Thursday, June 03, 2010

Hello Japan! June mini-challenge: Manga

Hello Japan!
Hello Japan! is a monthly mini-challenge focusing on Japanese literature and culture. Each month there will be a new task which relates to some aspect of life in Japan. Anyone is welcome to join in any time. You can post about the task on your blog. Or if you don't have a blog, you can leave a comment on the Hello Japan! post for the month. Everyone who completes the task will then be included in the drawing for that month's prize. For more information, just click on the Hello Japan! button above, or if you have any questions please feel free to email me at inspringthedawn AT gmail DOT com.
June's Topic

Manga (漫画), literally translated, means "whimsical pictures", and the word first came into common usage in the late 18th century. However, modern manga originated in the Occupation (1945–1952) and post-Occupation years (1952–early 1960s), with such manga artists as Osamu Tezuka (Astro Boy) and Machiko Hasegawa (Sazae-san).

In Japan people of all ages read manga, and it includes a wide range of subjects: action-adventure, romance, sports and games, historical drama, comedy, science fiction and fantasy, mystery, horror, sexuality, and business/commerce, among others. Since the 1950s, manga have steadily become a major part of the Japanese publishing industry, representing a 406 billion yen market in Japan in 2007 (approximately $3.6 billion)*. Manga have also become increasingly popular worldwide, and outside of Japan, the term tends to refer specifically to Japanese comics.

*All factual information courtesy of Wikipedia, for more visit the Wikipedia manga page.  Kanji image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

June's Task

This month's task is to read, or otherwise enjoy, manga.  The most obvious way to complete the challenge would be to read and review a volume of any manga series that interests you.  Many popular series are available in translation and can be purchased locally or online.  You can also read manga online for free from some of the following sites: One Manga, Manga Fox, Manga Volume among others.  For ideas on what to read, the New York Times posts a Top 10 Manga list (scroll down past the Graphic Books), or check out Bookslut's The Best Manga of All Time post. Some bloggers also review manga: Rhinoa's Ramblings, Books & other thoughts, a book a week, Novroz' Favorite Things (a big fan of One Piece), and no doubt others that I apologize for missing here. And plenty of other manga suggestions come up with a simple Google search. Also, a reminder that reading manga for the Hello Japan! mini-challenge this month would also count for the Graphic Novels Challenge and the Manga Challenge.

But in addition to, or instead of, reading, you could post about anything relating to manga. You could post about a favourite mangaka (manga artist). You could watch an anime version of a popular manga. You could visit a manga museum, or exhibit, such as the Kyoto International Manga Museum. You could try drawing your own manga, or take a picture of yourself in cosplay of a favourite manga character. Or anything else you can think of that relates to manga in some way.

June's Prize

This month's prize is one volume of the manga of your choice.  Please note that it must be available to purchase online (no out of print or hard to find volumes, sorry), unless of course you'd like the original Japanese edition in which case I can try to get whatever you like here locally.  

To be eligible for the prize, you must complete this month's mini-challenge and provide a link to your post. If you don't have a blog, you can leave a comment with the details on this post, or email me at inspringthedawn AT gmail DOT com. You are welcome to post more than once and add the links below. I love it when you are enthusiastic about a topic! However, each participant will receive only one entry per month. It doesn't matter if you've won previously, you're eligible each month that you participate. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Once you have completed the task, don't forget to come back here to add your link to the Mr. Linky below. Please submit the link to the actual post, not just to your top page, and please only submit links to posts relating to the Hello Japan! task for this month. All other links will be deleted. Thank you for your understanding. Have fun!

Happy manga month!

The small print:  Links in this post to Amazon contain my Associates ID.  Purchases made via these links earn me a very small commission.  For more information please visit my About Page. 


  1. Yeaaaa....I LOVE this month's topic!!! Manga has never left my book list tho I had read lots of Novels.

    I currently have Chie Watari on my to-read list :)

  2. Oops! Erase my name as having completed the challenge; it's early and I meant to say I want to join in! I'd never have read manga had it not been for your and Kailana's influence many years ago.

    Also, I'm looking forward to discussing Silence on June 28th!

