Manga: Educational and Entertaining

Manga Used to Teach Subjects
 Manga is what we know as a form of entertainment.  Readers indulge in manga to let loose and lose themselves in a fictional story that takes them on great adventures. Manga can be seen as a form of visual art, but can it also be educational? Some will agree and some will disagree, but manga is already being used as an educational resource in many ways.

If we're looking for educational uses of manga, the best place to look would be it's country of origin, Japan. As seen on the rest of this blog, manga and anime is very prevalent in Japanese culture. We can take this a step further and make note of the importance of art in their culture. Certainly everyone in Japan does not wish to become an artist as a profession, but if this is the case, why does art hold so much importance?

 Manga Characters Used to Educate
Let's examine the workings of the Japanese school system. From the writings of Matthew Swift, we can take a look at his article found here. Education in Japan is a first class example of the better uses of manga. We can see that the students use art not just for career, but for the benefits that come with it.

I think this is quite interesting, because here in America, we tend to focus on the things that create the most income, or interests that are most suitable for careers. For this reason, art is usually pushed off as something that is unnecessary to learn, and we have this false sense of belief that we are unable to create art. Many state that due to "lack of artistic talent" they cannot draw and cannot be taught to draw. I think this is preposterous, as anyone can learn how to create art.

Manga Explaining Biochemistry
From looking at Japan, we can see that they don't put as much emphasis on the career side, but they see the other benefits from learning instead. It's similar to learning for the sake of knowledge. There's no reason why someone shouldn't learn how to do something, even if they don't intend to use it for a higher purpose, the act of learning will provide them with benefits. If more emphasis was placed on this like in Japan, where "completing a piece of work or learning drawing skills particular to comics/animation, students can enhance their concentration and broaden their perspectives."

Manga University promotes manga education.
There's even an organization that pushes this. If you haven't heard of them before they're known as the Manga University and can be found at this website. While not a real school, their personal motto is pushing manga to be used as more than entertainment, but as an educational means. The company provides us with even more examples of  the usefulness of manga, a few being to teach others, instruct, or guide. They even sell products and offer classes to aspiring artists who may not receive the support they need from others. If you've ever had a dream to become a manga artist you should definitely check them out.

While Manga University is a great starting point, there are even other places making an effort to push esteemed visual arts such as manga in the educational system. We can take a look at a Japanese school by the name of Kyoto Seika. The university understands the importance of such art and pushes manga in the form of a degree program. Kyoto Seika is another opening for aspiring artists, to let their voices be heard in the form of comics.

Despite all of this advancement in Japan, we have yet to see much take place in America. I think this is somewhat of a problem, but mainly has to do with the different aspects of culture. Japan sees their art as more than just childish creations, and wishes to use them to their full potential. America is a bit different, while things are changing, most see manga and anime is seen as something geared towards children due to ignorance or misunderstandings. Art is seen as a field that isn't good for a career, and art degrees are constantly shown on the "Worst Degrees to Have" lists.

If we were to change our outlook on the art and take it seriously, it would definitely create a better society. Why would we not take the arts seriously, when it influences our lives in many ways: the music we hear everyday, the anime and manga we view, even the video games we play. All of these can be considered art. They have an effect on us and shape us into the people we are to this day. If we were to take art more seriously as a culture, and combine it with technology, anything would be possible.
From Shonen Jump's manga competition, artists from all over the world had the opportunity to share their art.

A few links to check out if you wish to support the arts such as manga and anime.

Kyoto Seika University

Manga University
 
Shonen Jump

Sustain the Industry

Sources 


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