When walking into a library in America, one can look through the comics section and find American comics as well as a very wide range of manga. Manga and anime have had a great influence on American culture and the media that we produce. American comics have also had a influence on Japanese comics and culture. I argue that Japanese manga has developed a large fan base within the United States and has influence many different authors to write Japanese style content. American comics have had an influence on how Japan creates comics but to a lesser extent.
Firstly, the popularity of manga and anime in America is arguably larger than American comics are in Japan. The rise of popularity began during the 1960s with the importing of the manga Astro Boy. By 2007, the anime market in the U.S. increased to a value of $4.35 billion. It rose in 2010 at 400 million (Wood). Looking at the appeal of manga, this can be because of the comics books produced in America were mostly toward men. Manga is geared towards men and women because it has multiple genres. For instance, there can be manga about love relationships, supernatural adventures, actions adventures and many more. People can find many different genres within manga that appeal to many people. American comics can have many genres like superhero, slice of life or political commentary but not to the extent of Japanese manga. Japanese manga has also developed a large fan base within America. The opinions of manga in America were stereotypical at the start of manga in America. A study for people born in the 80s and 90s showed that when students were asked about manga and anime, they believed that it was associated with child pornography and violent content. A study then asked people of recent times what they thought of manga and the same stereotypes weren’t present. They believed that manga and anime were artistic (Chambers). Now, the fan base of manga and anime has increased. American fans have found a certain community within the people that enjoy manga and anime within their country. The manga and anime fan culture show that fans develop an identity and feel accepted within the group. The popularity lends itself to the digital community that enables fans to strengthen ties with people all around the world that enjoy the same thing (Davis). The popularity of the content and the strength of the fandom has also inspired things such as conventions based on Japanese culture and a large cosplaying community of people created costumes of their favorite characters. The large fan base in America is a big example of how influential Japanese manga and anime is in America. It also influences the media of America and the content created in the county.
Many writers and producers will base their content on Japanese ideals and values. An example of this would be the shows Avatar: the Last Airbender and the Legend of Korra. These are both shows on Nickelodeon but they also have comics. The shows focus on marital arts style that are popular in Asian countries, weaponry as well as religious beliefs and values that are popular in Japan. Another influence on America would be the debate surrounding manga being taught in American schools. Adam Schwartz discusses the idea that manga is multimodal to readers and can be greatly influential in the literacy of youths. Manga has words as well as graphics and this can be important for youths that learn best visually. The then explains that since manga has a multi modal literacy, people are more drawn to it as content. We can find Japanese influence within American culture but we can’t find the same popularity for American comics on Japanese culture.
First of all, the influence that can be found would be from the American superheroes in Japanese culture. Ludovic Graillat talks about American superheroes in Japanese culture and he states that Japan has been progressively producing more content focusing on superhero storylines since they have been gaining popularity in America. He says that America has been becoming more Japanese in media as well as Japanese becoming more American. Japanese people produce more superhero genre stories to have manga be more popular and have the sales increase. This similar economic style can be found in Manga: The Hidden Treasure by The Artiface. The author discusses the concept of “soft power” This concept is the idea that Japan exports authentically Japanese content but imports content from other countries. Japan is able to slightly change their content to be popular in America and contain western things while still having Japanese values and ideals. For instance, manga artists will created characters that appear to look more western to appeal to western audiences, but when it comes down to values present, they will still have marriage values or religious content specific to Japan.
Overall, Japanese manga and anime has been shown to be more popular in America with the large fan base that creates events and buy lots of merchandise centered on shows and books. This can be explained by the fact that manga and anime are multimodal and have many genres to choose from. It also allows for learning about a different culture. American comics influence Japanese culture to a lesser extent. Japan may use the genre of superheroes from America but they don’t have the same fan base present for American comics. There aren’t large groups of Japanese fans that buy merchandise and go to conventions of American comics in Japan. There also isn’t change in content of Japan because of America. In America, we can see American content that has heavy influence from Japan whereas Japan may pick and choose what American elements they want to keep and they still have heavy Japanese values and ideals within their content. American comics also aren’t as popular in Japan because they don’t have a very large variety in genre and just don’t have the same influence on Japanese culture overall. Therefore, Japanese manga and anime is more influential on American culture than American comics are on Japanese culture.
Chambers, Samantha. “Anime: From Cult Following to Pop Culture Phenomenon.” The Elon Journal of Undergraduate Research in Communications 3.2 n. pag. Web. Christian Davis, Jesse. “Japanese Animation in America and Its Fans.” Oregon State University (2008): n. pag. Web. Graillat, Ludovic. “America vs. Japan: The Influence of American Comics on Manga.” Refractory: A Journal of Entertainment Media n. pag. Web. Schwartz, Adam, and Eliane Rubinstein-Avila. “Understanding the Manga Hype: Uncovering Multimodality of Comic-Book Literacies.” International Reading Association 50.1 (2006): 40–49. Web. The Artiface. “Manga: The Hidden Treasure in America.” n. pag. Web. Wood, Jennie. “Manga and Anime: The Japanese Invasion”. Web.