Showing posts with label Japan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Japan. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

PSA: Help support Asian comics at Michigan State University's Comic Art Collection

Asian Comics Cataloging at Michigan State University

"I always recommend the MSU Comic Art Collection to fellow comic researchers since it is the world's most comprehensive and internationally oriented collection in the field." Matthias Harbeck, doctoral candidate, Carl von Ossietzky Universität, Oldenburg, Germany
Help make our Asian comics accessible!

Comics are truly a global phenomenon, and an important goal of our Comic Art Collection is to document how cultures around the world have adopted and transformed the medium.

That's why our collection ranges from Golden Age adventure strips to South American fotonovelas, and from Japanese manga to a nearly complete run of THE 99 – the world's first comic series with Muslim superheroes.

However, it's not enough to acquire these diverse materials. It's essential to catalog them as well, so users near and far can determine what we have available.

Thanks to recent gifts, we have far more Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese comics waiting to be cataloged than we can handle – even with the broad range of language skills among the cataloging team!

Fortunately, help is available. We can send the work to an outside contractor, Backstage, which performs research-level cataloging in some 70 different languages. Backstage can complete about 150 of the most needed items for $5000 – and we have already have a generous gift of $1000 to start us off.

The Comic Art Collection is heavily used by MSU students and faculty working in the fields of history, literature, and cultural studies. Help us support their research by putting more Asian comics on the shelf!

Monday, July 28, 2014

A Mother-Daughter anime pilgrimage to Japan

A special guest post by Arlington's Karla Hagan.

Japan.  Where else would an anime- and manga-loving fifteen-year old choose?

Erin chose Japan to visit, out of anywhere in the world, for her special fifteen-year old Mom-daughter trip.  That’s how we came to visit in late June and early July. Japan is a paradise for lovers of the graphic and comic arts. We went into a drug store and Erin recognized a manga character on a package of razors. Snoopy and Betty Boop were commonly-found American comics characters (Tokyo Skytree Snoopy, anyone?). Every town, village, or attraction we visited had its own cartoon mascot (known as a yuru-kyara). Even the remote village of Koya-san, a UNESCO World Heritage site founded in 805 A.D. as the center of Shingon Buddhism that took us a bullet train, two separate rail lines, and a cable car to reach, had a yuru-kyara (it looks like a Buddhist mushroom). There are yuru-kyara for causes like recycling. At least one Japanese prison has them. (In 2013 a Guinness World Record was set for the most number of people dressed as yuru-kyara dancing together.  Because apparently that’s a Guinness World Record category.)

We had great experience traveling in Japan, and we saw three things in particular that may interest readers of this blog: The Kyoto International Manga Museum, the Studio Ghibli Museum outside Tokyo, and the Moomin House Café in Tokyo.

The Kyoto International Manga Museum  [photo 1 – Erin outside Manga Museum]

The Kyoto International Manga Museum is set up as part traditional museum with informative displays, and part reading and research library. They have lectures, workshops, and classes. The building, while not large by Washington, DC museum standards, is an old schoolhouse and is interesting in its own right. There is a café and a small museum shop.

Their collection entails nearly 300,000 items related to manga, according to the museum. To Erin and me, the more impressive part of the museum was the reading library aspect.  They have about 200 meters (about 650 feet) worth of shelving holding nearly 50,000 manga volumes. This photo of Erin browsing the books shows how the manga is accessible and available to grab from the shelves.  [photo 2 – Erin browsing Manga Museum shelves]  I’m not sure how you get to the higher levels in this picture – I didn’t see a ladder – but they were not behind glass. There were manga volumes available to read on all three floors of the museum. They had manga from around the world - also available to pull from the shelves to read - but ComicsDC editor Mike was not impressed with their North American selection [photo 3 – Manga from Around the World].

They have very affordable annual passes for kids that allow unlimited visits - about US$12 for elementary aged children and US$36 for middle and high school aged children (US$60 for you adults). I had read online before visiting that lots of school children go there to hang out after school and read manga. They have a children’s reading room that is comfortable and nice.  We were there at a time that was most likely during their school day (when isn’t it during the school day for a Japanese student, with their cram schools and such?) and there were only a few kids. There were mostly Japanese adults there, men and women. Seniors even. Manga in Japan is truly for everyone.

