Manga, Current “Japanese Culture”

In the near past, Japanese culture meant sushi, ninjas and samurai, but now it does not. People around the world tend to connect it with manga and anime. Japanese manga are now famous and have big markets all over the world. For instance, Hello Kitty, one of Japanese character, generates one billion dollars each year. In fact, Japanese manga has quite a long history. Japanese manga currently spread the whole world over such as Asia, Africa, North and South America, Europe and Oceania. Thus, Japanese manga literally have their fans everywhere in the world. I would argue that this is because not only have Japanese manga been gradually Americanized, but also they had significant elements to get popular abroad; and publishers have a good marketing strategy.

First of all, Japanese manga are flexible enough to be Americanized. Japanese manga have increasingly developed stories which are easy to understand like super-hero stories. You can see this tendency on Pokémon, One Piece and Naruto. In these Japanese manga, hero and his member fight against their enemies on every story. This kind of situation can be observed in famous and popular American comics like Superman, Batman and Captain America. Concerning the facts that these kinds of comics are popular in the United States, I would argue that stories easily understandable stories are a part of American trends. Therefore, Japanese manga with simple plots often get popular in the United States. In fact, these manga were made after the World War II, when Japan was flooded by American culture. Thus, Japanese manga such as Pokémon and so on succeed at gaining appeal for readers there. Moreover, original Japanese names on manga are sometimes changed into American names. For instance, main character in Pokémon is called “Satoshi” in Japan; however, he is called “Ash” in the United States. This fact clearly shows Japanese manga are flexible enough to adapt itself into American society.

Besides, Japanese manga were backed up by strong advertising strategies which are sometimes intended and sometimes incidental. Precisely, Japanese manga publishers have been criticized that they relatively re-print a few manga books many times. To illustrate, a certain manga can be re-printed nearly one hundred times by thousand and can be sold for one hundred thousand. Of course this is not good situation at all, but the manga book would be rare and the reader would be teased. This situation would make the consumers buy more manga and want to complete collecting and reading manga. Moreover, publishers try to increase a turnover out of manga books such as goods. They now include cards or badges in manga to attract more attention of consumers and establish “Japanese manga department” in the stores exhibit merchandise like DVDs, key rings and soft toys. It is difficult for publishers to unearth a new success in manga, so they strive to maintain the proceeds of manga books which have been famous.

Lastly, Japanese manga inherently have two qualities—both of picture and story—in that they cause their hit in multiple countries. On the one hand, it is said that people in the United State prefer stories rather than pictures. To show you what I mean, recall rage comic. Rage comic, a trend on the Internet, usually uses pictures hand-drawn with Microsoft paint. On the other hand, it is said that people in France, the largest market in Europe, prefer pictures rather than stories. It is because there is a French comic called “bande dessinée” which takes pictures into account based on the Western art. They say Japanese people incline to be diligent and by no compromise. I think it is indicated in manga, too. Japanese popular manga have both beautiful pictures as you can observe in many Japanese manga (e.g. Death Note) which are acceptable for European readers; and sophisticated plotlines like One Piece, which even make readers be impressed and fascinate American readers. This means Japanese manga fulfil both American and European readers’ requirements.

To sum up, Japanese manga primarily had the factors in getting popularity around the world; and besides the Western culture influenced Japanese manga. Characters’ names sometimes changed into the Western ones and in the United States, where simple stories more liked, Japanese manga have wide appeal. In addition, advertising these outstanding manga is going well. Finally, Japanese manga have ample factors which attract people around the world, that is to say, beautiful pictures and sublime story line. The facts obviously tell us that Japanese manga, which are potential big sellers in other countries even improved themselves by having been influenced by the Western culture.

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