>The debate still rages.
Spurred on by the piece that Pat O’Neill wrote in response to Dirk Deppey’s, She’s Got Her Own Thing Now, article about the shoujo phenomenon in the US, the line that got most people foaming at the mouth, “Manga are not comics,” has spilled over into blogs as well as a number of forums.
Pat gets into some more detail in his latest post, Why Manga Isn’t Comics.
I’ve made a few comments here, here, here, and here regarding Pat’s analogy about the differences between Japanese kabuki and Euro-American drama. I posted [without commentary] some quotes/links to research and analyses of the difference between manga/Japanese art and comics/US (and European) art here and here (reposted here)
Queenie Chan asks the legitimacy/authority begging question:
“How much manga have the people on this thread actually read? And how much do you know about manga in general?”
I responded a little snarkily:
Ok, since we’re quibbling about definitions in general–are you asking about Chinese Manhua and Korean Manwha as well? What about all the “manga” of India, Thailand Gahdoon books, Indonesian Cerita silat bergambar, Cambodian Salapak–do the Hong Kong Jademan comics count? The answer here could make the difference between a few hundred to a few thousand.
How am I supposed to count Shojo Beat and Shonen Jump, both of which I read regularly? Do we count each individual story or just the volume as a whole? What if these are the only “real” manga I read? Does this mean that I don’t really know anything about manga because I only read hundreds of “derivative” manga from the other dozen or so Asian countries that produce their own manga?
Could we ask how much someone, that only reads Japanese manga, if they really know anything about manga? Does it really matter?
Is a tankōbon just one manga?
What about Western manga? We counting Nouvelle Manga? Bryan Lee O’Malley? Becky Cloonan?
I guess I’d just have to say it really depends on what you mean by manga, and how you want to define “knowledge about manga” relative to how manga itself is defined.
My [very abridged] summary is here.
See, these kinds of debates interest me more as a case study for Post-Colonial Criticism. And though I haven’t yet done what I promised Jim of Double Articulation–I think he may forgive me as I start to articulate some things about this whole dialogue.
My qualification about Orientalism still stands.
Namely, that Edward Said recognizes that there is a plurality of Orientalisms. He went to great pains in distinquishing between French colonial and British colonial Orientalism throughout much of his work. He spent a great deal of time articulating the difference between American Orientalism and the European colonial kind. This makes sense as most of the contact between the US and the “East” (at least at the time of the publishing of Said’s seminal text Orientalism) happened to be in military engagements with Japan, Korea and Vietnam. So I think it’s quite obvious that American Orientalism took a very different road than European colonial Orientalism.
And it would hardly do justice to Said’s critical output to boil down the essence of his work to being a matter of only concerning the “Middle East.” He spends a great deal of time analyzing texts regarding British India and China and French Indochina. Unless we want to say that all these vast geographic regions are just ostensibly Arab or Islamic (not that either of these are essential categories either), then to claim that Said’s Orientalism is essentially about dar-al-Islam is being disingenuous at best, and at worst might indicate just a plain sloppy [mis]reading of Said’s text(s).
And last but not least. Said’s Orientalism can be read as a case study of his later work, Culture and Imperialism.
This “debate” is such a nice and seedy hotbed of Orientalist sentiment.