{DISCUSSION} Manga

Why is manga still taboo?

Perhaps you don’t know this about me, as I don’t really talk about it much on here, but I’m a huge fan of manga! Well, I should say I used to be. When I was younger, I borrowed manga like Inuyasha and Ranma 1/2 from a friend while also bingeing anime like Dragonball Z and Yu Yu Hakusho on Toonami. Those were some good times! And I even owned a few manga myself (only a few because it was hard justifying the price for a young person without a job.)

However, my love of manga was struck down because of America’s negative opinion of it. (In the form of my parents, obviously.)

You see, to many Americans who are not familiar with manga and, therefore, uninterested in manga, manga is considered childish, wasteful, and well, dumb. It’s seen as a juvenile cartoon (despite many anime being WELL beyond the age, violence, and content restrictions of many adult TV shows.) It’s seen as expensive (because we also pay for the exquisite, amazing, time-consuming, years-worth-of-training artwork, not just the story-telling.)

And, for some ungodly reason, it’s seen as being a worse hobby/interest than comic books, which, by the way, are only now widely accepted by the general non-comic-book-reading populous in America because… What? They got made into action movies with sexy actors and actresses? o.O If they’d made the comics into animated versions as they do with many of the TV versions of those same comics, the general populace wouldn’t give a dang! Which is exactly what is still happening to manga. It’s still being severely shunned by that same general populace.

But why are manga and anime still TABOO?

Well, for one, people have a tendency to judge something and avoid that thing because mainstream media/society tells them to. Oh, mindless fear of being ostracized from society for being who you are. 😒 Anyway!!! Manga, for many years, fell into a similar realm with comic books. The only people who were supposed to read it were geeks who were middle-aged and lived at home with their mothers or were young teens who hadn’t ‘grown up’ yet and found ‘real’ hobbies. (Because mindlessly consuming hours upon hours of bad reality TV counts as a real hobby. 😉)

Manga, to those unfamiliar with it, is also seen as being a children’s picture book. The whole thing is pages upon pages of pictures, which means that there couldn’t possibly be any actual, depth-filled content in there. It’s seen as just a bunch of vapid, naive stories like one would find in children’s TV shows. Thus, it’s supposedly over-priced cheap (in the sense of quality) entertainment. This is one of the reasons why only certain people are expected to read it because those people are considered to be of a lower quality that people who a) read ‘adult’ books or b) don’t read at all because they have ‘lives.’

But that’s not true!

Despite what the ‘cool kids’ would have people believe, manga is extremely popular! (And not just by geeks or shut ins or pre-teens.) It’s so big that there are massive, well-attended conventions in numerous cities around the country and around the world. If the stereotype about manga readers was true, uh… pretty sure these widely acclaimed conventions wouldn’t exist.

Additionally, manga is not for children. Yes, there is manga designed for children, but like every piece of literature, it has varying age-groups and genres. The problem is, that most non-manga readers only ever hear about shojo, a form of manga designed for young girls. This genre is often filled with adorabley cheesy romance and a whole lot of ‘squeeing’ and nose bleeds.

However, that’s not the only form of manga. I know for a fact that’s not what’s going on in shonen manga (manga designed for young men) like Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, or I dunno, say Attack on Titan? Yeah… let me know next time people being ripped to pieces and obliterated was considered ‘squee-worthy.’ (Though, maybe some people find that adorable. 😜)

Okay. I could honestly go on and on and on about this FOREVER! And I wish I could because I am disappointed in myself for having given into society and its pressures and getting rid of my manga because it was ‘childish’ because it was ‘weird’ because it wasn’t a ‘normal interest.’ (Like make-up or dating or… whatever stereotypical activity teenage girls are supposed to do. *eye roll*) And honestly, having seen first-hand how normal and accepted manga is in Japan, and how accepted comic books have become in America, I just canNOT fathom why Americans find manga – another form of literature (because it is in fact literature despite what society may falsely spew into the ears of its catatonic followers) – to be so abhorrent! WHY?!

But what do you think?
Why is manga taboo?
Should this change?
Leave your thoughts below!


