Is Manga Dangerous?
In this article I am trying to convey the following message: Manga come in many formats and themes including a large and widely read category including extreme violence, sex and innumerable sexual perversions and, the format of Manga, its broad readership and its connectivity with our mind and the way we learn make Manga a pervasive and on some level dangerous form of media amounting to nothing less than brain washing.
For the uninitiated first I shall ask, “What is Manga?”
Manga (kanji: 漫画; hiragana: まんが; katakana: マンガ; Manga.ogg listen (help·info)) (English: /ˈmɑːŋɡə/) consist of comics and print cartoons (sometimes also called komikku コミック), in the Japanese language and conforming to the style developed in Japan in the late 20th century.
Ok, thats great but allow me to make this more cut and dry. Manga are Japanese COMIC BOOKS. Yeah, thats it. Comics. Despite all the hoopla that often surround “Manga”, particularly by Foreigners who have fallen in love with them, they are just comic books. There are many types of Manga including manga for children, preteens, teens, late teens, young adults, older adults, men and women etc. Stories and characters are as broad and wide reaching as one could imagine. In fact alot of what you might find in Manga you could not imagine. It is often that bizarre. I am not going to spend 5 hours recreating what someone on Wikipedia has already done, and done well, so I recommend that if you need a more in-depth, and fairly neutral yet detailed examination of Manga, its history and its types you go and check it out there. Just search “Manga”.
Manga is everywhere
Although figures vary, Manga on the whole, including books and magazines, make up about 26% percent of the overall books and magazines PUBLISHED in Japan. However, if one looks at books that are actually purchased by consumers the figure rises to 42%. This means that 42% of the literature being purchased by the Japanese, nearly HALF of it, is Comic books. Manga can be found at convenience stores, book stores (by the floor) and even libraries. In addition I can say with no doubt at all that at least one manga can be found in nearly every school students bag or backpack and in many a “grown ups” brief case or hand bag. I was a bit surprised 6 years ago when I wandered into a library in an elementary school and found shelves, rows upon rows of Manga. These contained a variety of historical type books including biographies about likes of people such as Mozart, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. etc and so forth. I also encountered Manga designed to raise social awareness or teach life lessons. During free time, if one made a visit to the library and I did several times, 90% of the students you would find inside would be reading Manga, and not the copies regarding social awareness or ethics. The books went largely untouched. Except for the Sex education Manga which I found had become quite popular…amoungst 4th grades.
Manga is a Powerful Learning Medium
It might be more appropriate to say that Manga is a deceptively powerful learning medium. At a glance, literally or intellectually, one thinks “Comic book; disregard” but this is a mistake and possibly a grave one that the government, advertising and publishing has NOT made. They are aware of the power that Manga have to program, infect, clutter and ultimately numb the mind.
Learning is an interesting and complex process. For some, education is a punishment and for others a reward. One thing that is universally true for 99% of the developed worlds populations however is that in highschool and later university we cram our brains full of FACTS. FACTS FACTS FACTS. What we and the education system engage in, is less about EDUCATION and much more about TEACHING. We are taught Largely…Useless….Facts.
So when free time comes and our minds can finally relax what happens? Our minds OPEN. Our breathing relaxes and our brain waves shift and our minds become wide open portals for information to flow into. This is why at 31years old, although I can barely remember my multiplication tables, I can still remember the code for “Contra”, Entire Chapters of dialogue and narrative word for word from “The Hobbit” and I have a photographic copy of nearly the entire “M.E.R.P.” Game masters book in my head. If you don’t know what Im talking about, don’t fear….it’s probably better that why. The point is once we relax not only do our conscious minds open and take in information more smoothly but our super powerful SUBCONSCIOUS minds begin to soak things up like the proverbial Sponge. It’s fascinating how powerful our minds are. In my case every subject I ever cared about or was interested in I remember a wealth of information about regardless of the fact that my actual study habits did not change at all: They always were non-existent. Hence I could fail my second attempt at Algebra 2 in my senior year and get the pleasure of enjoying a resort like 3 months of summer vacation in school with all the other degenerates from my county yet my 8th grade English lit class I simply CANNOT remove it from my memory, so interesting was the teacher and his material. Im not even a math dunce. I coasted through Geometry with high A’s. It all had to do with relaxation and interest.
Here we come back to Manga. It is being digested during periods of relaxation. The people reading it are interested in it, this is why they purchased it or stole it (oh yeah, it happens even in Japan).
