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Manga in Germany--from Translation to Simulacrum

Manga in Germany--from Translation to Simulacrum

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Published by: lixiaoxiu on Feb 19, 2009
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18 February 2009 
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Informa Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House,37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK
Publication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information:http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~content=t794297831
Heike Jüngst
University of Leipzig,Online Publication Date: 24 July 2007
To cite this Article
Jüngst, Heike(2007)'MANGA IN GERMANY - FROM TRANSLATION TO SIMULACRUM',Perspectives,14:4,248 —259
To link to this Article: DOI:
Full terms and conditions of use:http://www.informaworld.com/terms-and-conditions-of-access.pdfThis article may be used for research, teaching and private study purposes. Any substantial orsystematic reproduction, re-distribution, re-selling, loan or sub-licensing, systematic supply ordistribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden.The publisher does not give any warranty express or implied or make any representation that the contentswill be complete or accurate or up to date. The accuracy of any instructions, formulae and drug dosesshould be independently verified with primary sources. The publisher shall not be liable for any loss,actions, claims, proceedings, demand or costs or damages whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directlyor indirectly in connection with or arising out of the use of this material.
 Heike Jüngst, University of Leipzig 
This article does not focus on translation per se but on cultural exchange and intercultural
inuences as precipitated and mediated by translation. Manga is a prime example for this kind
of exchange. With the translation of manga into German and the ensuing popularity, Germanartists started producing manga of their own. Some of these manga were (and some still are)
an amalgam of elements of European comics and Japanese manga and tried to nd new ways of 
expression within the format. Others, however, have all the characteristics of a simulacrum: Theylook like manga translated from Japanese into German. However, as with every simulacrum, thereis no original. In the case of these manga, there is no original Japanese version.
Key words:
Pseudo-translation; manga; comic genres.
Translation, Canonization and Imitation
It is easy to demonstrate that translation is everywhere included in the sacred partsof canons, but that due to our views on language and society and due to societies’eclectic collective memory and to systematic strategies of insiders and outsiders, alarge proportion of the translational data are or have become invisible. All known
cultures have made prestigious external texts part of their canon, most oen intranslation. (Lambert 1995: 161)
Translators are generally more aware of this fact than are other members ofsociety. Publications that have a historical perspective on literary translationand the canon are available (Mueller-Vollmer & Irmscher (eds.); Poltermann
(ed.) 1995). However, these publications tend to focus on texts with a highstatus in their culture of origin and on the inuence they have had, again, on
the high culture in the target community. In an essay in the Mueller-Vollmer
volume, Cyrus Hamlin speaks of “Transplanting German Idealism to AmericanCulture” (Hamlin 1998). The idea of transplanting appeals: The organ that is
transplanted will never lose its foreign origin, but it will, in the best case, becomea vital part of the organism into which it is transplanted. However, transplantsare normally replacements for vital organs that have lost their function. Withcultural transplants, we are rather faced with an additional organ that may ormay not take over from the original organ.
It is oen le to specialists outside translation studies to deal with texts (nomaer in what medium) that are part of popular culture. These texts may be bothpopular and high culture, but very oen they will be considered low culture, as
for example detective stories, mainstream cinema and TV shows.Manga falls into both categories. There are artistic manga of breathtakingquality, but as with all kinds of cultural expression, these have a small
fan following only. Their inuence on the target culture is an inuence on
a subculture. Mainstream manga, however, have become a mainstreamphenomenon in Germany, too. Some of them are simply mass-produced eye
candy, but such texts can, and do, build canons and inuence the target culture’s
cultural production.
0907-676X/06/04/248-12 $20.00Perspectives: Studies in Translatology© 2006 Heike JüngstVol. 14, No. 4, 2006
Certain “rules” of manga translation have developed over the years. It is
unacceptable to today’s manga reader in Germany to have the pages of the
translation ipped. Manga must be read back to front. Japanese honorics arenormally le in their original shape, although printed in Latin leers, aka rōmaji,so that the reader is confronted with frequent ‘-san’ and ‘-chan’ addresses. Oen,onomatopoeia is le in the Japanese katakana alphabet. This is not only cheaper
as it saves retouching the picture; it also has a strong aesthetic impact. As the
shapes of the leers help to decipher whether the onomatopoeia is meant to
represent a pleasant or an unpleasant sound, knowledge of katakana is not evenneeded. Displays, i.e. shop signs, newspaper titles etc. that might appear in thepictures only get retouched if their meaning is mandatory for an understanding
of the manga action. In short, whereas early manga translations used ippedpages and sometimes even additional colour (e.g. the rst Western editions
), translations today are visually as close as possible to the Japaneseoriginals (for a detailed account of manga translation in Germany see Jüngst2004).Manga have become part of the German canon of popular literature. The
interest in the Japanese language and culture sparked o by manga becomesobvious if one reads the leers to the editors in German manga magazines
such as
. They are peppered with Japanesewords.
have become standard greetings. Manga readerscall themselves
 , which approximately means ‘devoted fan’ and is a word
actually not free from negative connotations in Japan. In Germany, the wordhas positive connotations for those who see themselves as
. It does notreally have connotations outside this group as people who are not interestedin manga will not know it. Using a Japanese term in order to refer to yourselfshows that you are a member of the in-group. It does not mean that you are a
lonely person lost in the articial world of manga or anime, which is what the
 Japanese associations are. Becoming a
 , a manga artist, has become a job today’s German children dream of. Japan has partly replaced the USA as
a source for popular culture (an interesting reection on this can be found in
Briese 2002). Exercise books available from the German paper company Herlitzfeatured the manga-style heroes Reiko, Li and Professor Shikano on their coversin autumn/winter 2002/03. The characters had been designed for this purposeonly.
The inuence of manga in the world takes on two dierent shapes, and I am
concentrating on only one. Firstly, there is a development of “world comics”, as
Paul Grave describes them in some detail (Grave 2006: 152-171). These “world
comics” take the best and most interesting features of comics from all over the
world and combine them into new, oen highly aesthetic and adventurous
art. Most world comics are not part of the mainstream comics. They do notlook like manga, bande dessinée or comic books anymore; they are somethingnew and hybrid. The elements taken from the international models may varyconsiderably, which makes every one of these comics new and surprising. Joachim Kaps, editor-in-chief of Tokyopop Germany, is convinced that youngreaders perceive manga less and less as part of Japanese culture but rather asone way of drawing comics among others (personal communication; see also
Kaps 1995 and 2001).
 Jüngst. Manga in Germany249

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