japan earthquake comics

Download Japan earthquake comics

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  1. 1. A JAPANESE DISASTER: THE EARTHQUAKE THROUGH MANGA AND ANIME The earthquake that damaged Tokyo and the north-eastern part of Japan the last 11th March is definitely an extraordinary and unprecedented event both for its incredible intensity and for the fact that Japan has been always considerate well- advanced in the seismic prevention so anyone have should never imagined the occurrence of a so catastrophic event. Due to the widely known seismic nature of its territory, Japan has a deepen culture of earthquakes and its inhabitants are well prepared to face this kind of emergencies by Bousai, the Japanese Civil Protection. This education has produced the composed reaction of the Japanese people, which impressed the entire world during the days following the disaster. The culture of drama and of earthquakes in particular, is typical of videogames, manga and anime, the Japanese comics and cartoons. Violence is an element that historically characterizes manga and anime whose protagonists are warriors, robots and monsters involved in bloody battles with futuristic weapons. Stories are extremely realistic and describe a society very similar to the Japanese one, which the readers can be easily identify. For this reason, it is possible to develop an analysis on two levels: on one hand, how some anime and manga have foreseen the earthquake; on the other hand, the initiatives promoted by their authors after the event. From the first point of view, it could be useful to mention as examples of this phenomenon Tokyo Magnitudo 8.0, Hakury Legend and Disaster Report 4 that have described in detail events similar to the recent ones. The first one is a 2009 animated TV series that narrates the destruction of Tokyo and its neighbourhood due to a very strong earthquake (8.0 Richter degrees) through the eyes of Mirai and Yuki, two little brothers respectively 11 and 7 years old. The events are surprisingly similar to the real ones but without references to the tsunami and the nuclear disaster.
  2. 2. Much more realistic is Disaster Report 4 a Playstation game whose protagonist is a reporter who have to survive to a big earthquake in the city where he is working: buildings oscillate, fires break out everywhere and a tsunami menaces the population. It is even more striking because it was forthcoming in those days. The nuclear crisis is the theme of Hakury Legend a manga whose main character is the Genshiryoku Mafia (nuclear power mafia) in the middle of a saga on the dark side of nuclear industry. In the story, the protagonists fight to avoid very dangerous nuclear attacks with extremely serious consequences. Due to the recent events happened in Fukushima, the authors decided to make significant changes to the story, whose publication will continue on the weekly magazine Nihonbungeisha.
  3. 3. From the second point of view is interesting to analyse the answer of the mangaoka, the manga authors, to the Tokyo earthquake. They had a univocal reaction by encouraging the readers and the inhabitants of the affected areas to not surrender and look to the future. The message is given through the expressions Ganbatte Kudasai!, Gambare!, Gambarimashou!, which corresponds to ours Come on!, Good luck!, Go! A very unusual initiative has been taken by Takehiko Inoue who posted on Twitter a series of portrays of smiling Japanese people to give a sign of hope to his fellow countrymen and countrywomen.
  4. 4. Another cartoonist, Yutaka Kondo, has described how she survived to the earthquake through ironic but meaningful images. Moreover, a group of mangaka are creating a djinshi, a comic magazine on the earthquake with the intention of giving the proceeds in charity. Waiting for the issue of the djinshi in May, the authors have opened a website (koge.kokage.cc/earthquake/) to collect their works. Finally, it is important to mention the anime by Kazuko Hachiya aimed to explain the Fukushima accident to the children. This cartoon describes the nuclear
  5. 5. disaster from an educational point of view with a simple language but without omitting any detail. Standing to these first expressions of manga and anime after the earthquake, the authors are moving towards new lighter topics to give to the readers the possibility to create a diversion and smile in these dramatic moments. The works addressed to the younger readers will also less emphasize violence while children will be made aware of what is happening so that in future they will be better prepared and will learn from this tragic experience. It is still too early to foreseen the future the future of anime and manga but they will have a slant completely different from the current one. They will surely spread a new image of Japan that will give to the rest of the world the possibility to know further aspects of this complex culture. Mariangela Sassi March 2011
  6. 6. disaster from an educational point of view with a simple language but without omitting any detail. Standing to these first expressions of manga and anime after the earthquake, the authors are moving towards new lighter topics to give to the readers the possibility to create a diversion and smile in these dramatic moments. The works addressed to the younger readers will also less emphasize violence while children will be made aware of what is happening so that in future they will be better prepared and will learn from this tragic experience. It is still too early to foreseen the future the future of anime and manga but they will have a slant completely different from the current one. They will surely spread a new image of Japan that will give to the rest of the world the possibility to know further aspects of this complex culture. Mariangela Sassi March 2011

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