Dreamland Japan: Writings on Modern Manga

Frederik L. Schodt, Author Stone Bridge Press $19.95 (360p) ISBN 978-1-880656-23-5
As Schodt points out, in the 13 years between publication of his 1983 Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics, and this volume, American consciousness of manga, Japanese comics, and its animation offshoot, anime, has grown considerably. The collective American eyebrow may still rise quizzically at the enormous popularity of comic books in Japan, where they are accorded nearly the same social status as novels and film, but the narrative strips, with their characteristic big-eyed characters, are increasingly popular in this country. The informally encyclopedic Dreamland Japan--the result of Schodt's 16-plus years of studying manga--not only makes it easier to understand the art form but also says a good deal about Japanese culture (even the Aum Shinrikyo cult used manga to attract young followers). Derived in part from articles in Mangajin and Animerica, this is an authoritative reference of the different categories of manga, popular titles and publishers. Schodt also features more than 22 artists, many of whom he interviewed, including Hinako Sugiura, King Terry (Teruhiko Yumura), Shingo Iguchi (the creator of Z-Chan), and Fujiko F. Fujio (creator of the Doraemon, a series with 44 volumes which have sold an estimated 100 million copies). A full chapter is devoted to the father of them all, cartoonist Osamu Tezuka, whose death in 1989 ""sent shock waves through nearly everyone under fifty in Japan."" Manga fans may be disappointed because the book is not obsessively detailed, but even they might find helpful the ""Appendix of Manga in English,"" which lists publishers and Internet news groups that focus on manga and anime. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/29/1998
Release date: 07/01/1998
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