In addition to this relaxed and receptive mental state you also have to recognize the intense combinations of graphic pictures, words, and how these are utilized in the Manga – incorporation with the readers hands. Manga are not unlike a puzzle, just as western comics are. Sometimes the reading is not linear and one has to be able to focus and recognize the pattern of the story line, frames and boxes in order to grasp the plot and move forward. This pattern recognition system comes from something called Spatial intelligence and is a function of the “right Brain” or the subconscious. So while yes, the left brain is being activated while reading it has been shown that the RIGHT hemisphere of the brain is much more active when “reading” hanzi/kanji style written formats. Afterall, these are just antiquated pictographs. So not only are the pictures, the pattern recognition from frames and the writing system itself all accessing the subconscious but the hands are being used to scan or handle the book itself. This incorporates another sense into the experience making the learning “Feed back loop” more broad hence increasing retention consciously and ever widening the subconscious gates for deep penetration of the material.
Why is the subconscious such a factor?
Our conscious minds have alot of barriers and blocks and rules and limits already installed. By the time we are 6 or 7 we have been powerfully programmed to behave and act a certain way. By the time we reach our teen years our brain washing has been extensive and by the time we get to our company it is complete. The subconscious mind has no barriers. It accepts and assimilates EVERYTHING at some level or another. Much of this information is lost in the massive murky infinity of our subconscious, however it is still there. The more total the feed back loop and the more senses and parts of the brain involved in the assimilation, this in conjunction with the frequency with which we ingest such material, can make the recurrence or resurfacing of such information or experiences much more likely.
Simply put, if you have two dogs in your subconscious mind, one black and one white, which one will be bigger and stronger?
The one you feed more.
This brings us to the danger of Manga…
Sex and Violence
Tomes upon Tomes of Ghandi and Mother Teresa Manga, this is not.
It is not unlike the Exploited song Sex and Violence.
A very large part of the Manga publishing business is devoted to books that specialize in gruesome violence and obscene sexual acts. In fact these are quiet popular and even sell at a more expensive price than some other benign Comics in Japan simply because THEY CAN. People are still going to read them.
The following are a list of standard themes:
decapitation, Hacking people up, Rape, Teen Rape, Lesbian Rape, BDSM, Sado Masochism, Bullying, Suicide, Various Tortures, Imprisonment then more Rape, Pedophilia, Bestiality, Various forms of Amputations, Sex with Amputees, Rape by aliens, Rape by Demons, Rape by unidentified tentacles, Murdering ones parents, Murdering classmates and teachers, Rape and murder of senior citizens etc.
The categories are endless and pervasive. It is not strange at all to be on an evening train going home and to see the Salary man standing next to me reading a large Manga Magazine thats pages are depicting some absurdly large breasted women being gang banged in a space shuttle by a team of Ninjas or a highschool girl with E cup super breasts tied to a chair being choked by the Massive erect penis of some Black character complete with Afro or Corn rows, wearing an NBA uniform.
On a more personal note I was at a standard Japanese home in Shizuoka spending time there about a year ago. I remember waking up early and coming downstairs to have coffee before the gracious family taking care of me woke up. On the kitchen table was a Manga book and while I had my coffee I opened it up. I was appalled by its contents. It was about a Male nurse who comes to work for a female TV star who had recently been in a horrific car crash and her legs and arms had been amputated. All that remained was her gorgeous (very western looking) face, massive bust and hot looking back side. So this Male nurse finally loses his mind and in the comic book repeatedly states to himself and to her how he simply cannot control himself as he rapes her over and over. He utilizes various nursing equipment to abuse and torture her and then SM equipment to silence her and this goes on according to the story for sometime, weeks. Over time, the women begins to accept her fate, even thinking she deserves it and then falls in love with her attacker deciding that only he can truly love her. This is also pretty common, not only in Manga but also in Japanese Pornography.
The art was extremely graphic. I skipped breakfast that morning.
I inquired as to whose manga this was once everyone was up and to my shock and horror it was the 15 year old sons. Tall and smart, and a tennis star at school to boot who HAD a girlfriend, it was a surprise to me. I tried without being rude to ask if his parents had EVER looked at this book as it was just sitting on the kitchen table he had not tried to hide it, and the reply was “No I have my own Manga I like to read.”
