Grandson of famed novelist Soseki calls manga 'world history'

October 25, 2012

By SATOSHI YAMAZAKI/ Staff Writer

TOTTORI--Manga does not belong to Japan alone, according to Fusanosuke Natsume, a manga critic and grandson of one of Japan's most famous authors.

About 100 eager audience members listened to his take on the essence and evolution of manga at a lecture Oct. 7 at the Tottori Prefectural Museum in the city's Higashimachi district.

The manga critic, a professor at Gakushuin University in Tokyo, is the grandson of Natsume Soseki (1867-1916), one of the foremost novelists of modern Japan. The lecture was held as part of the Manga Kingdom Tottori initiative launched by the prefectural government to promote Tottori through manga.

In his lecture, Natsume said the use of the word "manga" has changed over the years.

"Formerly, it referred to satirical comics for adults running in newspapers. But storytelling comics for children took over (the meaning of the word), as they formed a large market during the nation's high economic growth period (of the 1950s and 1960s)," Natsume explained.

The critic continued by introducing the origin of manga from the perspective of various techniques, including layouts, speech bubbles and effect lines, adding that Japanese manga has been influenced by its U.S. and European counterparts.

"There are voices that want to regard manga as Japan's traditional culture, but that would mean ignoring influences from overseas," Natsume argued.

"Manga and anime are global phenomena that have both provided and received influence as they developed. They cannot be understood by only following their history in Japan. I want to connect the history of Japan and the world to look at manga as part of the world history," the critic concluded.

By SATOSHI YAMAZAKI/ Staff Writer
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Fusanosuke Natsume shows images from the "Naruto" ninja manga series as he gives a lecture on manga in the Higashimachi district of Tottori. (Satoshi Yamazaki)

Fusanosuke Natsume shows images from the "Naruto" ninja manga series as he gives a lecture on manga in the Higashimachi district of Tottori. (Satoshi Yamazaki)

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  • Fusanosuke Natsume shows images from the "Naruto" ninja manga series as he gives a lecture on manga in the Higashimachi district of Tottori. (Satoshi Yamazaki)

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