manga 300-nen [Japanese manga’s three-hundred years]. Kawasaki, Japan: Kawasaki-shi Shimin Myūjiamu

Kitazawa, Rakuten
——— 1902, January 12. Manga-shi [Manga-editor]. “Jiji manga nōkaki” [Jiji manga efficacy statement]. Jiji Shinpō, p. 10.
——— 1928. “Manga-kai mukashi-banashi” [Old tales from the world of manga]. Chūō Bijutsu [Central art] 14.2 (February): 130–136
——— 1934. “Manga o kokorozasu hito e” [To people who aspire to manga]. Gendai [Modern times] (July)
——— 1936. “Meiji-jidai no manga—Tōkyō Pakku o chūshin to seru” [Meiji period manga—focusing on Tokyo Puck]. Tōyō [Eastern sun] 1.7 (October).
——— 1952. “Manga Taiheiki” [Manga battle tales]. Warai no izumi [Wellspring of laughter] 53 (July): 90–99.

Miyamoto, Hirohito.
——— 1995. Manga izen kara: Bakumatsu, Meijiki no ‘mangateki’ shohyôgen no kôsei o megutte [From Pre-Manga: Regarding the structure of all Comic/Cartoon-like Expression of the Bakumatsu and Meiji Periods], Tsukuba University (unpublished Master’s dissertation)
——— 2002. “The Formation of an Impure Genre—On the Origins of Manga”. Trans. Jennifer Prough. Review of Japanese Culture and Society 14: 39–48.
——— 2003a. “Manga gainen no jūsōka katei: Kinsei kara kindai ni okeru” [The stratifying process of the notion of “manga”: from the Early Modern Age to the Modern Age in Japan]. Bijutsushi 52(2): 319–334.
——— 2003b. “‘Ponchi’ to ‘manga’, sono shinbun to no kakawari” [“Ponchi” and “manga” and their relationship to newspapers]. In Shinbun manga no me—hito seiji shakai [The gaze of newspaper manga – people politics society] (exh.cat.), edited by Newspark. 106–109. Yokohama, Japan: Newspark.
——— 2005. “‘Ponchi’ kara ‘manga’ e: jānarizumu to ‘bijutsu’ no aida de hyōgen o migaku [From “ponchi” to “manga”: The polishing of an expression between journalism and “art”],” in Miyachi, Masato ed. Meiji jidai-kan [Meiji period pavilion] Tokyo: Shōgakukan, pp.390–391.
——— 2009. “Rekishi Kenkyū” [Historical research]. in Natsume, Fusanosuke and Takeuchi, Osamu eds. Manga-gaku nyūmon [Introduction to manga studies], Kyoto: Mineruva Shobō, pp. 96–101.

Miyao, Shigeo. 1967. Nihon no giga: rekishi to fūzoku [Japan’s comic art: History and culture]. Tokyo: Daiichi Hōki Shuppan.

Newspark ed. 2003. Shinbun manga no me – hito seiji shakai [The gaze of newspaper manga – people politics society]. (exh.cat.), Yokohama: Nyūsupāku (Newspark – The Japan Newspaper Museum)

Ōtsuka, Eiji. 2013. Mikkii no shoshiki: Sengo manga no senjika kigen [Mickey’s Format: the wartime origins of postwar manga]. Tokyo: Kadogawa sensho.

Shimizu, Isao et.al. Kindai manga [Modern manga] (6 volumes), Tokyo: Chikuma Shobo, 1985

Shimizu, Isao
——— 1979. Meiji manga-kan [Meiji period (1868-1912) manga collection], Tokyo: Sanseidō.
——— 1985. ‘Nihon’ Manga no jiten [Encyclopedia of manga – Japan]. Tokyo: Sanseidō.
——— 1991. Manga no rekishi [A history of manga]. Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten.
——— 1993. “Japan’s Rich Tradition of Cartoons and Comics,” in Echoes of Peace. January, pp.13-15
——— 1999a. Zusetsu manga no rekishi [Illustrated manga history], Tokyo: Kawade Shobō.
——— 1999b. Manga tanjō: taishō demokurashii kara no shuppatsu [The birth of manga: from Taisho democracy] Tokyo: Yoshikawa Kobunkan
——— 2000, May 26. “Meiji kara yomigaetta manga no genten [The start point of manga brought back to life from Meiji period].” Shūkan dokushojin.
——— 2001. Nihon kindai manga no tanjo [The birth of modern Japanese manga]. Tokyo: Kawade.
——— 2007a. “Culture: The Brotherhood of Manga,” in The Japan Journal. March. (http://www.japanjournal.jp/tjje/show_toc.php?INDyear=07&INDmon=03)
——— 2007b. Nenpyō Nihon manga-shi [A chronology of Japanese manga history], Kyoto: Rinsen Shoten.
——— 2009. Yon-koma manga – Hokusai kara ‘moe’ made [Four-panel Comic strips – from Hokusai to ‘moe’]. Tokyo: Iwanami, 2009.
——— 2013 “A brief history of early-modern and modern manga,” in Hamada Nobuyoshi ed. Nihon no zushō manga / Manga – The pre-history of Japanese Comics. Tokyo: Pie International. pp.16-19

