The term manga is used to refer to a range of related and at times exclusive domains according to the position of the speaker. In the present paper, I examine one of the fundamental dichotomies underpinning the arguments in relation to the meaning of manga, the tension and interrelationship between the “style” versus “made in Japan” positions. Building on research on manga, comics, and bande dessinée
, I outline a framework that attempts to take stock of the most common features associated with works being considered manga. Highlighting some of the possible connections between visual style and content-specific elements on the one hand, and the Japanese language plus the culture of manga production, dissemination, and consumption in Japan on the other hand, I argue that the manga as style position is not as pure a possibility—transcending all cultural and material situatedness—as it is sometimes held up to be. At the same time, the manga is made in Japan position is not as simplistic as it is commonly thought to be and indeed points to a far deeper and more fundamental interrelationship between manga and Japan—as its real and mythical place of origin—than its proponents might actually articulate.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited