Research Question

The fast growing up of Japanese manga and animation surprises the whole world, and it has became a power which is evenly matched with American cartoon in the past few decades. During the world wide financial crisis, Japanese culture output still maintained a vigorously erection. Japanese manga and animation have already taken most of the world market, and made people in different age group crazy about them. The maturation of Japanese manga and animation are represented by its wonderful plot, special character style, excelsior tailor and advanced digital media technology. Moreover, the industry of Japanese manga and animation successfully put the mode of combining industry, government and academy to application, and hit it big on the establishment of industry chain, and turned into one of the vital industry in Japan.

On the other hand, Japan’s biggest neighboring country, China, who is sharing a lot of similar culture elements and traditions with Japan, is still facing a bunch of difficulties to get on its way to develop its culture industry. Chinese has its own manga and animation, which have been staying their infancy for many decades. Most Chinese adolescents and some adults are fascinated by Japanese manga and animation, even though they can only get counterfeits from the illegal market, but Chinese youth pay little attention on Chinese manga and animation. It is obvious that in the recent decades, there are hundreds and thousands of Chinese manga artists devote their time and energy to this industry, and some of them have gained success. However, their popularities are limited and can not be compared with those in Japan. Moreover, the most lamentable thing is that the works of Chinese cartoonist are always treated as the pastiche and imitation of Japanese manga and animation.

Chinese are always proud of their five-thousand-years culture and history, and are shame on their modern culture. Hundreds years ago, Japan was under the shadow of Chine culture, however now, its Chinese people who are worried about Japanese culture exports. What limited the growth of Chinese manga and animation when Japanese was enjoy the fast spreading of manga and animation and what’s the future direction of the development of Chinese manga and animation will be discussed in this paper.

1.History of Japan’s culture

In the early age of the Hei An era of Japan(794-1192), Japan dispatched envoys(“kentoshi” in Japanese) to China more than twelve times to learn Chinese in Tang dynasty. Japanese calligraphy, tea ceremony, and even their traditional costume, kimono, were originated from Tang Dynasty and was developed under the great influence of Chinese traditional culture. Depended on the cessation of sending envoys to China and the implement of seclusion orders set by Edo Bakufu which was the federal regime in 1633, Japan got its opportunity to raise its own culture, which was called Japanese national culture. Japanese national culture was the combination of Japanese local culture and what it had absorbed and digested from the Chinese main land. Its significances were represented by the popularity of Buddhism, the flourish of plastic art and the prosperity of literature. Moreover Japanese national culture valued aristocracy, which made the architecture, painting, and literature in that era delicate and elegant.

After Meiji Reformation in 1868, Japan began to experience fast modernization. The Meiji Restoration was a kind of modernization drive undertaken by the emerging Japanese bourgeoisie. Occidental civilization replaced the Japanese traditional culture and occupied the dominant position. The rapid absorption of Western culture brought a bunch of changes to Japanese’s lives. Depended on its economic erection, Japanese also absorbed American mass culture, such as sports, movie and other recreational culture. After 1920, Japanese war policy put a great limitation on the the import of western culture in the World War ll. However, their defeat in the war gave American an opportunity to promote the western culture and democratization in Japan. At the same time, the opinions that against Japanese culture became more and more strong. A lot of tradition was lost in this time era. Japanese had to reevaluate their culture, looking for a new path to develop their culture.

2.History of Japanese Manga and Animation as subculture

Manga in Japan was developed from 12 century. Choju-Jinbutsu-Giga Emaki in Kei An era which described the birds and animals in an anthropopathic way, was valued as the Japanese oldest manga work.

Choju-Jinbutsu-Giga Emaki in Hei An era is evaluated as the origin of Japanese manga.

In 1862, Japan Punch was published in Yokohama, from then on, more and more manga magazines were offered to the public and the manga industry met its first prosperity. In World War ll, the economic depression, the lack of paper, the rules and policy of government and other social factors worked together to push Japanese manga industry into recession. Japanese manga did not revive until the end of the war. In 1954, Nakayoshi, which focused on publishing mushy manga to young women, started publication. In 1959, Jump was founded, which later became a great plat for thousands of manga artists. The most representative works in Japanese manga history in the nascent stage after World War ll is Tezuka Osamu‘s Astroboy. Astroboy did also put great influence on the development of Japanese manga. From fifty century, a growing number of manga artist were inspired and enlightened by Tezuka Osamu.

