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‘Groundbreaking’ new book on manga released by City academic

Global Manga has been compiled by Dr Casey Brienza

by Ed Grover (Senior Communications Officer)

Global mangaDr Casey Brienza has edited a new book on the production of Japanese-influenced comics around world.

Global Manga explores the spread of the manga genre from its origins in Japan and compares the wide variety of interpretations now available to readers.

The book, published by Ashgate, has been described as “groundbreaking” in recognition of its scope and research.

Across the world, the term manga usually refers to comics originally published in Japan. Today, however, many publications with the label are being created far from its shores. 

Dr Brienza – a Lecturer in publishing and digital media in City’s Department of Culture and Creative Industries – explained that texts produced outside Japan have been largely ignored by scholars and often dismissed as inauthentic.

“The planning for the Global Manga essay collection began shortly after I joined City University London, building upon some of the findings of arising out of my PhD thesis research,” said Dr Brienza.

“It had become clear during my fieldwork that a category of comics being called 'manga,' but which had nothing economically or materially to do with Japan, were becoming more prominent in many countries around the world.

“But perhaps because these artistic works, which for the purposes of the book I have termed 'global manga', are often dismissed as 'derivative' or 'fake', scholars have not given much attention to this emerging global cultural phenomenon.

“As a sociologist, therefore, I wanted to take seriously the political economy and cultural production of global manga and explore the conditions under which it arises and flourishes.”

Among the core topics explored in the new book are: what counts as manga and who gets to decide; the implications of global manga for contemporary economies of cultural and creative labour; the ways in which it is shaped by or mixes with local cultural forms and contexts; what is at stake for ‘authentic’ manga; and what it means for manga to be considered authentically Japanese.

Dr Brienza added: “The collection prioritizes the work of emerging and international voices at the cutting edge of this nascent field, both in terms of research and professional practice. I am particularly pleased with its international scope – contributors hail from Australia, Brazil, Korea, the Netherlands, North America, the Philippines and the UK.”

The academic’s research interests include: media sociology; political economy of the culture industries; transnational cultural production and consumption; manga, comics and graphic novel publishing; digital and social media; and open access, intellectual property and copyright.

Among the experts to praise Global Manga was Jaqueline Berndt, Kyoto Seika University, Japan.

She said: “With respect to manga research, this volume appears groundbreaking in several regards. First of all, the suggestion to look beyond ‘Japan’ challenges the alleged monopoly of Japanese studies in the matter in general and, in particular, the inclination of subsuming manga-esque graphic narratives under ‘Japanese popular culture’ wholesale.

“Second, by engaging industry insiders and academia-based critics in an implicit dialogue on its pages, this volume indicates a timely direction for media studies. The inclusion of Southeast Asian and South American perspectives also deserves credit.”

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