One neat thing you can do at the museum is get a manga portrait of yourself done. Erin and I sat down together for a portrait and I’m so glad we did. It’s one of my favorite souvenirs from the whole trip. [photo 4 – Anime Karla and Anime Erin] The artist was Nakahara Kasumi. The lettering at the top in purple and blue is our names spelled out in Japanese phonetically. It’s funny to me that she drew Erin flashing the peace sign. Erin did not pose that way. Instead it was a flourish Kasumi added -- and I know exactly why. It’s because whenever you see Japanese school children – and we saw this all over in Japan – taking a photo of each other at a shrine, a temple, in the city, anywhere, they always, and I mean ALWAYS, pose flashing a peace sign. Boys, girls, teens, kindergartners. Every kid, every time in photos. It was cute that she drew Erin that way too.

Studio Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, outside Tokyo

Studio Ghibli is familiar to any fan of Hayao Miyazaki’s animated films. The Studio Ghibli Museum is an amazing place. It is lovely and understated and touching and beautiful, just like the movies. It just might be the sweetest place on Earth. It is a place for children, like a less commercial, less saccharine Disney World. There were lots of small doors and low windows and displays. But it is also a place that adults who like Ghibli movies will appreciate as well.

Unfortunately there were no photos allowed inside the museum, so these photos are all outside. There were so many details to discover, like the soot sprite window in the Totoro ticket booth that greets you at the entrance [photo 5 – Karla at Totoro ticket booth], all the beautiful stained glass windows with Ghibli characters and scenes, the Jiji-shaped (the cat from Kiki’s Delivery Service) faucet handle on a sink outside, the art nouveau/steampunk water fountain and bench. Mayazaki’s movies so effectively use scene to create a mood, and so does the Ghibli Museum. The style of the museum is an odd-sounding English country/steampunk/art nouveau mix that somehow melds together in an evocative and beautiful way.

Inside the museum were displays about animation and the creative process for the Ghibli team. There was a FULL-SIZED plush catbus that kids could play on (but only young kids- don’t for a second think we weren’t jealous!). I sure do wish I could have gotten a picture of that! We saw a short film that is only shown at the Ghibli Museum called Mei and the Kittenbus, based on the My Neighbor Totoro characters. The film was about Mei, a baby catbus, and Totoro, and it was sweet and touching and fun. I’m going to tell you a secret we learned in the movie, and it is the most wonderful thing: there are more catbuses besides the My Neighbor Totoro one! In the movie not only was there was a kittenbus, but there was also a bullet train catbus and a steam ship catbus! (Or should that be catbullettrain and catsteamship? At any rate, it was FANTASTIC!)


The Ghibli Museum restaurant is a real treat in and of itself [photo 6 – Totoro at The Straw Hat Café]. We waited for about 45 minutes to get in, but once we did it was all worth it. The style inside the restaurant, called The Straw Hat Café, is particularly English country. The food was served on adorable dishware with Ghibli characters and embellished with Ghibli flags [photo 7 and photo 8 – The Straw Hat Café food]. If you go and want to take home the cute flags, save them from your food because they sell them at the restaurant for $6 for a set of four! On the patio outside the restaurant, they sell beer that is only available at the Ghibli Museum [photo 9- Ghibli beer] – which, unfortunately for my husband, I couldn’t take home unopened.

If you are in Japan and at all a fan of Studio Ghibli films or of design, I highly recommend the Studio Ghibli Museum. One note, though: you cannot walk up and buy your tickets at the museum. You must purchase them in advance. I was heartbroken to tell a Swedish family we met in another part of Japan who were headed next to Tokyo and who had an interest in visiting the museum that I had purchased the tickets two months before our trip. Locals can buy tickets in stores like Lawson’s, but if you are planning to travel there you should definitely buy them before your trip. In the US you can buy tickets through the travel agency JTP USA. While getting tickets does take some advance planning, ticket are not expensive compared to American theme park experiences (I’m looking at you, Disney!): US$19 for adults and cheaper for younger ages. Also be aware that the films change; they have a rotating array of short films shown only at the Ghibli Museum, and it’s not always Mei and the Kittenbus that is showing.


One Studio Ghibli footnote from our trip that shows what Ghibli films can mean for the Japanese: we had a wonderful visit to a hot springs bath village called Shibu Onsen in the “Japanese Alps” in Nagano. The village was very old with all wooden buildings. It had nine different hot springs baths that you could visit for free if you were staying in one of the inns in the village. Picture traditional wooden Japanese architecture, narrow cobblestone streets, and being able to walk from one end of the village to the other in about ten minutes. Our innkeeper was a lovely woman named Keiko, and when we checked out of the inn she noticed the Totoro paper fan I was holding that I had gotten at the Studio Ghibli gift shop. With delight, she asked if Erin and I knew the film . Finally we realized she was asking about Spirited Away! If you’ve seen it, you know it is a film about adventures that happen in and around a traditional Japanese style bathhouse. Keiko shared with us that the film is very meaningful for people in her village because it features the culture around baths that exist in Japan, and because that bath culture is such a big part of her village. She excused herself and went back into her office to get something. When she came out she was carrying a figure of No-Face from the movie! We posed with her and No-Face for a picture in front of her inn before saying goodbye. [photo 10 – Keiko, No Face, Karla, and Erin in Shibu Onsen]

