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The Deluge of Manga: Is this my hallucination, or a conspiracy by bad guys?

To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.
- Henri Bergson (1859-1941)

Simply, neither is the case here.

"Deluge" is the only word I can think of to describe the overwhelming flood of Manga in this country. In 2011, 968 million copies of comic books and magazines were read by the Japanese, from prime ministers to corporate executives, to yakuza gangsters, to the homeless. But this is only part of it. On TV and the Internet, and in movie theaters, they saw another myriad of animated Manga called Anime.

Besides, they often read supposedly serious books as a high-end alternative to Manga. George Orwell's Ninety Eighty-Four, for one, has deeply resonated with Japanese Manga lovers, although it hasn't been published in the Manga format thus far.

You may not believe, but remember Manga is a visual, or audiovisual aid that allows its readers to escape from reality. To these defeatist-minded, change-phobic people, it doesn't matter whether the story is about a utopia or a dystopia. How sweet it must be to imagine we are all doomed. For sure, it's as irresistible as fantasizing about yourself surrounded by cuties all in the nude.

This makes comic books and magazines the tip of the tip of the iceberg.

And if you think some cabal is hatching a plot to lull the Japanese people into a fantasy world, you are caught in a delusion, too. No matter how far the process of degeneration has progressed in this country, the Japanese still remain human beings, though they've come very close to apes now. They could have thwarted the "conspiracy" if they hadn't chosen on their own to go for Manga as a harmless substitute for the object of their innate imagination.

In other words, it's none other than themselves who wanted to escape from reality. Jean-Paul Sartre called this behavior Mauvaise foi (self-deception.)

This makes you think that although it's too late for the Japanese to stem the torrent, the American people can still reverse the process of their Japanization if they somehow find a way to overcome their deep-seated change-phobia.

In this respect, well-educated Americans may not necessarily lead the way. They tend to distance themselves from the influence of the Manga-immersed Japanese culture so as not to look vulgar. But it's a futile attempt. These people can convert to Manga addicts on the slightest cue because they are unaware that the problem lies with people, not in Manga itself.

French philosopher Henri Bergson observed that intuition and imagination play the pivotal role in our developmental process. For a certain period of time in my childhood, I was also hooked on Manga. And I think Manga helped nurture my creativity. But if you become addicted to it, as the Japanese all did, it's inevitable that delusion takes the place of an unstunted imagination.

Traditionally, in the U.S., and the U.K. to a lesser degree, there are lots of criticisms against Bergson's theory. An unnamed person on this website argues: "Bergson seldom offers proof or logical procedure to substantiate his statements. He asserts; he does not deduce his ideas from verifiable facts. .... Such intellectual pursuits appeal to metaphysical 'concepts' that by their very nature lie beyond the possibility of verification. .... Consequently, as is the case with so much philosophical jargon, such claims as Bergson's are epistemic nonsense." This is a typical argument based on the simplistic positivism and empiricism particular to Anglo-Saxons.

These guys are all mistaken simply because they forget that Bergson single-mindedly sought an answer to Zeno's proposition about a motionless, frozen world.

I will never accept the American version of Zeno's paradoxes, which I'm inclined to call "Imperial Determinism," because it is solely meant to preserve the status quo of Pax Americana. It provides a plausible alibi for the American people who keep playing dumb about their inability to stop their colonialist government from pursuing its "morally obscene and financially unsustainable" (Chalmers Johnson) interventionist policy.

Actually, there are more level-headed people who have been challenging the paradoxes from the mathematics or physics point of view. But we Asians don't want to become mathematicians or physicians so we could come up with an actionable plan to overcome all these difficulties brought in this region by the worst rogue country in history named America.

After all, the answer given by Diogenes the Cynic (412-323 BC) is the most straightforward and convincing. When asked about his take on Zeno's arguments, Diogenes just stood up without saying a word, and walked, in order to demonstrate the falsity of Zeno's conclusions.

Zoren Kierkegaard expressed a similar thought when he wrote in his diary: "It is quite true what philosophy says: that life must be understood backwards. But that makes one forget the other saying: that it must be lived forwards."

It's always we people that choose between the two options: step out of Zeno's prison, which we have fenced ourselves in, by fully unleashing our imagination and creative thinking, or untiringly cite dozens of theories or assorted historical facts as the reason for our inaction. ·

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The Deluge of Manga: Am I experiencing hallucination, or is it some conspiracy?
Authored by: samwidge on Sunday, December 02 2012 @ 11:12 AM JST

If you have ten bugs, you can feed or starve those bugs. You can study and manipulate. But if you have a ton of bugs, you can only run away.

