Authored by Tricia Ellis-Christensen and can also be found here:
Manga Character
Manga refers to all drawn comic books and graphic novels in Japan. It is not anime, which is the animated and filmed versions of some of the comic books or graphic novels. Many in the Japanese culture enjoy Manga, and there are books suitable to both young and more mature readers.

Despite its huge popularity, certain manga themes are controversial. Adult manga may be extremely pornographic and as well be extraordinarily violent. For example, the manga graphicnovel Battle Royale concerns a storyline that many find disturbing because it seems to encourage child pornography and child violence.

Charges of racism have been levied against certain manga books as well. The comic book Hating the Korean Wave is very explicit in its dislike of Koreans and Korean culture. The Japanese characters of the book are drawn with Caucasian features, while the Koreans are drawn with more Asian features. There are numerous negative statements regarding Korean culture that do not bear repetition.

Introduction to China is another manga representing hatred and discrimination. The Chinese are depicted as cannibals, and all of Chinese culture is dismissed as lacking in value. These comics enrage not only their intended targets but also many people of Japanese descent. Not everyone reads or supports manga of this type, and in fact many are furious by such overt racism.

Manga Comic
Racism charges in manga are not exclusive to comics for adults. The Pokemon character Jynx was thought to resemble the blackface look that made fun of African Americans. The charge seemed somewhat unfounded, as the black face of the character more closely resembled a stylistic trend then popular in Japan. However other manga have also included the blackface look. In response to criticism of the Pokemon character, further anime featuring Jynx changed the face to purple.

Thus some manga has justly deserved some criticism for overt racism and for perhaps choices lacking in taste. However, not all manga represents such views. Some manga for children is specifically tame, and for adults manga may be more interesting than it is racist, pornographic or excessively violent. It is less the art form itself but more what individuals choose to do with manga that has inspired controversy.

To purchase your favourite Manga comics, check out our graphic novels page

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