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
ByRoman Rosenbaum

chapter 2|19 pages

Re-envisioning the Dark Valley and the decline of the peace state

ByBarbara Greene

chapter 3|16 pages

Kobayashi Yoshinori’s just war and unjust peace

Sensō ron, arrogant-ism and selective memory
ByMichael Lewis

chapter 4|24 pages

Sexual politics in manga

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

chapter 5|17 pages

NEETs versus nuns

Visualizing the moral panic of Japanese conservatives
BySean Patrick Webb

chapter 6|18 pages

The body political

Women and war in Kantai Collection
ByRachael Hutchinson

chapter 7|20 pages

Towards an unrestrained military

Manga narratives of the self-defence forces
ByJeffrey J. Hall

chapter 9|21 pages

What Tezuka would tell Trump

Critiquing Japanese cultural nationalism in Gringo
ByBen Whaley

chapter 10|20 pages

Questioning the politics of popular culture

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

chapter 11|20 pages

Database nationalism

The disaggregation of nation, nationalism and symbol in pop culture
ByChristopher Smith

chapter 12|22 pages

Envisioning nuclear futures

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

chapter 13|20 pages

Kokoro (心)

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

chapter 14|12 pages

In conclusion

Abenomics, Trumpism and manga
ByRoman Rosenbaum