Moomin House Café, Tokyo [photo 11 – outside of Moomin House Café]

Located inside the Tokyo Skytree shopping complex, the Moomin House Café is an absolute delight for fans of the graphic arts in general or of Tove Jansson’s series of books for children about the Moomin family in particular. Jansson illustrated the books herself, creating an array of interesting and personality-laden characters. The Japanese are very big fans of the Moomin books, which I knew before visiting Japan. When I heard there were Moomin cafes there, I knew we had to go.

The food is prepared in the most kawaii way! [photo 12 – Moomin House Café menu]  All the food, both sweet and savory, is prepared including shapes from the Moomin universe. We ordered dessert there: Hattifattener madeleine and pudding in a souvenir mug for Erin [photo 13 – Hattifattener madeleine and pudding in a souvenir mug] and a whopper of an assembled dessert for me that including Hattifattener and Moomin-shaped cookies and a Moominhouse cake [photo 14 – Crazy Moomin dessert].  It was almost too kawaii to eat.  Almost. J At one point when I had gotten up to go look around at the gift shop, the waitress came and set the Snork Maiden down next to Erin. You can see Little My in the background, sitting at the neighboring table. Like everywhere else in Japan, service was excellent, and the servers at the Moomin House Café made sure that all the customers had a guest Moomin family member at their table at one point or another during their meal.

We had our share of other great experiences. Visiting temples and gardens. Eating excellent sushi. Riding the super-efficient, super-clean, super-awesome bullet trains. Going to cat cafes (it’s a thing in Tokyo). Scratching our heads at the Robot Restaurant and at all the people wearing surgical masks. But even visiting these three places alone I think made the trip worthwhile for an anime- and manga-loving fifteen year old, and her mom as well.

Karla Hagan teaches physics by day and only occasionally has a comics blogger alter ego (ok, never before). She is totally qualified to write this blog post by virtue of living three doors down from Mike.  The comics are strong with that one.



Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Warren Bernard on the International Manga Museum in Kyoto



One of the nice things about going overseas is seeing how much more other countries respect comics than we do in the United States. Though indeed we invented many elements of the medium, we still are far behind our international counterparts in giving comics and cartooning their due in a museum environment.



I was in Kyoto, and decided to take a half day off from seeing amazing Japanese gardens and Zen Buddhist temples to go through the International Manga Museum that was conveniently a six-block walk form my hotel. A true happy accident of planning.



The museum is housed in the Tatsuike Primary School that was built in the late 1860s, when downtown Kyoto began to see a population explosion that required a number of schools be built to handle all the new students. Like America's classic central-city population migration to the suburbs, by the 1990's the school, along with many others, was closed. After having the property lie dormant and vacant, a partnership between the City of Kyoto and the Kyoto Seika University had the school renovated and made into a museum. They have kept two rooms as a museum to the school itself. One had portraits of all the principals that ran the school from inception -- a hard looking bunch if there ever was one.



This museum is in many ways very different from the Tintin Museum in Brussels or the Cartoon Museum in London. One of the main draws of the IMM is the availability of a library of over 50,000 volumes of manga that one can read there, although not take home as in a traditional library. I saw many people there who paid the admission of 500 yen (about $6.25) just to come and read. They were camped out, reading away, in the hallways of the old school or on the main floor at large picnic tables near the main entrance.


The Museum had a very small section of translated material from France, Germany and the United States, which you could also sit and read. But my Japanese is not that good (OK, it's non-existent...) and I already owned all the translated American material so I went to look around.







The manga volumes were stacked in floor to ceiling book cases, some of these reaching over 12 feet high. Computer kiosks were throughout the museum to help you locate a specific book in the densely-packed shelves. The manga were mainly grouped by styles, but in one section that appeared to be in the old gymnasium, they were grouped by decade.





Also in this old gymnasium was the main series of displays that showed the evolution of manga. It is a nice showcase as to the tools and techniques used by the manga artists. I had no idea that Japanese versions of Puck, the American political humor magazine from the 19th-early 20th century, had copycat versions in Tokyo, Yokahama and Osaka. That being said, this museum's view of history was about the development of manga, especially the explosion of it after World War Two. No Little Nemo, Superman or Marvel Superheroes are in this place.