With the improvement of TV technology, most of popular manga began to be translated to the screen, and this is the start of Japanese animation epoch. Since 1990’s, the manga industry further extended. The number of manga magazines has been climbing steadily, and at the same time online-manga emerged as the times required.

Some professional insists the opinion that the beginning of Japanese manga should date back to the time that the US was military occupying Japan after World War ll, putting stress on the great influence that American culture put on Japanese manga, including the comic books, TV-series, Hollywood movies and Disney cartoon, which were brought to Japan by American soldiers. An obvious example is Astroboy. The big and round eyes and the simple body figure which were the symbols of Disney cartoon figure can also be find on the characters in Astroboy.

What drive the development of Japanese manga in the past 50 years after World War ll was the strong need of Japanese citizens. It was their strong desire of entertainment, and their imperious demand for a outlet of emotion. Manga and animation can build a world, in which, people unfulfilled dream would come true. In Japanese manga and animation, normal people always be given some impossible mission, or gain some magic power. In this way, people in the boring and tedious real lives being inspired.

Japanese Manga and Animation Industry
In Japan, manga/anime industry has already established a mature industry chain. Adolescents and Adult are their target market. Manga and animation are not exclusively belong to children. The main stream works are full of elements and plots from action movies and idol dramas, evenly, some of them are associated with sexual attention. To attract audience, manga is always entertaining, however, at the same time, manga also attach great importance to the depth of works. Many fictions in manga reflects the dark side of humanity via describing the life, death and wars. Animation is always adapted from manga, deepens the influence of manga and expands its target market. High quality content and distinct orientation were helpful to created a market of manga and animation in their nascent stage to against American comic and cartoon. Meanwhile, the increase of audience also made great contribution to the growth of this industry. Manga and animation which focus on Japanese's demands sooner occupied the dominant position of the market, moreover, they also developed some popular in other Asian countries.

The maturity of Japan manga industry is also reflected by the manga/animation related products. There are two kinds of related products, core hobby and light hobby. Core hobby, such as sculpts and models, is always of little practical use, but has great collective values, and thus core hobby is very expensive. Light hobby is relatively cheaper practical product. In Japan, collecting models of their favorite manga/anime characters is the biggest interest of Otaku.
The room of an Otaku.
Core Hobby
Light Hobby

From the prospect of their cultural impact, manga and animation have generate a wave of role-playing, named cosplay, abbreviation of costume play. Modern cosplay is evaluated as a kind of active of subculture. Fans dress up to represent the role from popular manga, anime and games. Cosplay is seditious, rebellious and full of innovations. Coser can adapt the plots based on their own ideas. Cosplay is also value as subculture activities for is rebellious cultural elements. In this era, our society has put too much pressure on adolescents and young adults. School, family and other social institutions establish a fixed model for the growth of youth, who always feel repulsion to this kind of life. Their fascination towards cosplay represents their refusing to the society.

The manga/anime industry cooperates with other industries especially Fashion industry and Movie industry. Takashi Murakami’s cooperation with Louis Vuitton is the good example to the world how manga/anime industry can work with other industries to grow its impact in the world. This year, Gucci’s work with Hirohiko Araki gives the world anothershock. Manga/animation is not only a kind of entertainment, it is the art, the subculture, narrowing down the gap between high art and mass culture.

Gucci cooperates with Hirohiko Araki

4.History of Chinese Manga(current situation: theChinese popular Manga and animation)

Chinese people are always proud of their long time history. Retrospecting history is one of their favorite behavior to find their losing confidence back. Ironically, running back over the past of Chinese manga reveals why Chinese mange lost its game in the world manga industry. Manga was evaluated as one of the most active and outstanding type of painting in Chinese modern art history, however, ironically it is from the politic perspective. In the late Qing dynasty and early Republican China, manga was called satirical drawing. The rise of manga was closely connected to the Bourgeois democratic revolutionary movements and the anti-imperialist battles.

During the War of Resistance Against Japan and the War of Liberation, manga was a weapon. The Communist party utilized manga to disseminate its political principle, inspire the public and indirected co-ordinated with the war.
In the war time, manga was an political weapon of the Communist Party in China

After the founding of the People’s Republic of China, new climax happened in manga creation. In spite of playing an crucial role in the movement to resist the US aggression and aid Korea, manga also exerted function in reflecting the contradictions among the people. From then on, manga continued making contribution on improving the ideological and moral quality of Chinese until the Chinese Cultural Revolution.
In the Chinese Cultural Revolution, most manga artists suffered persecution. Not only manga, but the whole modern art was almost died at that time period. After the end of the Cultural Revolution, manga regained its life, it mainly worked on revealing and criticizing the social malady and erroneous ideas of every descriptions.

