Japan to get its 1st high school ‘manga studies’ department, to start classes by 2023

Tokyo, Japan Published: Sep 13, 2021, 07:42 PM(IST)

In this picture taken on March 6, 2020, Japanese manga artist Makoto Kobayashi works on his judo manga series on a computer screen in Tokyo Photograph:( AFP )

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Manga—commonly referred to as comics all over the world—are a part of Japanese popular culture, constituting a large market worth almost 613 billion Japanese yen in 2020.

Japan, the land of anime and manga which enjoys great readership all over the world, will be getting its first high school “manga studies” department in the country, local authorities announced on Monday.

The department is expected to come up at Kumamoto Prefectural Takamori High School in the town of Takamori as early as spring 2023, the Kumamoto Prefectural Board of Education said.

The move is aimed to revitalize the school by tapping both the public and private sectors to give students the opportunity to learn directly from industry experts, including professional manga artists.

Manga—commonly referred to as comics all over the world—are a part of Japanese popular culture, constituting a large market worth almost 613 billion Japanese yen in 2020.

Manga is a type of comic specifically produced in Japan which follows a certain style that was developed in the country as a mixture of Japanese and foreign influences. 

According to the prefectural education board, there are already university departments and special high school courses where students can study manga to an expert level, but establishing an entire high school department dedicated to the craft is a first in Japan.

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Under a partnership agreement with Tokyo-based manga publisher Coamix Co., manga artists and editors will teach drawing techniques, manga knowledge, and other facets of the industry.

During the partnership agreement signing ceremony held at the Kumamoto Prefectural Government headquarters on September 8, Coamix board member Shuichi Mochida said, “We'd like to lay out a framework under which students can make their professional debut while attending the school.”

Prefectural education board head Yoichi Koga added, “We'll proceed with the preparations so that it (the new department) can become a model for enhancing the appeal of prefectural high schools.”

According to an estimate, France represents about 40% of the European manga market published in the country. In the United States, manga comprises a small (but growing) industry.

Apart from the US and Europe, manga reportedly enjoys great readership in other English-speaking nations like Canada, Australia and New Zealand with manga being quite popular in Australia compared to other English speaking countries.

(With inputs from agencies)

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