In the End
Manga has a very wide audience and it is essentially unregulated. It has been pawned off as “Contemporary Japanese Culture” and those last two words “Japanese Culture” basically make it Bullet proof. Try and bring up the lunacy and filth being pursued by the industry and you get blasted with the culture taser. What nonsense. Guns in every household and a wild west mentality are American Culture but does that make those things good? No.
Manga works the same way. It needs to be regulated.
The format of Manga makes it a hyper potent way to transmit information to a group of people, those buying Manga and pouring over it week after week, that are very open to suggestion. The Youth and the Middle class worker largely disenchanted with their day-to-day life. These people are very open to programming and the adoption of new ideas whether they are good or bad. For this reason alone the content in Manga needs to be controled and regulated. Im not proposing to eliminate sex from Manga. But is it necessary to protray the Gang Rape of a 13 year old? Even if it does not push a young man toward suicide or rape it will likely, as can been seen all over Tokyo and Japan, nurture a state of Nihilism that is already in existence and needs no re-enforcing. In fact, it needs deconstruction.
The artists and publishers who produce this should take responsibility and the parents of the youth should show some sort of interest in what their children are spending their free time with. Manga is in fact, Dangerous.
Interesting article. I don’t see how something like that could NOT be dangerous. I am all for freedom of speech, but there should be some standards of decency in media, ESPECIALLY in cases where the material is available to teens (and pre-teens).
Is there any kind of rating system in place for Manga? Something like the PG-13 rating that we have for movies in the U.S.?
Oh, and by the way, “up-up-down-down-left-right-left-right-b-a-b-a-start.”
There is some sort of rating system but it doesnt matter. Basically a teenager can get his hands on whatever he or she wants. It isnt that this stuff exists that bothers me because the worlds a strange place; I really know better than most. The thing is how wide spread it is here. Thats the concern.
haha…I considered putting it in the article but I held back, thanks for helping out anyone who is still in the dark.
Thanks for posting this informative article.
bible black nuff said
pc game,cartoon or manga doesn’t matter
I don’t get it.
In the 90’s it was very popular in all three forms.It is a great example of your article. Queens blade is a series designed to teach japanese youth that involves mixing rape and violence with teaching somehow. Queens blade seems farely popular these days.
Back to my point. Bible Black. if you don’t get it research it for about five minutes.The anime went far, yet stayed within my safe zone. So I got the PC game (farely cheap these days). Well at first it was interesting in its mystery, then came the perversion and I was like okay so far and finaly the bat$#!+ crazy and I screamed and fell outta my chair.
Yeah the right story choices and the S&M goes places that ……. Bible Black.
The frikin PC game has raped me and not in a good way (thank god not in a yuri way. yuri well guys like lesbian stuff so Japanese is just being realistic and giving women their own version). So much like a molested child I feel the need to put someone else through this PC game.
Unfortunately I have tricked all my friends into watching Visitor Q, so none of them will fall for it. Visitor Q has a lot of greek ceremonial symbolism (is that redundent?) if your into signs and symbols, but for everyone else its Japan’s wtf-ness meets their most wtf popular director Takashi Miike in a live action audience rape. Well I have gotten off of topic again.
Not enough absinthe in my diet lately. Bible Black even has stress relief in a can products. Not the fancy high end tenga stuff either. Low tech hey its a pop can, no wait whats that picture on the side and inside WTF! Yeah cute little chibi anime style girls on the side and an imitation female organ inside. About $7-13 dollars. So start looking around the rooms with manga in them for little popcan shaped things with anime pictures on the sides, just don’t touch.
The same thing happens with yaoi. It turn out to be creppy, kiddie porn portraying all kinds of horrible incestuous relationships. I usually try to remain open minded but that was plain creppy and offensive which is why I totally agree with your point.
Too much IS too much.
This is an OLD post. Amazing that people still find it and take the time to comment. Thanks though.
OLD doesn’t mean it should die or be forgotten. There is something special in tradition and classics. Revisting the past can be something special at times. The night felt familiar. The air and sky too. A quiet stillness to it all. I had to go smoke some rum dipped pipe tobacco. Being out in the country brought back the feel of many camping trips. Standing on the cold cement drive brought back memories of late night chats with Henry while he smoked. I was in some sort of different state. I had become part of the surroundings. So much so that I put a fright into a random wandering cat. I may be going through a lot of crap (house hunt failing bad, second attempt to get a vehicle fell flat on its face, and still not able to straighten out the mess with my college finances so am a week behind and no hope in site of gaining admittance to this fall term), but I revisted past relaxing OLD times and for a minute was not part of the here and now. Finished my tobacco and came inside to do a double shot of menthol mint schnapps. The thick syrup gagged me then ripped my sinuses wide open, forcing me into the here and now with a vigorous punch to the stomach. I hit the computer and see a comment with old in caps as if it is something that should be brushed under a rug. It never hurts to take a moment and look at where you have been Gaijin. I repsect your old posts.
