i have become very fascinated with japanese manga especially since i found bilingual manga for sale at a bookshop in narita airport. japan is one of three great comic producing nations in the world. the other two are the united states and france. but i think the scale and popularity of comics in japan is at a much higher level than in the other countries. there are more than 3000 professional manga artists living in japan churning out dozens of comic strips each of which can claim readership of over a million each.
the word manga in japanese originally omes from two chinese ideographs "capricious" and "images" which referred to clever pictures. in japan you have manga devoted to every demographic including senior citizens.
i picked up the first volume of three manga which caught my fancy. i then hope to ask my japanese colleagues to mail me all the other volumes of the ones i like. i am most intrigued by "the wonderful world of sazae-san" by machiko hasegawa, japan's first successful woman comic manga artist. the heroine is a cheerful and scatterbrained housewife who has a very ordinary life. the period is post-war japan when japanese life was marked by food shortages and grim conditions. for those of us unfamiliar with japanese culture, this manga gives a glimpse into the daily lives of an average family, their hopes and desires.
i think that in 2006 manga will take off globally in a big way.