  3. This is really cool! I just found your blog and I'm excited about June's challenge. I started a blog last week and I'm having a weekly feature called Manga Mondays. I visited Japan in April and fell in love with all things Japanese. I'm currently making my way through Fruits Basket and Kitchen Princess.

  4. June mini-challenge submission:

    I got my son to recommend something I might like. He suggested "Four Shojo Stories" (an anthology of four unrelated stories) as some of the stories are character-driven, and he knows I like that.

    Though graphic novels are not something I normally read, I did find these interesting, even the two science-fiction stories -- "They Were 11" by Moto Hagio (a classic, according to the introduction) and "The Changeling" by Shio Sato. Sci-fi is another genre I'm not usually drawn to, but these stories provided food for thought, dealing as they did with other worlds' and beings' philosophies and lifestyles.

    The first and last stories of the anthology ("Promise" and "Since You've Been Gone"), both by Keiko Nishi, are 'realistic' (even considering a somewhat supernatural friend in the former), one having to do with a teenager dealing with her widowed mother's behavior and the other about a philandering husband's behavior in the aftermath of an earthquake, and more to my taste, as they focus on the emotional lives of the characters in stories that are personal yet universal.

    All in all, I enjoyed reading each one and found the collection as a whole quite entertaining.

  5. Hi, this Sumit(Owl59) again.
    MANGA is a topic for me!
    Manga, especially shojo manga (manga for girls)
    was one of my passions in high school days.
    I felt, at that time, I could not live without them.

    There were so many good
    shojo manga, at that time, 70 and 80s.
    (It was like Rock Music scene of late 60s and 70s)
    Some manga became more than comics:
    they became art, and influenced not only children but also adults. Banana Yoshimoto's
    passion for Shojo Manga is famous.

    One of my favorite authors is Moto Hagio.

    Unfortunately most of her manga translated
    into English are out of print.
    You can take a look at the reviews at

    For the people who have never read her,
    I recommend, "A, A prime"

    If you are interested in her, there is a very good
    through interview of her by Matt Thorn,
    who studies and also translates manga into English

  6. Hello, Teresa,

    I was happy to find that you commented
    on "Four Shojo Stories"
    because I was wondering, actually,
    from which to choose,
    "Four Shojo Stories" or "A, A prime"
    I like all three authors of the anthology.
    Hagio, Shio Sato, Keiko Nishi.

    I like "They were 11" by Moto Hagio,
    but it was kind of early works of her,
    (first published in 70s, I remember)
    so I chose, "A, A prime", a little later
    work, and a little more sophisticated.

    I am happy that you enjoyed
    Shojo Manga ( "food for thoughts",
    indeed, for me as a teenager).
    I used to love them
    and still like them very much.

    Say hello to your son for good choice.

  7. Hello, sumit. I enjoyed reading your comments. As I'm sure you know, Matt Thorn, whom you mentioned, wrote the very good introduction to "Four Shojo Stories" and talked of translating Moto Hagio there as well. My son asked me to be extremely careful with his book :) as it is way out of print. I saw the prices at Amazon, so I understood his concern. :) I wish I had "A, A prime" here to read!

  8. Hello, Teresa,

    I am very happy that you enjoyed
    reading my comments. Thank you.

    Actually, however, my favorite of Hagio
    is "the Heart of Thomas",
    which also made Matt Thorn
    become a translator/researcher of Shojo Manga.

    I read it in Japanese and don't remember
    if it was ever translated into English.
    I don't recommend it to everybody because
    1. it is not as sophisticated as her later work
    2. it is loved, not liked, by who really liked it
    but it is not for everybody

    If you are interested in "the Heart of Thomas",
    visit Matt Thorn's website. There are first few
    pages translated into English in his website,
    "The Multi-Faceted Universe of Shojo Manga"


Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I love hearing from you and I read every single one!

P.S. In an effort to eliminate spam, I moderate all comments, so there will most likely be a delay between when you submit the comment and when it appears on the post. Please let me know if you have any trouble leaving comments here, and you can also chat with me on Twitter, if you prefer. Happy Reading!