There were three other exhibition areas, of one which had a great exhibit about French cartoonists doing stories about The Louvre. This was apparently the first exhibit they have hosted at the IMM from France and was looked at as introducing French "bande dessinee" to Japanese manga fans. These main exhibition areas were all in both English and Japanese, as were all exhibits I saw there.



But the best part of the trip there? I got the last Astro Boy mug they had in stock.

The next time you're in Kyoto, stop into the International Manga Museum and take a look around. You'll think, just as you wonder about the Japanese shinkensen (bullet train) and their mass transportation system in general, "hey, why don't we have one of these?"

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Japanese anime music band played in DC last night

Well, I missed the Boom Boom Satellites at the 9:30 Club. How about you?

Boom goes the dynamite
By May Wildman
University of Maryland Diamondback October 12, 2010

Friday, September 24, 2010

Lynn Brudon's World War 2 malaria posters

Here's all 12 of Lynn Brudon's World War 2 anti-malaria posters that I was able to find in the National Museum of Health and Medicine's photo collections.

Reeve 88456-1

Malaria prevention. Charts. "Why bother to send out invitation. Sloppy Joe cordially invites you. Unhappy mess call. Hiroskito in person. Honorable down beat. Most unworthy bunion. Prevent malaria shorten the war! Lynn Brudon [artist], 1945." [Posters. Illustration. Cartoon, Mosquitoes. Insect pests, Control. Sanitation. Preventive medicine, Propaganda.] Reeve 88456-1

reeve088546-2

Malaria prevention. Charts. "Presenting tonight and every night. 'The 4 Freedoms From Malaria.' Featuring the Soldiers Chorus. Better than Faust. Prevent Malaria! Shorten the war! All star cast. Repellent, atabrine, malaria, d.d.t.[Dichloro-Diphenyl-Trichloroethane?], bed net. Lynn Brudon [artist], 1945." [Posters. Illustration. Insect pests, Control. Mosquitoes. Sanitation. Preventive medicine.][Propaganda.] REEVE 088546-2

reeve088546-3

Malaria prevention. Charts. "Don't be a damn fool. You wouldn't bed down with a boa or slug it out with a sling shot. Why hang out your old caboose for bayonet practice? Hiroskito. Prevent malaria! Shorten the war! Lynn Brudon [artist], 1945." [Posters. Illustration. Insect pests, Control. Mosquitoes. Sanitation. Preventive medicine.] [Propaganda.] REEVE 088546-3

Reeve088546-4

Malaria prevention. Charts. "G.I bedtime story. Control malaria. Shorten the war. Bug heaven, here comes Hiroskito. Damn that d.d.t.[Dichloro-Diphenyl-Trichloroethane] Lynn Brudon [artist], 1945." [Posters. Illustration. Insect pests, Control. Mosquitoes. Sanitation. Preventive medicine.] [Propaganda. Cartoon by Lynn Brudon.] REEVE 088546-4

reeve088546-5

Malaria prevention. Charts. "Sloppy Joe 'You can't fool him - he's too ignorant.' Don't bathe outdoors after dark. Hiroskito. Honorable blood bank. Prevent malaria! Shorten the war! Lynn Brudon [artist], 1945." [Posters. Illustration. Insect pests, Control. Mosquitoes. Sanitation. Preventive medicine.][Propaganda.] REEVE 088546-5

reeve088546-6

Malaria prevention. Charts. "Hiroskito speaking. Japan expects every saboteur to do his duty. Are you listnin [listening]? Brave American soldier are not care damn for chills and fever. Never mind do strong Japanese. Let honorable buddy do all the work. Take your atabrine. Keep on your feet! A man on his back can't fight. Prevent malaria! Shorten the war! Lynn Brudon [artist], 1945." [Posters. Illustration. Insect pests, Control. Mosquitoes. Sanitation. Preventive medicine.][Propaganda.] REEVE 088546-6

reeve088546-7

Malaria prevention. Charts. "When the Japs stole the world's supply of quinine they were sure of a successful jungle war with malaria fighting on their side. But you can help the Mikado bite his nails! Take a tablet of atabrine every day... It's the ace in the hole the Japs forgot. Prevent malaria! Shorten the war! Lynn Brudon [artist], 1945." [Posters. Illustration. Insect pests, Control. Mosquitoes. Sanitation. Preventive medicine.] [Propaganda.] REEVE 088546-7

reeve088546-8

Malaria prevention. Charts. "Some things are hard to understand. For instance, the Japanese train of thought and their big idea of world domination, all those cabinets they keep forming that fall apart, and the G.I who scoffs at necessary precautions to prevent malaria! Shorten the war! Lynn Brudon [artist], 1945." [Posters. Illustration. Insect pests, Control. Mosquitoes. Sanitation. Preventive medicine.] REEVE 088546-8