Stewart, Ronald. “Manga as Schism: Kitazawa Rakuten’s Resistance to ‘Old-Fashioned’ Japan.” in Jaqueline Berndt and Bettina Kümmerling-Meibauer eds. Manga’s Cultural Crossroads. New York: Routledge, 2013. pp.27-49

Suyama, Keiichi. 1972. Manga hakubutsushi: Nippon-hen [Almanac of manga: Japan volume], Banchō Shobō.

Uryū, Yoshimitsu. 1998. “ ‘Manga ron’ no keifugaku [A Genealogy of ‘manga studies’]” Tōkyō Daigaku shakai jōhō kenkyūjo kiyō, 56:135-153

Ronald Stewart is an associate professor at the Prefectural University of Hiroshima. He completed his Ph.D cultural history at Nagoya University. His research focuses on manga history, cartoons and representation, and has published essays, reviews and academic papers in both Japanese and English on these and broader comics related subjects.

[1] – He gave himself the artist name Rakuten, the name he is commonly referred to in Japan, in 1903.

[2] – Kitazawa 1952, p.91

[3] – For research highlighting this see Uryū 1998 and Miyamoto 2003.

[4] – Shimizu 1985, 16

[5] – See Shimizu 2009, his history of four panel comic strips from Hokusai’s nineteenth century woodblock prints through to recent fan service and fan art (moe).

[6] – Representative are Shimizu 1985, 1991 and 2007b. For shorter overviews in English see Shimizu 2007a and 2013.

[7] – Shimizu 1985, 103; Shimizu 2001, 58-59.

[8] – Shimizu 2001, 60-68, Shimizu 1999b

[9] – Shimizu 1985, 103; Shimizu 1991, 110-117; Shimizu 1999a, 35-36, 52; Shimizu 1999b, 70-72, 100-101; Shimizu 2000

[10] – Others include Kure Tomofusa and Jaqueline Berndt.

[11] – The most concise summaries of Miyamoto’s argument can be found in Miyamoto 2003b and Miyamoto 2005. In English see Miyamoto 2002.

[12] – See catalogue Newspark ed. 2003

[13] – Milano Manga Festival Manga Chronicle exhibit: http://www.milanomangafestival.it/2013/e/exhibition.html

[14] – Recently Chinese scholar Xu Yuan (or Jo En in Japanese) has looked at Kitazawa’s Dekobō and Chame comic strips as part of her research on the development of children’s comics, and Ōtsuka Eiji has touched very briefly on the same comic strips in search of early character development. Fortunately a large body of Kitazawa’s work is still accessible in some larger Japanese libraries, Jiji Manga in the microfilm edition of Jiji Shinpō, facsimile editions of Tokyo Puck, and some collected in Shimizu’s books.

[15] – Kitazawa 1936. While in reality Kitazawa’s complete abandonment of the word ponchi was not immediate, the sentiments in his essays are reflective of his consistent rejection of the form ponchi from the beginning of his career.

[16] – Kitazawa 1934.

[17] – Kitazawa 1928, p.130

[18] – Kitazawa 1936

[19] – For a more detailed examination of Kitazawa’s writing on manga and his use of the word in his work see Stewart 2013.

[Editor's note: This article was updated on 15/06/2014 to correct some minor errors.]

To read more from Comics Forum’s Manga Studies column, click here.

 
1 Comment

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One response to “Manga Studies #2: Manga history: Shimizu Isao and Miyamoto Hirohito on Japan’s first modern ‘manga’ artist Kitazawa Rakuten by Ronald Stewart

  1. jsantiago

    2014/06/23 at 12:14

    After reading Ronald Stewart’s post, I have confronted feelings. For those of us who, beside this post, have read other articles such as “Manga as Schism. Kitazawa Rakuten’s Resistance to ‘Old-Fashioned’ Japan”, there is not doubt about his deep knowledge on the person of Rakuten Kitazawa and – what is more important for some of us – his role within the early years of manga. Stewart proves to be a good researcher, a great historian – depicting a hardcore knowledge about Kitazawa’s works and writings – but… a non-so-good lawyer, when it comes to defend a non-continuity theory on manga.