And check out my discussion from last week:
Book Length

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39 thoughts on “{DISCUSSION} Manga

  1. Thanks for this review, I really loved it. I’m probably way too late for the discussion but I wanted to put in my two cents. 😉
    It’s such a shame, that mangas are so frowned upon these days. I LOVED them when I was a teen, heck, I still read them with 18/19 but then my interests changed. Anyways, I loved it and I was probably the only girl in class back then who read mangas (mostly shojo mangas 😀 but I also read Detective Conan so here we go. 😉 ) I don’t think they are cheap at all, those mangaka put so much effort and love and time in those drawings/stories/mangas. Hopefully the people’s opinion will change at some point.
    -Sabrina

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nein! Du bist nimmer spät für Diskussion, Sabrina! 😉 Welcome and thank you for commenting! 😀

      Exactly! So much hard work and effort and determination went into manga. It’s no different than the amount of work that goes into writing regular novels (though there is still some stigma against that as well. :/ ) I also hope the public’s opinion of manga will change, and hopefully these discussions will help. 😀

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi there,
    I’m from the UK, so have a slightly different experience here. Love Manga and Anime, huge fan of Japanese culture.
    I began reading manga about 20 years ago – I am also middle aged – then I gave it up. Why? Because it is so damned expensive.
    You get Issue #1 of some story, (£7.99 each) by Issue #6, you have spent almost £50! And they seem to go on for ever! You could – and many people do – spend an absolute fortune on them. We have Waterstones bookshop in the UK (not sure about the states) and even our tiny, local one holds monthly Manga Evenings for local enthusiasts (primarily teens) ; they have a quiz, a costume contest and a social/mingle.
    Maybe I’m being biased, but I think British people are a lot more accepting of other cultures than Americans – in general – though we are both conservative countries, America often strikes us as being in fear of ‘the other’ – especially those in my age group!
    Oh, I also play Dungeons and Dragons, play PS Games and dress up in Steampunk costumes once in a while!!

    P.S: the first true manga was drawn by ukiyo-e artist, Hokusai (1760–1849). So you can pull that one out when the ‘elders’ criticise. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi there, Alexandra!

      I’m so sorry for my delayed response. (I tend to reply a little slower on my discussion posts since the comments are longer. :p ) but never fear! I have not forgotten you! 😀

      I completely agree about the cost. It’s one of the reasons I haven’t gotten out and re-established the tiny manga collection I once had. I mean, you get a lot more story out of full length novels compared to manga and you can buy used books for half the price of manga. So… Unless I become a billionaire or something… :p

      YOU HAVE A MANGA EVENING?! Okay. I agree. Brits are WAY more accepting of other cultures because the only way something like that would EVER be coordinated is maybe through a university (and a rather large university at that.) The general populous would never put on an event for manga. I mean, the capital of my state has a manga convention, but it’s REALLY small and I didn’t learn about it until I was like… 20! It’s such a shame because, since society doesn’t accept it here in America, people who do enjoy it, don’t get to hear about fun events like that! sigh

      “America often strikes us as being in fear of ‘the other'”
      Isn’t that ironic? We were supposed to be a land of the free and the eclectic and the worldly, but we’ve pretty much turned our backs on open-mindedness and other cultures. Ugh. I blame WWII. It gave a generation really bad ideas about the rest of the world. -.-

      AHH! You and I sound like we’d be good friends (despite the age difference. 😉 ) Because I love PS games (and board games) and would totally get into steampunk if I had even an ounce of costuming ability. HAHAHAHA! (I do have a few corset-style costumes, but not made by me. :p )

      Like

  3. Okay, I’ll have to admit, I’ve never known manga is considered taboo by many! I’ve grown up reading both comic books and Japanese manga (and now Korean and Chinese manhwa), and like you I can’t fathom why. 😅

    Maybe it’s because comic books are for “kids”, especially with the preception of cartoons being for kids. Maybe people think reading books full of tiny text is considered adult. Maybe reading pages of pictures with less text than a novel doesn’t seem intelligent. I don’t know. But I think a lot of people don’t know that manga can have very thought provoking topics like bullying and abuse, and that there are manga genres geared towards adules (seinen and josei) in a way that novels for adults are separate from those for young adults.

    Good to see a fellow manga lover, by the way! I grew up reading Doraemon and still have a lot of the (now battered) books on my bookshelf. 😆

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hee hee! Happy to find a fellow manga lover, as well. 🙂

      And yes. I think you are right in that most people who are unfamiliar with manga see it as childish. They think that adults shouldn’t read or enjoy books with pictures in them, that it’s less appropriate or whatever. Why? I don’t know. I don’t see why becoming an adult means you have to give up a lot of the things you enjoy and loved as a child. I fear too many adults become too ‘adulty’ and therefore forget what it’s like to have fun. It’s a shame because, as you said, a lot of difficult topics are brought to light in manga and they are just as ‘adult’ in their content as fiction novels. Hopefully by talking more about it, we can educate people to the importance and ‘adultness’ of manga. 🙂

      P.s. I had no idea Korean/Chinese manga existed. Very cool!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 😀😀

        I agree! I think society in general has a rigid thinking of what an adult should do, which is why the manga (and video games!) = childish. Hopefully the society thinking will eventually change for the better. 😀

