Publishing Research Quarterly

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 101–117 | Cite as

Books, Not Comics: Publishing Fields, Globalization, and Japanese Manga in the United States

Article

Abstract:

The market for Japanese comics, called manga, in the United States grew rapidly at the beginning of the twenty first century at a rate unprecedented in the publishing industry. Sales grew a remarkable 350% from $60 million in 2002 to $210 million in 2007 and did not begin to decline until the beginning of the recent economic downturn beginning in late 2008. No published research is yet able to account for this phenomenon in a manner that is both socially-situated and medium-specific. In this paper, I provide such a sociological account of the rise of manga in the United States and its implications for the globalization of culture. Adapting Pierre Bourdieu’s theoretical formulation of the cultural field, I argue that manga migrated from the comics field to the book field and that the ways in which industry practices, distribution networks, and target demographics differ between the two fields are directly responsible for the medium’s newfound visibility. Furthermore, I argue that, despite the now-common transparency of the Japanese origin of Japanese titles, the American publishing industry’s creation of manga as a category of books distinct from other comics is an ineluctable naturalizing process that ultimately erases from American consciousness the Japanese, the foreign, the other.

Keywords

Manga Comics Graphic novels Globalization American publishing Field theory Japan 

References

  1. 1.
    Adorno T. The culture industry. London: Routledge; 2001.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Alverson B. NYAF: ICv2’s Marketing to Girls panel. Mangablog. 2007. http://www.mangablog.net/?p=1298#more-1298. Accessed 23 Dec 2007.
  3. 3.
    Ang I. Watching Dallas: soap opera and the melodramatic imagination. London: Routledge; 1985.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bauerlein M, Sandra S. Why Johnny won’t read. Washington post. 2005. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A33956-2005Jan24.html. Accessed 25 Jan 2005.
  5. 5.
    Becker H. Art worlds. Berkeley: University of California Press; 1982.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Bourdieu P. The field of cultural production. London: Polity Press; 1993.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Brienza C. Paratexts in translation: reinterpreting ‘Manga’ for the United States. Int J Book. 2009;6(2):13–20.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Chavez Ed. Save our EDEN. Mangacast. 2007. http://community.livejournal.com/mangacast/545171.html. Accessed 2 July 2007.
  9. 9.
    Grigsby M. Sailormoon manga (Comics) and anime (Cartoon) superheroine meets barbie: global entertainment commodity comes to the United States. J Pop Cult. 1997;32(1):59–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Hassler K. Interview: Kurt Hassler. By Deb Aoki. About.com: Manga. 2007. http://manga.about.com/od/mangaartistswriters/a/KurtHassler.htm.
  11. 11.
    ICv2.com. BookScan’s top 20 graphic novels for April. 2008. http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/12484.html. Accessed 30 Apr 2008.
  12. 12.
    Ito K. A history of manga in the context of Japanese culture and society. J Pop Cult. 2005;38(3):456–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Iwabuchi K. Recentering globalization: popular culture and Japanese transnationalism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press; 2002.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Jenkins H. Textual poachers: television fans & participatory culture. London: Routledge; 1992.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Jenkins H. Convergence culture: where old and new media collide. New York: New York University Press; 2006.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Kelts R. Japanamerica: how Japanese pop culture invaded the US. New York: Palgrave Macmillan; 2007.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Kinsella S. Adult manga: culture & power in contemporary Japanese society. New York: Curzon Press; 2000.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    McGray D. Japan’s Gross National Cool. Foreign Policy. 2002; 44–54.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    McLean T. Profile of Tokyopop founder Stu Levy: Manga man explores right-to-left brand cortex. Variety. 2007. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117974761.html?categoryid=2818&cs=1. Accessed 25 Oct 2007.
  20. 20.
    McLuhan M. The Gutenberg galaxy: the makings of typographic man. Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press; 1962.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    McLuhan M. Understanding media: the extensions of man. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press; 1964.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Miller LL. Reluctant capitalists: bookselling and the culture of consumption. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press; 2007.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Misaka K. The first Japanese Manga magazine in the United States. Publ Res Q. 2004;19(4):23–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Morley D. The ‘Nationwide’ audience: structure and decoding. London: British Film Institute; 1980.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Mukerji C, Schudson M, editors. Rethinking popular culture: contemporary perspectives in cultural studies. Los Angeles: University of California Press; 1991.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Napier S. Anime from akira to howl’s moving castle: experiencing japanese animation. New York: Palgrave Macmillan; 2005.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Napier S. From impressionism to anime: Japan as fantasy in the mind of the west. New York: Palgrave Macmillan; 2007.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Palmieri M. Interview with Gutsoon!. By Isaac Alexander. Anime News Netw. 2003. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/feature/2003-02-04. Accessed 4 Feb 2003.
  29. 29.
    Radway JA. Reading the romance: women, patriarchy, and popular literature. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press; 1984.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Rhoades S. Comic books: how the industry works. New York: Peter Lang; 2008.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Rifas L. Globalizing comic books from below: how manga came to America. Int J Comic Art. 2004;6 (fall):138–71.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Schiller HI. Mass communications and American empire. New York: Augustus M. Kelley; 1969.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Schodt FL. Manga! manga! the world of Japanese comics. Tokyo: Kodansha International; 1983.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Schodt FL. Dreamland Japan: writings on modern manga. Berkeley, CA: Stone Bridge Press; 1996.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Schodt FL. The astro boy essays: osamu tezuka, mighty atom, and the manga/anime revolution. Berkeley, CA: Stone Bridge Press; 2007.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Sinnreich A. Configurable Culture: Mainstreaming the Remix, Remixing the Mainstream. PhD dissertation. University of Southern California. 2007.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Thompson J. How manga conquered America. Wired, November 2007: 223–233.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Thompson JB. Books in the digital age: the transformation of academic and higher education publishing in Britain and the United States. London: Polity Press; 2005.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Thorn M. n.d. Shôjo Manga Magazines. Matt-thorn.com. http://www.matt-thorn.com/shoujo_manga/magazines/index.html. Accessed 12 Nov 2007.
  40. 40.
    Tobin J, editor. Pikachu’s global adventure: the rise and fall of Pokémon. Durham, NC: Duke University Press; 2004.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Weiner E. Why women read more than men. NPR org. 2007. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14175229. Accessed 5 Sept 2007.
  42. 42.
    Wolk D. Reading comics: how graphic novels work and what they mean. New York: Da Capo Press; 2007.Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Wong WS. Globalizing manga: from Japan to Hong Kong and beyond. Mechademia: Emerging Worlds Manga Anime. 2006;1:23–45.Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Yoshihara M. Embracing the east: white women and American orientalism. New York: Oxford University Press; 2003.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Media, Culture, and CommunicationNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations