A review after reading "What is manga?: The influence of pop culture in adolescent art"
What is manga?: The influence of pop culture in adolescent art; Masami Toku Art Education; Mar 2001; 54, 2; Research Library
Research (Toku 1998, 2000; Wilson, 1997, 1999, 2000) suggests that Japanese children are an exception to the tendency to lose interest in art as they grow up. This means that during adolescence, Japanese children tend to continue to acquire the art of presenting visual narratives in the form of manga or manga.
Piagetians, including Lowenfeld and Brittain (1970), describe artistic learning as a theory invoking a hierarchical linear progression of cognitive development. However, it has been argued that children's artistic development is not always linear, and that artistic abilities often stop at the transition to art in adolescence. Read (1958), for example, explains that most artistic abilities decline between the ages of 11 and 14 due to loss of motivation and loss of artistic creativity.
Children begin to realize their limits in creating realistic art. They also begin to compete with their peers and judge the relative worth of their work. This external marriage is related to the social environment. Also, children become sensitive to the criticism of art teachers.
In the case of Japanese children, even after graduating from a Korean school, they continue to acquire skills to express their visual motives through manga rather than art at school. This means that instead of stopping expressing oneself through art, one develops problem-solving skills and learns visual skills to express one's thoughts through the visual representation of comics. (Wilson, 1995)
In this era, understanding the mechanism of influence of pop culture elements on the artistic development of Japanese children can predict the trend of American children's artistic development in the near future. These days, regardless of culture, the influence of popular culture on children's artistic development cannot be ignored.
Literally meaning “humorous drawings,” cartoons originally began as simple caricatures, as in other countries such as the United States. The origins of manga probably go back to the Chojugiga (two animals) depicted by the 12th-century painter and monk Kakuyu or Toba (1153-1140). (Yagiyama, 1990, Shotu 1983)
Comics evolved into graphic narratives through the work of Hokusai Katsushika (1760-1849), who depicted ukiyo-e, or floating worlds. As the age of readers of comics expanded from children to teenagers and adults, comics gradually developed into an original style of Japanese comic books, reflecting the need to portray the complexity of human drama in graphic narratives. This trend emerged after World War II under the influence of American comic books and Disney animations.
Comics have the elements of comics: pictures (depicting objects and shapes, words, speech bubbles, frames) (Natsume, 1997)
The function of each element in comics differs from that in American comic books, as comics have evolved from simple caricatures or tales of good versus evil to complex stories involving different themes, such as:
In comics, each element has an important function to describe a meta level of space and psyche corresponding to a complex story.
The new generation who have been exposed to comics start to have higher expectations for the story as they get older.
Along with readers' expectations, the story of comics developed to express more human drama than caricatures or mere short stories.
Along with Japan's economic development in the 1970s and 1980s, the comics market developed rapidly and comics themselves became popular culture. For Japanese children, cartoons were appealing as a visual means to realize their dreams and become anything they wanted in virtual reality. (Wilson, 1988, 1997)
In response to this popular culture phenomenon, the Japanese Ministry of Education decided in 1998 to reflect the benefits of popular culture in the compulsory education, state-designated art education curriculum for the 8th and 9th grades.
By drawing ordinary life scenes in sequential frames through cartoons, students become interested in the life and nature around them. These cartoon activities provide students with an opportunity to find their own identity by making art more meaningful and portraying themselves in a narrative story.
The role of an art teacher is not simply to teach art production skills or the absolute value of art by simply doing art or appreciating art works. Rather, it is about how to draw interest and motivation for the creation of art so that students can find themselves in their own way. Through the process of making the work and the critique of the work, you will discover what art means to your life while contemplating what the work is. To do so, as a teacher, you should introduce various ways of creating art as self-expression, including the various values of different cultures.
Art teachers often have difficulty creating art programs that encourage students to create their own meaningful things. In particular, adolescence is physically like an adult, but mentally it is still developing. As a result, if we introduce our own values without thinking about students' tastes and aesthetics in art, we will face problems.
To find out which art themes are most attractive to students, you need to open your eyes and see what is happening in the world.
If there is a popular culture that attracts children's attention, such as cartoons, it is necessary to identify its strengths and weaknesses and examine the possibility of applying it to art education.
Japanese pop culture critic Natsume said, ‘When you learn something, you need a driving force to like, be interested in, and have fun. In particular, it is necessary to find something that can motivate students to learn and develop critical thinking skills for students who are in a period of losing interest or motivation for art in the first year of middle school. Using the mechanics of cartoons, we might be able to help students find their own identities through narrative art. It is time to re-evaluate popular culture and motivate students to create their own values and identities by critiquing art.
Myungja Anna Koh