Contemporary manga and animation emphasize entertaining more than before, but they can not escape from Chinese political environment. Young artists are trying hard to find out their own path avoiding the influence of politics, they are gaining their inspiration from people’s daily lives. However, since most of the manga artists began to read Japanese manga from their early age, their works are greatly influenced by Japanese artists and are always evaluated as the imitations of Japanese manga. On the other hand, there are some manga and animation producing companies in China imitate the Japanese popular works purposely.

Kuiba, the animation movie in 2011.
the work of a younger Chinese manga artist. The Japanese influence is very obvious.

Now, in China, manga and animation industry does not have a mature industry chain. it is still in the nascent stage, that are too weak to against Japanese or western manga and animation industries. It needs more time to find out an appropriate path.

5.Factors that limited the development of Chinese Manga
  • 5000-years culture
China has a 5000-years culture, and Chinese people are always proud of it. But for me, this 5000-years culture is a heave burden lying on Chinese’s shouder rather than proud. First of all, it establishes a fixed thinking model. Secondly, Chinese cultural tradition is too heavy to be broken down and overcame. Thirdly, it makes most Chinese feel satisfied about what they think they are holding in their hand and thus lack of the motivation to create new things. Actually, recent years, even Chinese are more and more exposed to the western culture, some of them are still tend to refuse to the new things. Without the heavy burden of cultural history, Japan seems more active in accepting and absorbing new cultures. Japanese can enjoy the western culture and they know how to utilize the elements of western culture to generate new cultural products with their own traditions.

  • Confucianism
Confucianism which is the mainstream in Chinese culture, had influenced China for more than 2000 years. As we all know that Confucianism worked as a tool utilized by ruling classes in Feudal society to maintain its stability. And in the process of history development, Confucianism generated its own distinct cultural products, which I think limited Chinese’s ability to innovate.On the one hand, Confucianism encourage people to show respect to the older generation, to obey their comments, and to follow their path. On the other hand, Confucianism insists strict moral system. Long time limiting themselves in the strict moral system makes Chinese to be used to sacrifice their own desire to maintaining the harmony of the whole society. Thus Chinese people always have difficulties to express what they really want, especially when their desires are related to money, materials and sex. When it becomes to kind of shame, how could Chinese create manga and animations as Japanese do and treat it as the works of culture.

  • culture revolution
The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, often abbreviated as the Cultural Revolution, was a political and cultural movement that lasted from 1966 to 1976. The Cultural Revolution was launched and developed by Chairman Mao, who was supposed to utilize this campaign to eliminate the capitalist elements in Chinese society and unify citizens’ mind after such a long political and cultural chaos. As one can see, the Cultural Revolution was an instrument used to eliminate the different voices and minds of individuals, as well as the capitalist elements of society. Depending on his great control on human mind and Chinese society, Chinese people were closed to the western world. Without contacting and absorbing different culture, Chinese had to maintain and insist their old traditions and value systems. Moreover, the backward economic caused by Cultural revolution made Chinese focus on working and producing, and reduced their attention on entertainment.

  • political influence
In the history of Chinese manga, it was always a tool of government to disseminate other political ideas. In the recent decades, although some of the modern Chinese has pay more attention on the issues outside political world, especially human need of entertainment, there are still many artists use manga and animations to please the government or to express their own political ideas. Every time when political element involves itself with culture, it put itself in a higher lever position making the culture kind of isolated to the public. Moreover, manga and animation can only gain development as a way of entertainment. Public’s need can not be satisfied by political manga and animation. What they need is a way to relax, to release their emotion, and to make themselves happy.Many companies who are making manga and animation, works for government. Without the drive of market requirement, they are always lack of the motivation to innovate and improve their works, and thus lose the competition power when they facing Japan and western manga and animation industry.

  • the target market
The market orientation is another essential factors that limits the growth of Chinese manga/anime industry. In China, manga and animation are made for the young children. On one side, it means these manga and animations always have the function of eduction. Traditional Chinese moral concepts which have melted into the manga and animation stop adult and adolescent from enjoying manga and animation. On the other side, children are the group that lack of purchasing power, they can only ask their parents to pay for what they are interested in. The less revenue of Chinese manga and animation further restricts its growth.

