Thursday, June 18, 2009

Japanese aesthetics in Adbusters

In my capacity of contributing editor/writer for Adbusters, I write occasionals from Japan--including these recent riffs on Japan's 'small footprint' mentality, which dates back centuries.


Milo said...

Thanks, really interesting article!

One of the reasons I love manga so much is because of its "beautiful simplicity". When compared to Western comic books, manga can naturally be read much faster, without being any less of an emotional experience. In fact, that faster reading speed is often used by mangaka to make it even more exciting and dynamic than other sequential art. I'd love to see a study comparing the page-per-minute reading speed of western comic book fans and Japanese manga fans.

At the same time, I'm an enormous fan of the almost photo-realistic style employed by mangaka like Ryoichi Ikegami. I wonder how his style is viewed in the Japanese collective consciousness: is he considered to be co-opting non-Japanese habits, is his work enjoyed precisely for being an exception to the general rule, or is he something of an outsider himself, a somewhat exotic and acquired taste?

Roland Kelts said...

Thanks for your kind words about the Adbusters articles--and I concur: the kinetic, often minimalistic nature of manga graphics makes reading them a speedy, often intense experience. For Japanamerica, I interviewed a 14-year old boy in Los Angeles who swore he could read a volume of manga in about 15 to 20 minutes.

I don't think Ikegami is seen as an outsider, necessarily. You have to remember that the very foundations of modern manga involved an energetic and free-wheeling "co-opting" or borrowing from non-Japanese sources and aesthetics, from Tezuka onward. And the range of approaches and styles remains vast today, from innovative artists like Urasawa Naoki, Inoue Takehiko, Matsumoto Taiyo, the women of CLAMP and so on.

Incidentally, nother article I wrote on Japan is now out in the latest issue of Adbusters.