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The Need for Protection: A Content
Analysis on 21st Century Japanese Manga featuring Themes of
Militarization

Acuna,
Gabilagon, Libre, Orbeso

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION (Initial Draft)

1.1  Background

Japan
had gained their prominence on how they portray the world using cartoons and
animations. One manifestation of this is through their Manga which has been a
widely known phenomenon not only in Japan. Manga is commonly used for
entertainment, not just for children but adolescents and adults as well.
Japanese manga contains a variety of topics, genres, and themes such as
violence, feminism and peasant uprising (Bestor, Bestor, & Yamagata, 2011).

The creation of manga stemmed from the
Japanese love of art. It can be traced back during the Chojyu-jinbutshu-giga (12th or 13th) century when
Japanese used to draw pictures on scrolls and read them from right to left (Fujiwara, 2010).
Later in the late 18th century, both influenced the creation of short novels
called Kibyoshi which marked the beginning of the modern manga. Meanwhile,
another author in the name of Sharon Kinsella claims that the history of manga
started after 1945, years after the Second World War had ended. This was the
time when the Japanese officials imposed strict regulations on the media and
entertainment. When Japan set itself to advancement towards militarism, in the
1930s, the production, and publication of manga was forced to end as they see
the way manga use paper as not essential and that they should set their focus
on the propaganda. Thus, printing of manga were temporarily discontinued
(Bestor, Bestor, & Yamagata, 2011). The only time that the Japanese
officials got interested in manga in this time period was during their war
against China. They used it as a nationalistic and militaristic propaganda. (Feuillassier,
2010).

Years after the Second World War, the role
of Japanese manga extended from an avenue of art to a tool of expression. While
some authors of manga tend to recall memories of the war, some had emphasized
problematic issues of injustices within the society perpetrated by the
government or by the US who occupied Japan for a few years after the war
(Rimmer, 2004). Ideas incorporated within different manga types range from
economic, social, and political issues to discontent of foreign occupation and
Japanese military exercises and also highlighting Japanese nationalism. As
Shimazu (2003) explained, there are Japanese manga that represent memories of
World War II that were usually established on the idea of Japan as the victims
and had the tendency of placing the burden of war responsibility on the former
militarist regime. Meanwhile, the youth in Japan also engaged in expressing
sentiments through manga where their stories revolve around issues concerning
political and social problems (Kinsella, 1998). Lastly, manga also was a medium
for patriotic values and was made for children to read (Feuillassier, 2010).The
manga of the war period contain a variety of themes. One of which is relevant
to the political agenda of the Japanese. One example is during the
Sino-Japanese war. During this time, the publication of manga was halted by the
Japanese officials. The only time that the Japanese officials got interested in
manga during this time period was when they used it as a nationalistic and
militaristic propaganda (Feuillassier,
2010).

One of the occurring theme during the
1960s is individualism or in Japanese
terms “kojinshugi”. This theme has
been used by the Japanese youth and the university students of that time to
express their sentiments when they began to rebel against the existing
political, social, and cultural arrangements. The Japanese youth began to rebel
through political movements and manga became their medium of instrument. This
made manga a gigantic expansion of manga during that time (Kinsella, 1998).

There
is also a shift on their society’s view on militarism. After the defeat of the Japanese in the Second World War, militarism
came to an end. The Allied Powers set the goal to demilitarize Japan. Thus,
resulting to the disbandment of the Japanese military. During the
aftermath of war, majority of the Japanese did not want to associate themselves
with the militarist regime and refused to be apologetic for they identified
themselves as victims of militarists. In the following years, still refusing to
be remembered as aggressors, Japan adopted a pacifist image and seemingly
related itself to Korean and Chinese victims of the militarist regime (Shimazu,
2003).

 

1.2  Statement of the Problem

            This
study aims to identify and analyze themes of militarization in Japanese manga
created and produced in the 21st century and discover whether these representations
in manga can be related to the Japanese opinion on the issue of
re-militarization that is being pushed by the current administration in Japan.
Specifically, this study aims to address the following questions:

1.     
How is militarization reflected in 21st
century Japanese manga?

2.     
How does militarization as depicted in
manga coincide with the Japanese opinion on the issue of re-militarization?

3.     
In what ways is the depiction of
militarization in manga reflective of the Japan’s history as a military power?

 

1.3
Methodology

This
study utilizes content analysis in identifying and understanding themes of
militarization in Japanese manga and in relating it to Japanese opinion. As
content analysis is both quantitative and qualitative, the qualitative approach
is used to better describe and analyze the content studied. In content
analysis, enormous amounts of material are analyzed to identify related
categories and themes, whether these themes and categories are explicitly
stated in the materials or inferred by the researchers. The purpose of content
analysis is “to
provide knowledge and understanding of the phenomenon under study” (Downe-Wamboldt,
1992, p. 314).

The
manga that analyzed in this study are limited to those published in the 21st
century, from the years 2000-2016, as these manga are created and produced by a
newer generation of artists. Furthermore, the manga studied are selected based
on the prominence of the themes of militarization in their content, and the
study focuses on militarization in manga in relation to the opinion of the
Japanese on militarization during the current century.

 

 

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