This edited volume explores political motives, discourses and agendas in Japanese manga and graphic art with the objective of highlighting the agency of Japanese and wider Asian story-telling traditions within the context of global political traditions. Highly illustrated chapters presented here investigate the multifaceted relationship between Japan’s political storytelling practices, media and bureaucratic discourse, as played out between both the visual arts and modern pop-cultural authors. From pioneering cartoonist Tezuka Osamu, contemporary manga artists such as Kotobuki Shiriagari and Fumiyo Kōno, to videogames and everyday merchandise, a wealth of source material is analysed using cross-genre techniques. Furthermore, the book resists claims that manga, unlike the bandes dessinées and American superhero comic traditions, is apolitical. On the contrary, contributors demonstrate that manga and the mediality of graphic arts have begun to actively incorporate political discourses, undermining hegemonic cultural constructs that support either the status quo, or emerging brands of neonationalism in Japanese society. The Representation of Politics in Manga will be a dynamic resource for students and scholars of Japanese studies, media and popular cultural studies, as well as practitioners in the graphic arts.

chapter 1|26 pages


The political potential of manga

chapter 3|16 pages

Kobayashi Yoshinori’s just war and unjust peace

Sensō ron, arrogant-ism and selective memory

chapter 4|24 pages

Sexual politics in manga

Pan-Pan Girls confronting the US occupation, Vietnam War and Japan’s Article 9 revision

chapter 5|17 pages

NEETs versus nuns

Visualizing the moral panic of Japanese conservatives

chapter 6|18 pages

The body political

Women and war in Kantai Collection

chapter 7|20 pages

Towards an unrestrained military

Manga narratives of the self-defence forces

chapter 9|21 pages

What Tezuka would tell Trump

Critiquing Japanese cultural nationalism in Gringo

chapter 10|20 pages

Questioning the politics of popular culture

Tatsuta Kazuto’s manga 1F and the national discourse on 3/11

chapter 11|20 pages

Database nationalism

The disaggregation of nation, nationalism and symbol in pop culture

chapter 12|22 pages

Envisioning nuclear futures

Shiriagari Kotobuki’s 3/11 manga from hope to despair

chapter 13|20 pages

Kokoro (心)

Civic epistemology of self-knowledge in Japanese war-themed manga

chapter 14|12 pages

In conclusion

Abenomics, Trumpism and manga