In japan, manga and animation has its own mature Industry chain. The popular manga will be made to animation, and some of them may be translated into the big screen. Manga and animation related products are developed. From the big airplane to the small pencils, different kinds of core hobby and light hobby are made to attract customers. Moreover, every years hundreds of manga and animation festivals are held in different places in Japan, which provides great opportunities to introduce new works, collect information and advertise for companies. Manga and animation have already became part of Japanese‘s lives, no matter which age group they are belong to, but in China, they are only the one-hour entertainment for children in kindergartens.

6.The future direction of Chinese Manga/animation
  • Reduce political influence
Most of Chinese modern art is under the shadow of politics. To pursue the future development, eliminating the political elements in manga and animation in one of the most important steps to be done. What Chinese people need now is diversified entertainments. Along with the development of economics, people have a growing demands on cultural lives. Instead of political instruments, people need pure entertainment to escape from the heavy living burdens. Moreover, the negative attitudes of Chinese towards politics also shows that only the works without political elements can gain the attention from the audience. A great example shows the failure of political animation in recent years is Lei Feng in 2010. Based on the official data, Chinese government invested 21 million RMB to make this animation. Lei Feng has been disseminated as the moral example in the last 40 years. All of Chinese grown up under the influence of his story. But it seems like in this new age, people are not interested in the role model set by the government any more.
Lei Feng
  • Nationalism
Nationalism or internationalism which decides the future direction of Chinese manga and animation can always trigger the debates. From my perspective, nationalism is more important in the recent stage. Although internationalism in the art works can attract international concern, Chinese manga and animation will lose competition power without nationalism. The Monkey King in 1964 was the first long animation in China. Chinese traditional elements, such as the techniques of Chinese ink -and-wash painting, were utilized in the work. Even Tezuka Osamu, the father of Astro Boy, also appreciated the value of The Monkey King.
the Monkey King

However, after entering 80 centuries, manga and animation which were strongly destroyed in the Cultural Revolution was too impulsive to get on the right path. The success that Japanese gained strongly irritated some Chinese professionals. They try to find out a shortcut to catch up with Japan and the US. Many unskilled intimations are brought to the world. The Dinosaur Baby in 2011 is almost the same with the famous Japanese animation Digital Monster in figure design and story plot. Chinese audiences are losing their confidence when facing so many trashes. If a work can not even attract its own audience how can it open the foreign market? Conversely, Hollywood has begun utilizing Chinese elements in their animations as their selling points, such as Kong fu Panda series, Chinese should not ignore the value of nationalism anymore. The basic reason of why Japanese manga and animation can exist and develop when facing the western manga industry in its nascent stage was the emphasis they put on their national cultural style.
Chinese animation Dinosaur Baby(up) is really similar with Japanese famous Digital Monster(down)

  • Expand target market
Reducing the educational and political elements will allow more opportunities for Chinese manga and animation industry to expand its market to the older age groups. Xiyangyang which is the most popular animation in China can clearly indicate the current condition of Chinese manga/animation industry. Manga/animation that are made for lower-age kids prevent this industry from importing new technology, adding cultural elements and being personalized. It closed the market to the group who has the purchasing power, whose need should be the guide of the whole industry. Focusing on the low-age group will stop Chinese manga/industry from build its own mature industry chain.
Xiyangyang("喜羊羊与灰太郎"in Chinese) is the most popular animation in China in 2020.

Japanese manga and animation industry is a good example to follow. In China, many core hobby and light hobby are imported from Japan illegally. This condition shows that China has a large potential market to develop manga and animation industry. Moreover, Cosplay is also popular in China, more and more adolescents upload their photos of playing cosplay to the social network websites, exchanging information on the BBS. It is obvious that China has already had a cultural environment for manga and animation.

  • Cooperating with other industry
Chinese manga/animation industry is not only weak but also isolated from other industries. It limited its own developing opportunities, especially in the fierce competition. Takashi Murakami’s Hiropon Factory is a great example to draw lessons from. In Hiropon Factory, there are artist from different art fields, such as fashion designer 20471120, photographer Masafumi Sanai and animation director Koji Morimoto. It is their fantastic works that expand manga/animation industry in other fields. It is not the cooperation with Louis Vuitton that brings Takashi Murakami to the international stage, but it does make the name of Takashi Murakami and his idea of superflat heard by more people. To build up its presence, Chines manga/animation industry should break down the fence between itself and other industries. It is the time to take manga/animation as an important part of art, not the political instrument or the toy for kid which has educational function.

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