With humans it is the same. You can study, nurture and even manipulate ten humans. But if you have a million humans, you can only run away.

Manga, with its many millions, has increased American interest in and respect for the Japanese. That looks like a benefit but we cannot be sure.
The Deluge of Manga: Am I experiencing hallucination, or is it some conspiracy?
Authored by: Y.Yamamoto on Sunday, December 02 2012 @ 11:25 AM JST


I appreciate your straight comments very much although I don't think your bug analogy is accurate. Human beings are not bugs, let alone "respectable" ones.

Yu Yamamoto
The Deluge of Manga: Is it my hallucination, or a conspiracy by bad guys?
Authored by: Diogenes on Tuesday, December 04 2012 @ 10:12 PM JST
I was agonizing over how to respond to this. Then I remembered Charles Bukowski’s poem “Dinosauria, We”

This is my response by proxy.

Born like this
Into this
As the chalk faces smile
As Mrs. Death laughs
As the elevators break
As political landscapes dissolve
As the supermarket bag boy holds a college degree
As the oily fish spit out their oily prey
As the sun is masked
We are
Born like this
Into this
Into these carefully mad wars
Into the sight of broken factory windows of emptiness
Into bars where people no longer speak to each other
Into fist fights that end as shootings and knifings
Born into this
Into hospitals which are so expensive that it's cheaper to die
Into lawyers who charge so much it's cheaper to plead guilty
Into a country where the jails are full and the madhouses closed
Into a place where the masses elevate fools into rich heroes
Born into this
Walking and living through this
Dying because of this
Muted because of this
Because of this
Fooled by this
Used by this
Pissed on by this
Made crazy and sick by this
Made violent
Made inhuman
By this
The heart is blackened
The fingers reach for the throat
The gun
The knife
The bomb
The fingers reach toward an unresponsive god
The fingers reach for the bottle
The pill
The powder
We are born into this sorrowful deadliness
We are born into a government 60 years in debt
That soon will be unable to even pay the interest on that debt
And the banks will burn
Money will be useless
There will be open and unpunished murder in the streets
It will be guns and roving mobs
Land will be useless
Food will become a diminishing return
Nuclear power will be taken over by the many
Explosions will continually shake the earth
Radiated robot men will stalk each other
The rich and the chosen will watch from space platforms
Dante's Inferno will be made to look like a children's playground
The sun will not be seen and it will always be night
Trees will die
All vegetation will die
Radiated men will eat the flesh of radiated men
The sea will be poisoned
The lakes and rivers will vanish
Rain will be the new gold
The rotting bodies of men and animals will stink in the dark wind
The last few survivors will be overtaken by new and hideous diseases
And the space platforms will be destroyed by attrition
The petering out of supplies
The natural effect of general decay
And there will be the most beautiful silence never heard
Born out of that.
The sun still hidden there
Awaiting the next chapter.

Here’s Bukowski reading an amended version of this from one of the documentary films on his life
The Deluge of Manga: Is it my hallucination, or a conspiracy by bad guys?
Authored by: Y.Yamamoto on Wednesday, December 05 2012 @ 02:08 AM JST

I was looking forward to your feedback because you are an exceptional American who can think in a principled way, and in turn, make me think accordingly. I always appreciate your input because it's never a non sequitur.

Poetry is used more often than not as a vehicle that sends you on a hegira from reality of cul-de-sac. Wikipedia says the inscription on his gravestone reads: "Don't try." But I don't smell too much sense of defeat and resignation from this particular piece by Charles Bukowski.

I think if Dinosauria, We somehow entered your mind when you were pondering on the issue at hand, it can be an important starting point. As Bergson argued, intuition or inspiration is one of the most important elements of creative thinking. He once wrote: "Some other faculty than the intellect is necessary for the apprehension of reality."

People always say, necessity is the mother of invention. Then, intuition is the father.

As to your offline comment on the tendency of the Japanese to go for supposedly serious books such as George Orwell's as high-end alternative to Manga, I'll try some analysis in the next post.

Yu Yamamoto
The Deluge of Manga: Is it my hallucination, or a conspiracy by bad guys?
Authored by: Diogenes on Wednesday, December 05 2012 @ 04:52 AM JST
Just to be clear about Bukowski's gravestone words, he was a notorious barfly, drunk, and brawler. His father was a son of a bitch that needed to be flattened, which Bukowski did when he was sixteen...."Pow!" The old man went down for the count! That's what he meant by "Don't try!" Meaning, "Challenge me and I'll flatten ya!"