You are here: Home / AJLS / Schedule / Panel 7 | 3:00-5:00 | ROOM A

Panel 7 | 3:00-5:00 | ROOM A

3:00-5:00 ~ PANEL 7 ~ ROOM A

7 - Anime, Hintz Alumni Center

“Comics as Art: Art Avant-gardism and Japanese Comics,” Shige (CJ) Suzuki, The City University of New York (CUNY), Baruch College

  • This paper attempts to address the intersections and unravel the implications between avant-garde art movements and Japanese comics (manga) in and around the 1960s’ Japan. Particular focus will be on how socially and politically concerned artists—both avant-garde artists and comics artists—produced their works inside and outside of the matrix of culture industry or institutionalized domain of “art.” In Japanese art history, the 50s marked a renewal of art experimentalism, inspired by the re-introduction of Euro-American modernism, including surrealism, Neo-dadaism, and other contemporaneous Western (pop) art movements. This period coincided with the time when Japanese comics evolved into art form—as argued by critics—under the name of gekiga, which emancipated itself from the orientation of commercialism and childhood entertainment. In the 1960s’ tumultuous cultural climate, aspiring and experimental artists such as Akasegawa Genpei, Minami Nobuhiro (Minami Shinbō), and Matsuda Tetsuo, produced comics or comics-inspired art works while comics artists Shirato Sanpei, Tsuge Yoshiharu, Sasaki Maki produced art-inspired, politicized works, all of whom attempted to reconfigure the relationship of art, politics, and everyday life. These artists transgressed the conventionally separated domains—one in the (narrowly-defined) world of “art” and the other in (commercially-oriented) popular culture—by encountering, intersecting, and appropriating each other’s forms, styles and aesthetics, while criticizing Japan’s complicated political standing in relation to the American political hegemony over Asia. This paper argues that their border-crossing oeuvres, appearing on the same cultural and visual plane, constituted the visual mediascape (Arjun Appadurai), the “image of the world,” shaped by the “global cultural flows” of information and images through print and electronic media in the tumultuous 60s and contributed to the later developments of art/comics.

“Watashi ni wa manga shika nai: The Work of Tsurita Kuniko as Seen through Garo, 1965-1981,” Philomena Mazza-Hilway, University of Chicago

  • Garo (1964-2002), an avant-garde manga magazine which today holds pre-eminent status for enthusiasts and scholars alike, was an essential publication at a time when the manga industry was becoming increasingly commercialized. Yet its brand of avant-gardism was accompanied by a different set of restrictive tropes relating to the portrayal of women. Thus a publication which sought to represent itself as purposefully subversive also featured images of extreme objectification and violence in relation to the female body. At the same time, early Garo was home to one of a few female mangaka who worked in alternative comics at that time: Tsurita Kuniko. Though her work has not yet been afforded much scholarly inquiry, the considerable amount of versatile manga she produced during her career merits sustained focus.

    In this paper, I explore the place of Tsurita and the manga which she published in the space of Garo’s gendered avant-gardism in order to understand the work of a female creator in a publication where her presence as a woman in a place of articulation (not objectification) was marginal. Through a consideration of her works which center self-representation and parodied depictions of the other mangaka of Garo, and examination of her gendered portrayals of men and women in her manga, a process of active negotiation appears across her body of work, revealing both the ways in which Tsurita mediated her relationship to gender within Garo, and how its editors, other contributors, and readers understood her place as a gendered producer of alternative manga. My analysis centers on how Tsurita employed her versatility as a mangaka – skillfully manipulating both the visual and linguistic dimensions of her work – to play with and criticize gendered avant-garde tropes, which opens up not only an important way of looking at Tsurita, but of looking at Garo as well.    

"The Girl Returns: Visualizing the Shōjo in The Girl who Leapt through Time," Joelle Tapas, Harvard University

  • Nearly fifty years after The Girl who Leapt Through Time first appeared in print, writer Tsutsui Yasutaka jokingly remarked that the novel ought to be renamed The Girl who Earns Money, an open reference to the lucrative nature of the work, which has seen multiple adaptations not only across different media platforms, but also, steadily and repeatedly over the decades since its first publication.  Among these adaptations, visual versions of The Girl – as films, television shows, manga, and anime – have been predominant, often serving to promote both a new, re-envisioned iteration of The Girl, as well as a new, emerging female star to portray her.  Ultimately, these multiple adaptations have yielded just as many, if not even more, images of The Girl and her return, meant to be at once familiar and new.  Taking these images together, we are prompted to ask: what is it about The Girl – as a diegetic character, as a narrative, or even, as a broader, more generalizable concept – that so consistently connects her with the visual register, that invites such visual “translation?”  Furthermore, what role does the factor of time play in these “translations,” not only with regards to the production and release of each adaptation, but also, with regards to the temporal movements traced by The Girl within and across each adaptation?  In looking at The Girl who Leapt through Time as a case study, I propose a reading of The Girl and her relationship with time that is at once fundamentally visual, and yet, simultaneously resistant to the visual register’s empirical underpinnings.