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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies


One of the cultural products for which Japan is well-known across the globe is its graphic prose, namely in the form of manga. It is a fact that the popularity enjoyed by manga (together with anime) among the young generations continues to be one of the main factors that inspires them to study Japanese at secondary as well as at tertiary level both in the UK and in the United States. Research on this form of Japanese contemporary popular culture has certainly bloomed in recent years. And this is a trend that works in unison with extensive academic work done in the field of comics and graphic novels in a variety of cultures around the world. Despite this, facile generalizations still abound when discussing the roots of this form of graphic prose. This project addresses the lack of scholarship in this field and aims at generating new knowledge that will shed different light on how we understand graphic prose in Japan across centuries.

The first step of the project took the form of an international conference. ‘At the roots of visual Japan. Word-text dynamics in early-modern Japan’ (14-15 December 2017) which was held at the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies in Cambridge and featured prominent scholars in the area of early-modern Japan, manga and graphic prose. 

Faculty Researchers