        Yep, there are loads of Korean and Chinese manhwa now! I mean, they’ve always existed, just that there seems to be more of them in the recent few years. So far two of my (still ongoing) favourites are The Gamer (Korean) and Duoluo Dalu (Chinese). 📚

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I feel you Melanie! I am a huge fan of Anime and I LOVE AOT ❤ DBZ and many other animes/mangas you mentioned. I guess the thing is that mostly people who have never watched/ read one single episode of any manga/ anime judge them. I feel like they’re just ignorant and dumb. I’m sorry for being so blunt but it’s true. It’s the same problem we have in YA literature or fantasy. Those that don’t know about it or only heard about Twilight, thing Ya is for childish teens and people who don’t mind reading shabby books with undeveloped plots. That’s of course, totally not the case but prejudice and shunning will always be a part of our culture. You just have to do your own things much as you can and get rid of the people who bully you into being their kind of normal.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahaha! You’re not being blunt. (Well, at least not to me, but I’m also a very blunt person. :p ) And it truly is that people who judge manga and anime have almost never experienced it and are, therefore, making misinformed judgments. A shame. Manga has so much to offer!

      And yes! You are totally right. It is the same type of prejudice we see from people who don’t read YA or fantasy or scifi (as you just recently discussed on your blog.) There are too many people in the world who make snap decisions and judgments about something that they know nothing about. And yes, I shouldn’t let it get to me. I did when I was young, impressionable, and naive, but I don’t anymore. I love manga. I love anime. I love scifi and fantasy. And I love YA.

      HOWEVER!

      Because I am so comfortable in myself and what I believe in, I feel I have a duty to educate people with those misguided ideas. I have a platform. I have a voice. And literature is something I’m passionate about. So, while I may not be up for debating politics ( :p ) I am more than willing to stand up on a soapbox and explain why YA/scifi/fantasy/manga/anime is good and should not be admonished. In my experience, silence doesn’t help anyone. To gain acceptance, one must speak up and educate, and I’m more than willing to do so. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s really inspiring to meet people who just do their thing, whether it be reading or another hobby. You are right. Silence only helps those loud hater who then feel like everybody is on their side. Educate, speak to people and make them understand. I actually wrote a couple of essays about YA literature and it’s efficient utilization in the classromm 😉 Everything that helps people understand and overcome their prejudices.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for being so open-minded, Tanja. 💚 That is honestly all we ask of people who are unfamiliar with manga (or any other subject matter, for that… matter. :p ) Please feel free to ask any questions you may have. 🙂

      We understand manga won’t be for everyone (just as normal fiction genres aren’t for everyone), but we simply ask that non-manga-readers refrain from admonishing something we enjoy, just as they do not admonish someone who reads romance or horror. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I could understand having that viewpoint, Trent. After all, our understanding of something and how people view it is based on the people with whom we interact. Were I still actively engaged with my friends from high school who were so fond of manga, I may not realize how little people think of it. However, I have a wide variety of friends. Thus, I am able to see a wide variety of viewpoints.

      Additionally, I think American comics has become far more acceptable only in the last decade or so because of the Marvel and DC movies. Prior to this, it was just a literature format. Thus, it was admonished not only by those who don’t read, but also by those who read books without pictures (and therefore think themselves better than those who read books with pictures. >.>) Now, though, you see more people (non-readers in particular) who are opening up to the idea of their favorite superhero and where they come from. However, that’s not to say they are now engaging in comics themselves, just merely that they aren’t quite as judgmental.

      Again, this is all my experience. I have no facts or numbers to support this, just mere observance. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Actually, there is a lot more to American comics than superheros, and I think some of the non-superhero comics brought a level of respectability to the form – people realized that they weren’t just for kids. Actually, originally they were for adults, but some people trying to force censorship on comics brainwashed the public into believing comics were only for kids. It’s taken decades for comics to break the stigma, but things like “Maus” helped. Also, the Dark Night graphic novels help bring a different audience to superheros.

        The thing with Manga, is that the people I know who read it are connoisseurs who see it as a serious art form.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ah. Yes, I often forget about the non-superhero ones, myself. (Even though I’ve read a few.) It’s strange how they are the same things, yet one is viewed differently than others. Could it simply be because of the subject material?

