International Journal of Comic Art
Japanese literature, Graphic novels
In the field of manga studies, Natsume Fusanosuke is widely known as an important critic and scholar. Not only does he maintain a brutally prolific publication record, but one must keep in mind he was of a new wave of manga commentators, critics, and scholars that made their impact on Japanese culture by bringing public acceptance to manga in the 1990s. Many scholars in comics studies are aware of Manga no yomikata (How to Read Manga [Takarajima, 1995]), a co-authored book that consists of a considerable contribution by Natsume, and of its importance in establishing certain types of approaches to manga study and analysis. This translated essay is from Natsume's follow-up study, Why Is Manga So Interesting: Its Grammar and Expression (Manga wa naze omoshiroi no ka: sono bunpo and hyogen, 1997), the book form of his televised show and episode notes from NHK's Human University (Ningen Daigaku). This essay is the culminating chapter (Chapter 12) in the series and the first part of the later published book (NHK Library, 1997). In it, Natsume concludes his observations about why manga and its possible premodern precursors are so compelling for Japanese people and why manga should be considered an important part of Japan's culture and artistic heritage.
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Fusanosuke, N. (2020). The Characteristics of Japanese Manga. (J. Holt & T. Fukuda, Trans.). International Journal of Comic Art. 22(2), 164-179.