Beyond Otaku Community to Global Business: Manga in Academia—a Literature Review


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


manga, cultural studies, innovation studies, literature review, economic value


Comics is commonly appreciated for its entertaining value but ignored for other values due to its lack of seriousness. Japanese comics is in no way an exception. Despite its popularity in the global market, manga is the reading material that is far from being intellectual. However, the study on manga suggested differently. Manga is treated with seriousness in academia. This article reviewed how manga was studied in various aspects. It was found that manga was studied from multidisciplinary, mainly from cultural studies. Other studies of manga focus on the translation of manga, its role in education and media, and its application as soft power and cultural commodities. While manga is interrelated to merchandise from entertainment industry and other consumer products even in automobile industry, its value in economy is less explored. Porter (1990) indicated that innovation was crucial for a business to remain competitive. Therefore, this article suggested that to understand the value of manga in economy, innovation studies should be taken into account in the future research of manga studies.


Adler, N. J. (1997). International Dimensions of Organizational Behavior (3rd ed.). Cincinnati, Ohio: South-Western College Publishing.
Agyeiwaah, E., Suntikul, W., Carmen, L.Y.S. (2019). ‘Cool Japan’: Anime, Soft Power and Hong Kong Generation Y Travel to Japan. Journal of China Tourism Research, 15(2), 127-148.
Allison, A. (2006). Millennial Monsters: Japanese Toys and the Global Imagination. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Atkinson, D. (2004). Contrasting Rhetorics/ Contrasting Cultures: Why Contrastive Rhetoric Needs a Better Conceptualization of Culture. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 3, 277-289.
Avruch, K. (1998). Culture and Conflict Resolution. Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press.
Bennett, T. (2015). Cultural Studies and the Culture Concept. Cultural Studies, 29(4), 546-568.
Berndt, J. (2016). Manga, Which Manga? Publication Formats, Genres, Users: Chapter 8. In A. Targowski, J. Abe, H. Kato (Eds.), Japanese Civilization in the 21st Century (pp. 121-134). New York, NY: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.
Bouissou, J-M. (2010). Manga: A Historical Overview. In T. Johnson-Woods (Ed.), Manga: An Anthology of Global and Cultural Perspectives (pp. 17-33). New York, NY: Continuum.
Brienza, C. (2009). Books, not Comics: Publishing Fields, Globalization, and Japanese Manga in the United States. Publishing Research Quarterly, 25(2), 101-117.
Brienza, C. (2014). Did manga conquer America? Implications for the cultural policy of ‘Cool Japan’. International Journal of Cultural Policy, 20(4), 383-398.
Brienza, C. (2016). Introduction: Manga without Japan?. In C. Brienza (Ed.), Global Manga: “Japanese” comics without Japan? (pp. 1-22). New York, NY: Routledge.
Brophy, P. (2010). Osamu Tezuka’s Gekiga: Behind the Mask of Manga. In T. Johnson-Woods (Ed.), Manga: An Anthology of Global and Cultural Perspectives (pp. 128-136). New York, NY: Continuum.
Bryce, M. & Davis, J. (2010). An Overview of Manga Genres. In T. Johnson-Woods (Ed.), Manga: An Anthology of Global and Cultural Perspectives (pp. 34-61). New York, NY: Continuum.
Butcher, L., Sung, B., Goldie, K. R. (2019). Gotta Catch ‘em all: Invigorating Pokémon through an Innovative Brand Extension. Journal of Brand Management, 26(3), 227-239.
Chambers, S. N. I. (2012). Anime: From Cult Following to Pop Culture Phenomenon. The Elon Journal of Undergraduate Research in Communications, 3(2), 94–101.
Chan, R. S. K. (2018). Breaking Windows: Malaysian Manga as Dramaturgy of Everyday-Defined Realities. JATI-Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 23(2), 205–229.
Chen, A. C. (2012). Cartoon Planet: The Cross-Cultural Acceptance of Japanese Animation. Asian Journal of Communication, 22(1), 44-57.
Cohn, N. (2010). Japanese Visual Language: The Structure of Manga. In T. Johnson-Woods (Ed.), Manga: An Anthology of Global and Cultural Perspectives (pp. 187-203). New York, NY: Continuum.
Collier, M. J., Hedge, R. S., Lee, W., Nakayama K. T., & Yelp, G. A. (2002). Dialogue on the Edges: Ferment in Communication and Culture. In M.J. Collier et al. (Eds.), Transforming Communication About Culture (pp. 229-230). Thousand Oaks: Sage.
Couch, N. C. C. (2010). International Singularity in Sequential Art: The Graphic Novel in the United States, Europe, and Japan. In T. Johnson-Woods (Ed.), Manga: An Anthology of Global and Cultural Perspectives (pp. 204–220). New York, NY: Continuum.
Daliot-Bul, M., & Otmazgin, N. (2017). The Anime Boom in the United States: Lessons for Global Creative Industries. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Denison, R. (2010). Transcultural Creativity in Anime: Hybrid Identities in the production, Distribution, Texts and Fandom of Japanese Anime. Creative Industries Journal, 3(3), 221-235.
During, S. (1997). Popular Culture on a Global Scale: A Challenge for Cultural Studies? Critical Inquiry, 23, 808-833.
