Senseless or Sensible?: The Values of Manga (Japanese Comics) as a Popular Cultural Product in the Thai Society


  • Weerayuth Podsatiangool Faculty of Liberal Arts, Thammasat University
  • Jiraporn Phornprapha Faculty of Liberal Arts, Thammasat University


manga, Japanese comics, popular cultural product


“Stop reading manga. It’s useless.” is a common sermon preached by parents to their kids. To many parents, manga is not a book worth reading but imaginative, shallow and nonsense reading material. Manga is often condemned as the cause of social problems in relation to kids and teenagers. Although Japanese manga and animation have gained popularity among Thai children since 1970s, it is merely recognized for the entertainment and economic values for manga and animation importers. These values are usually limited to the publishing industry, media, and character merchandising. Nevertheless, every coin has two sides. For the Japanese studies, manga reflects culture, how Japanese view and understand the world, and historical context at the time of publication. For other disciplines, the studies of manga which reflect other kinds of values are still limited. To identify that manga has contributed to Thai society in other aspects, related literatures are reviewed. This paper discusses values of Japanese manga for Thai society, namely, psychoanalysis, young adult literature, alternative sexuality, religion and philosophy, marketing, and innovation. Ultimately, it is this paper’s objective to ignite a spark of interest in the study of manga from multidisciplinary perspectives.


วีรยุทธ พจน์เสถียรกุล. (2562). หยินหยาง เพศสภาพลื่นไหลดุจสายน้ำ--แค่สาดน้ำก็แปลงเพศได้กับ “รันม่า”. สืบค้นเมื่อ 28 กรกฎาคม 2562 จาก

Translated Thai References
Podsatiangool, W. (2019 [2562]). Yin Yang Phet Saphap Luen Lai Dut Sainam--Khae Sat Nam Ko Plaeng Phet Dai Kap “Ran Ma”. Retrieved July 28, 2019, from

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How to Cite

Podsatiangool, W., & Phornprapha, J. (2019). Senseless or Sensible?: The Values of Manga (Japanese Comics) as a Popular Cultural Product in the Thai Society. Thai Journal of East Asian Studies, 23(2), 384–398. Retrieved from



Special Section: Popular Culture in Thailand and Beyond