    After reading both his article and this post (the post, for obvious reasons concerning both space and focus, does not rely so much on Kitazawa’s own writings) the general feeling I get is pretty much the same.

    As a westerner, much of the bibliography to which I had access in the past years relies on a continuity approach, but I agree with Stewart’s that even so, I could never avoid the feeling that some pieces didn’t match or were just connected by simple diachrony or historical juxtaposition. Stewart is right about his non-continuity theory. There is no doubt about that. However, I feel he fails to make a stronger statement mostly because of two flaws which I’d like to point out (if I may dare).

    By turning Rakuten Kitazawa into the key, the turning point for manga, they (Stewart and other researchers) are taking a risky decision. I totally agree with Stewart when he explains that Kitazawa always thought of his manga as a rupture against Meiji and the ponchi from previous decades, and as something new with deep roots in western comics. We can highlight this as a general statement from Kitazawa’s writings and works (as Stewart knows much better than me). But – in my opinion – by quoting him so many times, the strength of this general idea simply fades. Kitazawa was a man of his time, an author willing to work. His quotes, many times contradictory, shouldn’t be taken into account randomly, but as a whole. When it comes to continuity-discontinuity debate, I think that Stewart, who has proven himself right, should focus into this big general idea, rather than on particularization. By quoting so many times Kitazawa, Stewart might be true to a historical approach, but “betrays” his effort to state the non-continuity theory.

    The second flaw is directly related to an exhibition referred within this post. When the author speaks about the exhibition curated by Miyamoto and Yasuhiko he says “bringing together ample historical materials displayed specifically to highlight the ponchi to manga shift”. I think this approach is a mistake, and by quoting it I think Stewart reinforces the same mistake. In my opinion, the idea within the “shift” concept implies the very same continuity they are trying to deny. It is within human nature that when we put to different things together we immediately try to point out the differences between them…, but also their resemblances. I think they should not remark this “shift”, rather than speak of two different-separated mediums.

    For example: If we curated a painting exhibition showing the shift between realism and impressionism, impressionism and cubism, or cubism and suprematism, we could clearly agree that there is a “shift” among each of them, but none of us would dare to think that they were not the very same medium: painting. By putting side by side ponchi (and back, back, back, ukiyo-e and animal scrolls, etc.) and manga, rather than highlighting their obvious differences (since they address two different medium), I think they just force the viewer to establish a connection. Through his manga, Kitazawa wanted to “break” with the previous ponchi and anything from Meiji, but ¿wouldn’t a suprematist say the same from cubistic paintings?

    However, nobody would dare to curate an exhibition with paintings and photographs just to prove that they are different mediums, because that’s an obvious statement for everybody. Or an exhibition showing how different theater and cinema are, or painting and cinema… Of course! because they are different mediums! But that doesn’t mean that there are no connections between cinema and painting and theater, as – in my opinion – happens as well with manga (as an independent medium) and other artistic expressions. Connections within the formal, the sociological, the economical, commercial, narrative, etc. I think this is the meeting point within both approaches: manga is a medium per se – not the simple evolution from chojugiga, or ukiyo-e or ponchi – but it shares attributes with them as it shares other characteristics from other mediums (including western comic, of course).

    I like the following idea: for many years, we thought (since we were told by scientists) that the Neanderthals became extinct after a few millennia by being overcome by homo sapiens. We know now that we, as humans, share at least a 20% of Neanderthal ADN. Does that mean that Neanderthal and humans are the same species? No, of course not. But it doesn’t mean as well that homo sapiens grew from nowhere with no connections to this different species, rather than sporadic hybridization. I believe Manga didn’t evolve from chojugiga, or ukiyo-e or ponchi. Manga is an independent medium – a species itself – that shares influences from other medium, as all of them do – when it comes to contemporary manifestations.

    It may seem I am a bit critical with the content of this post, but it is actually the interest it arouses in me, as well as its many virtues, which prompt me to write this (passionate and visceral) review. I wish to thank Ronald Steward for his research and writings about Kitazawa Rakuten, which have been truly helpful for my own projects.

     

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