reeve088546-9

Malaria prevention. Charts. "Atabrine. Commando of the blood stream. He can only do his duty if you do yours. Ignorant rumors about atabrine are as groundless as Jap propaganda. Don't leave a gap in the line by refusing to cooperate! Prevent malaria! Shorten the war! Lynn Brudon [artist], 1945." [Posters. Illustration. Insect pests, Control. Mosquitoes. Sanitation. Preventive medicine.][Propaganda.] REEVE 088546-9

reeve088546-10

Malaria prevention. Charts. "Sure it makes a difference. Prevent malaria! Shorten the war! Lynn Brudon [artist], 1945." [Posters. Illustration. Mosquitoes. Insect pests, Control. Sanitation. Preventive medicine.][Propaganda.] REEVE 088546-10

reeve088546-11

Malaria prevention. Charts. "The champ. Keep fit! Take atabrine daily... malaria is no match for this heavyweight! Prevent malaria! Shorten the war! Lynn Brudon [artist]." [Posters. Illustration. Insect pests, Control. Mosquitoes. Sanitation. Preventive medicine.][Propaganda.] REEVE 088546-11

reeve088546-12

Malaria prevention. Charts. "Sloppy Joe. One man army in his own mind. Now retired. Prevent malaria! Shorten the war! Lynn Brudon [artist], 1945." [Posters. Illustration. Insect pests, Control. Mosquitoes. Sanitation. Preventive medicine.][Propaganda.] REEVE 088546-12

Monday, June 14, 2010

One key difference between us and Japan - freedom of speech

Tokyo assembly votes down measure to regulate child porn in comics
(Mainichi Japan) June 14, 2010

We may have the First Amendment, but there's a law in the US that says possessors drawings of imaginary under-age cartoon characters (how is that even possible?) can be prosecuted for child pornography. Support the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund today.

Here's a new interview with its head - Spurgeon, Tom. 2010.
CR Newsmaker Interview: Charles Brownstein Of The CBLDF.
Comics Reporter (June 13).

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Hello Kitty and Ben Classen in Express

Ben "Dirt Farm" Classen, who is using bendependent.com as his signature and is the only cartoonist left in the City Paper, has a nice Escher-inspired full page piece in today's Express for the Capital Fringe Festival.


Also in the paper is an article about a local exhibit -

Art History Gets Cute: Say Hello Kitty to a thought-provoking show of cheeky art.

Written by Express contributor Danielle O'Steen

http://www.expressnightout.com/content/2009/07/art_history_gets_cute_leslie_holt_and_he.php

Friday, October 31, 2008

Good stuff in today's papers

"Godzilla's Older, Creepier Cousins: Beings Such as Filth Licker Haunt Japanese Culture," By Blaine Harden, Washington Post Foreign Service, Friday, October 31, 2008; A01. This is about creatures called yokai, who are apparently roughly equivalent to goblins and boggarts. Hiroko Yoda and Matt Alt are a married couple have written a book about them, when not translating manga.

The animated movie Fear(s) of the Dark was also reviewed in "Gripped (at Times Loosely) by Fear," By Neely Tucker, Washington Post Staff Writer, Friday, October 31, 2008; Page C06.

Meanwhile in the Post's Comic Riffs, Michael Cavna's interviewed a bunch of cartoonists about the election including locals Telnaes, Sorenson, and Wuerker in "Who'll Win the White House? Cartoonists Issue Their Predictions" as well as decidedly non-local Garry Trudeau in "Obama Wins? Yes, 'Doonesbury' Calls the Election!"

And on Disney's direct to video movie and Fairies product line is "Disney Hoping 'Tinker Bell' Spreads Fairy Dust on Sales" By BROOKS BARNES, New York Times October 31, 2008.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Marvel attempting manga... again

For their current effort, see "Superheroes to Be Recast for Japan," By GEORGE GUSTINES, New York Times August 25, 2008. This is by no means new though - both Spider-Man and the X-Men were produced in Japan and reprinted in America, and there was a Hulk series not seen in the US. There's a nice big book on Batman manga coming out from Chip Kidd soon. Marvel also took a shot at putting Spider-Man in India recently.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Wildly OT: USS George Washington manga


This has nothing at all to do with Washington and comics, but you can download a free manga book made by the US Navy to justify the visit of the USS George Washington aircraft carrier to Japan. I think it's an interesting use of educational manga. Or would that be propaganda...