Manga, Anime, and Religion in Contemporary Japan

Drawing on Tradition
Manga and anime (illustrated serial novels and animated films) are highly influential Japanese entertainment media that boast tremendous domestic consumption as well as worldwide distribution and an international audience. Drawing on Tradition: Manga, Anime, and Religion in Contemporary Japan, by Jolyon Baraka Thomas, examines religious aspects of the culture of manga and anime production and consumption through a methodological synthesis of narrative and visual analysis, history, and ethnography.

“Studies of religion in popular culture often treat contemporary artifacts as if they are created ex nihilo, objects unmoored from any previous media or cultural conditions. Jolyon Baraka Thomas here charts a new course for engaging religion and the media of popular culture by demonstrating the myriad ways manga and anime matter. Such popular media matter to the creation of culture, to religion and the study thereof, as well as to the sometimes violent expressions of the extremities of faith. Thomas’ suggestive book ably proves that these comics are not the ‘funny papers,’ but deeply serious, just as they can be seriously playful.” —S. Brent Plate, author of Religion and Film: Cinema and the Re-Creation of the World, and managing editor of Material Religion: The Journal of Objects, Art, and Belief

September 2012 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3654-2 / $25.00 (PAPER)