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Manga, Anime and Video Games

Manga, Anime and Video Games

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07/29/2010

 
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18 February 2009 
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Routledge 
Informa Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House,37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK
Perspectives
Publication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information:http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~content=t794297831
MANGA, ANIME AND VIDEO GAMES: GLOBALIZING JAPANESECULTURAL PRODUCTION
Dr Minako Oóhagan
aa
Centre for Translation and Textual Studies, Dublin City University,Online Publication Date: 24 July 2007
To cite this Article
Oóhagan, Minako Dr(2007)'MANGA, ANIME AND VIDEO GAMES: GLOBALIZING JAPANESE CULTURALPRODUCTION',Perspectives,14:4,242 — 247
To link to this Article: DOI:
10.1080/09076760708669041
URL:
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.
 
MANGA, ANIME AND VIDEO GAMES:GLObALIzING JAPANESE CULTURAL PRODUCTION
Special Issue Editor Dr Minako O’HaganCentre for Translation and Textual Studies, Dublin City University
This special issue of
Perspectives
is devoted to translation questions arisingfrom the globalization of the Japanese popular cultural production of manga
1
 ,anime
2
and video games. In his article
 Japan’s Gross National Cool
 , McGray (2002)
drew aention to the collective power of Japanese popular culture permeating
through the rest of the world. His observations highlight the globalizationprocess undergone by these areas of Japanese cultural production and as
such serve to raise the question of the role played by translation – a topic lile
explored in Translation Studies (TS). Widespread popularity of these genres beyond Japanese shores is evident in that the Japanese terms manga and anime
together with associated but rather obscure culture-specic concepts such as
otaku
3
have come into the vocabulary of an increasing international audience.
Examples of the inuence of manga and anime range from Hollywood lms
such as
The Matrix
and
Kill Bill
to a UK publisher’s recent launch of a
 MangaShakespeare
series
4
turning
Romeo and Juliet
into a contemporary story set in Japan
with Japanese characters depicted in a distinctive manga style. The laer is an
example of the emergence of so-called Amerimanga and Euromanga, i.e. theadoption of manga form by comic artists in the US and Europe, adding to thedeep-seated impact of manga and creating a domain of its own. Similarly, thepopularity of Japanese video games has long ago crossed the national borderto produce best selling games in the global market (Roturier 2003). Japaneserole playing games (RPGs) are known for introducing a completely new story-driven, rather than action-driven, dimension and winning international fans fortheir unique characteristics. According to the Japanese Ministry of Economy,Trade and Industry (METI) the Japanese game export market is over 80 timesthat of the import of overseas games (cited in Nakamura 2006a: 16) with animplication that the localization direction is predominantly from Japaneserather than into Japanese.
The extent of the international inuence of these products can indeed be
inferred from some statistics. In terms of international dissemination animeoccupy 60% of the TV animation broadcast worldwide with the ratio in Europeexceeding 80% (Nakamura 2006a: 30). The US forms the single biggest anime
market and accounted for US$ 48.4 million (€ 35.6 million) in 2004. This
apparently equates to several times the value of steel exported from Japan tothe US. Anime sales as a whole are reported to be as much as US$ 4 billion a
year in the US, with leading Japanese anime studios earning up to 35% of their
revenues on foreign markets (Brown 2006: 6). The worldwide export of Japanese
video games, including hardware and soware, was approximately ¥ 560 billion(EUR 3.5 billion) in 2004. Japan is considered to be the second largest videogame market, following the US which is estimated at € 5.8 billion in 2004 (ESA
242
0907-676X/06/04/242-6 $20.00Perspectives: Studies in Translatology© 2006 Minako O'HaganVol. 14, No. 4, 2006
 
2005). Overseas sales of manga in 2006 were estimated at roughly ¥ 3 billion (€18.5 million) (‘Practical Guide to Publishing in Japan’ 2006: 12). Although the
smallest in economic terms among the three genres, the importance of mangalies in their subsequent multiple use as source material in the secondary market,
which includes books, TV anime, lms, direct-to-video anime known as OVAs
and character merchandise (Nakano 2004: 2). Furthermore, these areas are now
regarded as a strategically signicant sector in Japan because of their potential toprovide aractive content for a plethora of digital media platforms (Nakamura
2006b).
While their economic signicance undoubtedly contributes to motivation
for research into these areas of Japanese popular culture, what makes themparticularly promising subjects for TS, in my opinion, is the unique processof cultural negotiation they undergo through translation. Despite anime’scharacteristic dimension of
mukokuseki
literally meaning “without nationality”
oen discussed among anime scholars (e.g. Napier 2000: 14) a focus ontranslation perspectives only highlights how anime constitute a baleeld
of cultural negotiation for professional and amateur translators alike. Whilethe question of how translation has played its role in globalizing these areasremains underexplored in TS, a small enclave of TS researchers is taking up
the challenge. This special edition aempts to further promote these subjects
as promising areas of translation research by introducing a diverse range ofperspectives across the three areas.
Dening the Research Domain
The location of research in the three areas under study in this issue needs to beaddressed in order to chart the territory, although a comprehensive descriptionof each genre is beyond the scope of this introduction. These areas have so far
aracted scholarly interest from Asian studies, cultural studies, lm studies,
media studies and communication studies as well as computer science.
Furthermore, for obvious reasons they have aracted researchers with Japaneselanguage competence across dierent disciplines. A diculty with grasping
their entire scope owes to the fragmentation of scholarly interests due to themultidimensional nature of these genres, considered variously as visual artforms, a subculture, new entertainment media, or under the generic umbrellaof Japanese popular culture. These subjects were once the cause of moral panic
(Kinsella 2000: 131), both in Japan and elsewhere, and suered a severe lack
of interest in academia. However, they are now beginning to gain academic
aention due to their diverse culturally-rich content as well as their anity with
new technology platforms for entertainment and also for education.Manga, anime and video games each forms its own domain of research, andclustering them together may appear to be unproductive as well as undulyambitious. However, there is a certain insight to be gained by observing them
side by side as versatile media content subject to dierent modes of translation.
From a commercial point of view, a close link between the three essentiallyderives from the strategy of making successful content in one form available inanother. For example,
Pokémon
went from the original video game medium tomanga and then TV anime
5
before being released as a feature anime lm. This
media mix approach seems to be a global trend, but the particularly close link
OHagan. Manga, Anime and Video Games243

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