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Firstly, your comparison of a popular manga such as One Piece to some obscure h-manga that I can only assume you made up is similar to comparing a high budget Hollywood movie to some homemade Russian snuff. But for the sake of my laziness, I’ll ignore all of your shitty fallacies and even use some myself(Ad hominem mostly).
“A very large part of the Manga publishing business is devoted to books that specialize in gruesome violence and obscene sexual acts.”
According to some 2011 data; Not even 8% of manga sales in Japan are pornographic in nature. And of that ~8% around 4% are of ‘extreme’ nature. And to that note, h-manga including things such as:
“decapitation, Hacking people up, Suicide, Various Tortures, Various forms of Amputations, Sex with Amputees, Murdering ones parents, Murdering classmates and teachers, Rape and murder of senior citizens etc.”
Make up around 6% of that 4%.
Actually… why the hell am I even bothering with such an extreme bigot. Please feel free to continue with your MURRIKA SUPREME JAPAN ALL CHILD RAPERS mind-set.
There is a reason that they put the manga in paper bags. There is areason you buy it secretively and dont make eye contact with customers when selling it. There is a reason children rush it home and adults take the long way tossing it after reading to the side of the road. Unpopular roads are strewn with it. If you don’t believe me about the roadside thing TheJapanChannelDcom on youtube has a video about that. You need to start picking up other peoples manga and looking at it. oh and I recomend the movie GOZU it is the greatest movie ever made.
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I must say that your post on this topic is very interesting and enlightening to those unfamiliar. I agree that manga needs to be regulated. I read it quite often (thanks to people putting it online and translating it) and I’m always seeing disturbing releases on Manga Updates–a site where people post the manga they translate. I’ve been curious at times and had to see what the content was and I was shocked to see such things like a child, maybe 7 yrs old, being double penetrated by to two adult men. And there are loads of them, as you’ve stated in your post. Probably 3/4 of them are incest related. It’s as close to child porn as you can get w/out breaking the law. Personally, I think those translators and those who publish and draw such vile comics should be jailed. Some things just go to far. I feel guilty for just for taking a peek every now and then. Just to clarify, I’m not into that kind of manga. Sure, there’s freedom of speech and expression, but pedophilia should be an exception and illegal. That’s my scrambled opinion.
You mentioned h-rated mangas, but not even r-rated mangas can be dangerous, too. In Japanese mangas, the main characters are usually westernized face big eye cartoons, which only accelerate the desire to look more like what you really aren’t in Asia. This resulted in massive plastic surgery in Asia – in China, Korea, and Japan. Mangas are not a cult culture or a subculture, it’s a very popular culture in Asia, it’s pretty mainstream. You read those mangas and then you see you in the mirror and in the picture, and you can’t possibly deal with the huge gap between the manga characters and you. What do you do next? You go to plastic surgeons.
It doesn’t end there. Japanese mangas usually have some kind of moral “lessons” in them. You begin to recognize the world in a very black and white way from a very young age. And in almost all of these mangas, there are some kind of genius or very rich people. There are no commoners. But those “chosen” ones are very few in the world, if there’s any. These types of mangas only make people a big time liar. To make you fit in to that ideal type of that particular manaka. If you can’t make your face transform like plastic surgery, what would you do? This is a recipe for disaster. Not to mention, all these successful winners in mangas are main characters who are also charming, adorable, lovable, the all the good traits a human can possibly possess, who are also very good looking so very popular. I stopped reading mangas after I became so sick of these stereotypes.
And in mangas, not even in r-rated mangas, there are always some kind of sex in it. And it’s always very voyeuristic and it’s mostly about the main character enjoys oneself from watching good looking people and imagining. It’s not only very anti-social but also very narcissistic. And the endless monologue the main character makes when s/he thinks about his/her crush. It’s too sentimental and I can’t even.
Yeah, it’s comfortable to live in a comfort, safe space but it’s sickening and it’s cloy. I decided to be out and I can’t be happier.