chapter  1
Manga in Japanese History
ByKinko Ito
Pages 22

This chapter examines how a new genre of political cartoons was born in Meiji Japan by combining comic pictures of the Edo period with the imported Western art form of the caricature and argues that political cartoons acquired a particularly significant political role during the Russo-Japanese War. The Japanese were also alarmed by the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway, which ran across Manchurian territory. Nipponchi, while rightly criticized for its overly simplistic style and vulgar drawings, is still important. For its cartoons, the magazine drew on familiar art forms, particularly standard Edo-period humorous pictures, historical anecdotes, and story lines. The Japanese needed a mass media that the Western world as well as the Japanese people could equally comprehend, and that could be considered a feature of a modern state. Kiyochika Kobayashi, Gaikotsu Miyatake, and, especially, Rakuten Kitazawa created this new graphic idiom of political cartoons and introduced the practice of visual representation in mass media of domestic and international politics.