Reading Japan Cool:
Patterns of Manga Literacy and Discourse
By John Ingulsrud and Kate Allen
PN6790 .J3 I54 2009
New Book Island, 2nd floor
When you were younger, did you read comic books? Did your parents give you a hard time for reading ‘books’ with so many illustrations and barely any words? I know that my parents always did (“How can you call it ‘reading’ with all of the pictures?” was the common reaction). If you’re looking for a comeback to that question, look to the west for answers. In Japan, with one of the highest literacy rates in the world, manga, or Japanese comics, proves to be as pervasive as baseball and apple pie here in the states. This week’s featured title looks at the influential medium and its impact on its readers.
Ingulsrud and Allen, faculty members at universities in Tokyo, present their work with literacy in Japan, which grew out of their study of college students and their reading habits. They discovered that manga not only monopolized much of the students’ current literature consumption, but it also formed a major part of their literacy development. The authors researched the genre’s place in the overarching issue of literacy, giving background of its growth in popularity, as well as the motivations for continuing to read manga into adult life. If you’re interested in manga or in teaching, then this book would be a good start.