Manga are the famous comics that have come to define Japan around the world, although Japanese above a certain age will also use the term for animation shown on television rather than in printed form. I learned about manga comics in the 1980s and I was instantly captivated by this “new” art form, although of course it’s not new at all. Manga, which literally means “whimsical pictures,” was invented by the Edo Period by ukiyo-e artist Hokusai, who created pretty much every famous picture of old Japan you’ve ever seen, from Red Fuji to the Great Wave Off Yokohama. Today, manga is used extensively for education, like the manga-based books on Japanese history bookstores overflow with, as well as for the dissemination of information to the public on earthquake preparedness. Now moe manga style art is being used to recruit for the Japanese military, as in the above image created by the Tokushima Prefecture SDF, which reads, “The more to learn about a career in the Self-Defense Forces, the more you realize it’s a job you can take pride in!” Doesn’t it make you want to sign up?
A moe illustration recruiting for the Japanese Self-Defense Forces.