For most people Manga is still a relatively unread media outside of Japan, which is amazing considering the influence it has had and still has on comics. Since the 1990s Manga has been heavily influencing and has been influenced by Western culture and comics. A cross-pollination of sorts was established, that enriched and complicated Manga; blurring the lines between influence.
The post-war history of Japan and Manga’s rise stems from a vast array of factors. There exists multiple circumstances that will never truly allow us to identify a single instance where Manga emerged post-war. Although the theory of the Atomic bombing of Hiroshima & Nagasaki and the surrender of Japan had an immense influence on the Japanese ‘artistic psyche’.
One could postulate that these events led to a void in artistic source material and thus paved the way for the influence of American comics through the flow of cultural and subcultural material.
We took a look at 3 prolific Manga artists from 3 different generations Chiba Tetsuya (1939), Hoshino Yukinobu (1954) and Nakamura Hikaru (1984). Each with varying artistic styles, themes and influences.
Tetsuya (1939), the oldest generation of artist, of the 3, relatively unknown despite specializing and writing many works of Sports Manga. His work Fair Isle Lighthouse Keepers Golf Course, Scotland is displayed and features a story about the struggles and pursuit of excellence of a young golfer; the untamed desire to win.
Manga comics by Tetsuya are another example that highlights the diverse subject matter that is featured. One would assume it is because of how mainstream Manga is in Japanese society compared to Western Comics state side and in Western Europe.
Yukinobu (1954), the second generation of the manga artists, is a science-fiction style artist who’s work that is showcased features a newly-created character Rainman in black & white. Set in a bizarre alternative setting of Tokyo filled with supernatural elements, the story revolves around Yukinobu’s alter-ego character and sudden suicide of his twin that he never even knew existed.
Yukinobu’s is also very much known for his graphic novel series, 2001 Nights. Most Manga fans will be familiar with the ubiquity of cyberpunk as a sub-genre and 2001 is another example of such.
Hikaru (1984), the youngest of the 3 artists, known for her stories about daily life. Her Manga piece Saint Oniisan vol. 10 tells a story of Jesus and Buddha, the founders of Christianity & Buddhism, as room-mates in Tokyo. A vacation on Earth enjoyed for both deities.
One of Hikaru’s favorite books is The Little Prince
This exhibition is quite profound as it gives viewers an accurate depiction of works that are being read in Manga today. This is a good alternative to most other Manga exhibitions which attempt to promote the history of Manga and provide an encyclopaedic overview to interested parties.