View Chapters

Book: Anime, Religion and Spirituality

Chapter: Japanese Modernity and the Manga and Anime Art Forms

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.25887


This chapter examines the emergence of the manga and anime forms in terms of the historical development of Japanese artistic modes that are antecedent to these forms, and also through consideration of the development of Japanese modernity. It is argued that the manga and anime forms and Japanese modernity both retain traditional Eastern religious and aesthetic concerns, while freely appropriating Western religious and aesthetic motifs, which results in a unique new cultural synthesis that is equally appealing to Eastern and Western audiences. The intention of this chapter is to demonstrate that the earliest precursors of manga are a number of centuries old and that manga, and thus anime, is deeply embedded in the history of Japanese art, religion and life, as highlighted in certain studies. This interpretation is important in that it offers an alternative to the claim that the origins of the comic book aesthetic are European, and that the influence of Walt Disney (1901–1966) on early manga illustrators is more important than their Japanese forebears.

Chapter Contributors

  • Katherine Buljan ( - kbuljan) 'Independent scholar'
  • Carole M Cusack ( - carolecusack) 'University of Sydney'