          That makes sense. Manga is most definitely about the art, but there are still people who see the art as juvenile and not adult. I can’t count the number of manga artists in my highschool were shot down by their peers and their families and society itself. Why? That artwork is just as amazing as anything else and I’d kill to be able to do that. (Well, maybe not really. :p )

          Liked by 1 person

    1. YAY! I’m so happy to hear you’ve broken through the stereotyped aura around manga! 😀 Your previous idea about manga is exactly the ideology I run into and hope to change. Which manga have you been getting into? Anything in particular? 🙂

      Like

        1. Oo! I’ve heard good things about Death Note. Huge fandom! 😀

          I tried Black Butler, but it was a bit too absurd for me. :p Not that it was bad, just different. Hee hee!

          Happy you’ve found some you like! Hope you continue to enjoy!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Thanks death Note has a huge following and I’m excited to get around to reading it i can totally see why Black Butler may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Thanks I’m always up for suggestions if you have any ☺☺

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Uh… I’m not sure you and I read the same types of manga. :p I am, to everyone’s surprise, a reader of shojo. I like girly manga (which is such a contrast to my doom&gloom post-apoc aesthetic.) But what can I say? hahahaha! Sometimes I like to fangirl with the best of them. 😂

              Liked by 1 person

                1. Hahahaha! Honestly, manga is like… the only form of literature where I’ll actively read romance. But I kind of just love the constant, endless tension between characters who never end up getting together for whatever reason. That doesn’t happen in novels, unfortunately. :p

                  Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s pure ignorance. Those who call comic books of any type to be childish have probably never read anything other than Archie and Jughead.

    The bigger negative stigma I’ve run into is people thinking Manga and Hentai are the same thing. Again, this is just ignorance by people who are just spouting half-baked notions and things they overheard.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah! But you bring up a fantastic point. Most people assume comic strips are the same thing as comic books, which they aren’t. They are two very different things. That’s like comparing short stories with full length novels. It’s just not possible, but alas people are, unfortunately, uneducated in comic books and therefore make inappropriate assumptions.

      Oh. God. Yes. Unfortunately, if that is the only experience you’ve had with the art-style commonly seen in manga, it’s difficult to accept that there is anything else out there. And while the genres and plots are obviously different, the art style is so similar that people assume they are the same thing. Granted, you never understand the intricacies of the varying styles of art until you actually get into manga. No two artists are the same.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Japanese culture is by far my favorite and most respected, even above the U.S. I watched DBZ when I was younger and saw a few Bleach episodes; didn’t know what they were though (didn’t like Bleach though, I thought it was weird). That’s probably why it’s taboo. People think it’s weird. Can’t accept other’s cultures, but that’s been a U.S. problem for years. Yeah, it’s diverse here. That’s on the outside. Inside, not so much.

    It wasn’t until I got to college that I found other people that openly enjoyed anime/manga. Where I’m from, people might watch the big ones, basically DBZ or Naruto, but that’s it because everything else is weird to them. I can see the view of it is changing though. Of course, starting from the college kids down to the younger ones. You can suggest something to anyone and they might actually watch it instead of writing it off or calling you weird.

    It would be good for us to actually learn something from Japan, so I think it definitely should change. But it’s already changing anyway. Who knows how far? Can I reblog this?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely you can reblog this! 😀 I’m so happy to hear you want to and I’m also happy because it’ll help spread the word. I don’t mean to attack any non-manga-reader. I simply want to educate them and correct their misinformed stereotypes of the media form and the people who enjoy it. 🙂

      Oh! I looooove the Japanese culture and it’s definitely portrayed in manga. (Albeit, a little unrealistic in some cases), but a lot of what people know about Japan is based on what they see in manga. Some of it is true, as well. Like how schools look. The types of foods that are consumed. The way cities are laid out. Certain societal aspects. I think it’s fantastic, but you are unfortunately correct in that people find Japanese culture to be strange. It’s just so different from any Western culture and, for some reason, is therefore deemed ‘bad.’ (Personally, I LOVE Japanese culture and I’ve experienced it firsthand. God. If they had peanut butter, I might’ve stayed there. Hahahahha!)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can’t wait to visit there, mainly Akihabara because anime/manga of course. Just wish everyone else could see why I respect Japan so much other than that. Peanut butter though? Really? 😀

        A lot is unrealistic and Japan does have it’s own problems, but overall, they are great people from what I know. I’ll reblog in the next coming days. Thanks!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Bahahahaha! Hey! Don’t dis my peanut butter. I grew up on that stuff! Yummm! 😀

          Actually, the irony is that respect is the utmost importance in Japan and not so much in America. Perhaps that’s why so many Americans don’t respect or get the culture of Japan. :/ Personally, I thought it was great. I’m a little too loud for it full time (crazy extrovert and all who likes to make a scene :p ), but it was so… refreshing. 🙂

          They are amazing people. I saw so much kindness in Japan and it’s a shame people here can’t see that. Thank you for commenting! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

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