ABOUT THIS BOOK:
Manga! Manga! was published in 1983 by Kodansha International. I wrote it mainly because I love manga, or Japanese comics, and wanted to share my enthusiasm. At the time, however, I also felt the rest of the world seemed to be focusing too much on either Japanese management methods or the traditional triad of arts/crafts/zen, and ignoring the thriving and equally important popular culture of Japan.
Around 1976-77, some Japanese and American friends and I had put together an organization called DADAKAI, with the eventual goal of publishing manga in English for non-Japanese people to read. We translated a few works, but never had much luck getting to the publishing stage. In those days, of course, most non-Japanese had never heard of manga. In retrospect, we were too ahead of our time.
Manga! Manga! therefore was also a way to stimulate interest in manga, and to prepare the ground work for later translations and publishing. At the time, I never dreamed how popular manga would become outside of Japan. I like to think that my book has played a little role in this popularity. Certainly, it has never sold that many copies, but it has developed something of a cult following among manga aficionados. In fact, there is even a Japanese bistro in Berkeley, California, named after it. If you're ever in Berkeley, stop in at MANGA-MANGA, on 2399 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, CA 94704 (TEL: 510-704-8224). You can read manga while you munch on sushi, just like in Japan!
Manga! Manga! was first published in hardback format in 1983, and revised slightly for a paperback edition in 1986. (The illustration here is from the paperback). In it I try to give a comprehensive overview of manga history and genres, so if you don't know much about Japanese comics, this is a great place to start. In the back there are four translated manga selections to provide readers a direct manga experience! This book was edited by Peter Goodman, and art direction was provided by Shigeo Katakura.
In 1998 Manga! Manga! was reprinted with a new foreword by me, and a slightly tweaked cover (some new text on the back). The paperback edition is nearly identical to the original 1983 version; the hard cover edition was also reprinted as a "Collector's Edition" and comes with a slightly different but very nice gold cover (replacing the former, bright yellow). As the new paperback blurb states:
"Since its publication in 1983, Manga! Manga!: The World of Japanese Comics has been the book to read for all those interested in Japanese comics. It is virtually a "bible" from which all studies and appreciation of manga begin. Moreover, given the influence of Japanese manga on animation and on American-produced comics as well, Manga! Manga! provides the background against which these other arts can be understood. A Collector's Edition is available for those who fully appreciate the value of the book and want an edition that aesthetically expresses that value."
If this sounds boastful, please note that authors don't write book blurbs, publishers do! Also, it's important to point out that except for the new foreword by me and the slightly different covers, the 1998 editions are identical in content to the original. The reasons for keeping the fifteen-year-old book in this pristine state are given in the foreword, and include the fact that Dreamland Japan, my 1996 book on manga, covers much of the newer developments in the industry. Manga! Manga! has gone out of stock many times in the past, and I am therefore extremely grateful for the publisher's decision to reprint it at this date and hopefully keep it available for years to come. Kodansha International's Michael Brase has been particularly supportive in this regard and thus accrues eternal good karma.
Here's the book's
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Foreword by Osamu Tezuka
A Thousand Million Manga
Themes and readers / Reading, and the structure of Narrative Comics / Why Japan?
A Thousand Years of Manga
The Comic Art Tradition / Western styles / Safe and Unsafe Art / Comics and the War Machine / The Phoenix Becomes a Godzilla
The Spirit of Japan
Paladins of the Past / Modern-Day Warriors / Samurai Sports
Flowers and Dreams
Picture Poems / Women Artists Take Over / Sophisticated Ladies
The Economic Animal at Work and at Play
Pride and Craftsmanship / Mr. Lifetime Salary-Man / Mah Jongg Wizards
Regulation versus Fantasy
Is There Nothing Sacred? / Social and Legal Restraints / Erotic Comics
The Comic Industry
Artists / Publishers / Profits
The New Visual Generation / Challenges for the Industry / First Japan, Then the World?
[TRANSLATED STORY SAMPLES:]
Osamu Tezuka's PHOENIX (Hi no Tori)
More on Japanese Comics
PAPERBACK BACK COVER BLURBS:
Manga means "comics" in Japanese. In Japan, manga are read by young and old and are a monster publishing phenomenon with annual sales in the billions of dollars. In the rest of the world, thanks to Japan's economic might, manga concepts are revolutionizing the toy, cartoon, and graphic design industries. Manga can be fantastical and funny, or gritty and violent, with heroes as diverse as samurai, sushi chefs, mah jongg masters, teenagers in love, and bored office workers, to say nothing of anthropomorphic cats and warrior robots. As such, manga offer an entertaining-- and sometimes disturbing-- window on Japanese society. Containing a historical overview, an examination of themes and artists, and over 200 illustrations from Japanese comics magazines, this classic work remains and essential guide for anyone interested in the future of popular visual culture.
"Phenomenal book...an exceptionally literate writer."
"...a thoroughgoing exposition of the manga genre in text and pictures."
--The New Yorker
"An excellent historical guide to manga, as well as a fine introduction to various artists and major thematic concerns."
"Buy this book. Read it."
--The Comics Buyer's Guide
Manga! Manga! has always been hard to find, which gives it that special cult-classic cachet! It's usually (but not always) available in Japan at Kinokuniya, or at Japan-oriented bookstores around the world such as Kinokuniya. Once in a while you might find it at regular bookstores in America and Europe, but not often. It can be ordered from Kodansha. In the 'States, here's the info:
For Trade and Individuals:
KodanshaThese days, the web has made ordering Manga! Manga! far easier. You can now find it easily at virtual bookstores, including but not limited to, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.
Click here for other books by Frederik L. Schodt
Copyright 2007, Frederik L. Schodt
Revised -- 11/09/2008