Fabbretti, M. (2016). The Use of Translation Notes in Manga Scanlation. TranscUlturAl, 8(2), 86-104.
Fabbretti, M. (2017). Manga Scanlation for an International Readership: the role of English as a Lingua Franca. The Translator, 23(4), 456-473.
Fiske, J. (1990). Introduction to Communication Studies (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.
Grigsby, M. (1998). Sailormoon: Manga (Comics) and Anime (Cartoon) Superheroine Meets Barbie: Global Entertainment Commodity Comes to the United States. Journal of Popular Culture, 32(1), 59-80.
Han, C. Y. & Ling, W. N. (2017). The Use of Anime in Teaching Japanese as a Foreign Language. Malaysian Online Journal of Educational Technology, 5(2), 68-78.
Hernández-Pérez, M. (2019). Looking into the “Anime Global Popular” and the “Manga Media”: Reflections on the Scholarship of a Transnational and Transmedia Industry. Arts, 8(2), 57-71.
Hofstede, G., Hofstede, G. J., & Minkov, M. (2010). Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind: Intercultural Cooperation and Its Importance for Survival. (3rd ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Hymes, D. H. (1974). Foundations in Sociolinguistics: An Ethnographic Approach. London, UK: Tavistock Publications.
Imaoka, L. B. (2010). Consuming and Maintaining Difference: American Fans Resisting the Globalization of Japanese Pop Culture. disClosure: A Journal of Social Theory, 19, 73-82.
Ito, K. (2005). A History of Manga in the Context of Japanese Culture and Society. The Journal of Popular Culture, 38(3), 456-475.
Jin, D. Y. (2019). Transmedia Storytelling in the Age of Digital Media: East Asian Perspectives, Introduction. International Journal of Communication, 13, 2085-2093.
Johnson-Woods, T. (2010). Introduction. In T. Johnson-Woods (Ed.), Manga: An Anthology of Global and Cultural Perspectives (pp. 1-16). New York, NY: Continuum.
Junid, I. & Yamato, E. (2019). Manga Influences and Local Narratives: Ambiguous Identification in Comics Production. Creative Industries Journal, 12(1), 66-85.
Kacsuk, Z. (2018). Re-Examining the “What is Manga” Problematic: The Tension and Interrelationship between the ‘Style” Versus “Made in Japan” Positions. Arts, 7(26), 1-18.
Kaewthep, K. (2014). Sat-haeng-sue lae wat-tha-na-tham suek-sa [Science of Media and Cultural Studies]. Bangkok, Thailand: Phapphim.
Keener, J. (2015). Shakespeare, Manga and the Pilfering of Japan’s Soft Power. Studies in Comics, 6(1), 43-59(17).
Lee, H. K. (2009). Between Fan Culture and Copyright Infringement: Manga Scanlation. Media, Culture & Society, 36(6), 1011-1022.
Lundvall, B. (2013). Innovation Studies: A Personal Interpretation of ‘the state of art’. In J. Fagerberg et al. (Eds.), Innovation studies (pp. 21-70). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Madeley, J. M. (2015). Transnational Convergence Culture: Grassroots and Corporate Convergence in the Conflict over Amateur English-Translated Manga. Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, 6(4), 367-381.
Magera, Y. A. (2018). The History of the First Russian Language Publications of Japanese Comics. Japanese Studies in Russian, 4, 6-23.
Mandujano-Salazar, Y. Y. (2016). The Road towards a Cultural Promotion Policy in Contemporary Japan and the Beginning of a Campaign for the Strengthening of the National Identity. Estudios de Asia y Africa, 51(1), 77-104
Martin, J. N., & Nakayama, T. K. (2010). Intercultural Communication in Contexts (5th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Higher Education.
McGray, D. (2002). Japan’s Gross National Cool. Foreign Policy, 130, 44–54.
Nagata, K. (2012, May 15). Exporting Culture via ‘Cool Japan’ METI promoting art, food, fashion abroad to cash in on ‘soft power’. The Japan Times. Retrieved from
Nobuoka, J. (2010). User Innovation and Creative Consumption in Japanese Culture Industries: The Case Study of Akihabara, Tokyo. Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography, 92(3), 205-218.
Okyayuz, A. S. Examining the Translation and Scanlation of the Manga Naruto into Turkish from a Translator’s Perspectives. International Journal of English Language & Translation Studies, 5(3), 161-173.
Otake, T. (2003, September 9). Hello Kitty, Pokemon, Doraemon Battle for Global Supremacy. The Japan Times. Retrieved from
Pellitteri, M. (2019). Japan’s Soft Power and “Grand Fictions” in Global Venues: Japanese Pop Culture Franchises and Fictionality-based Tactics. Kritika Kultura, 32, 453-481.
Phornprapha, J., & Podsatiangool, W. (2019). Revisiting the Notion of Innovation and its Impact on Thailand’s Economic Policy: A Case Study of Japanese Manga. JATI-Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 24(1), 97-116.
Piantanongkit, P. (2019, December 3). Honda Monkey Dragonball run-LE khai-kliang lang poet-tua khae sam-wan [Honda Monkey Dragonball Limited Edition Sold Out Three Days after Launch]. Retrieved from
Podsatiangool, W. (2017). Why do American Say No to Doraemon?: Examining Power Relations Between American and Japanese Popular Culture in Intercultural Communication through the Lens of Semiotics. Journal of English Studies, 12(2), 71-105.
Porter, M. E. (1990). The Competitive Advantage of Nations. Harvard Business Review, 68(2), 73-93.
Prough, J. (2010a). Marketing Japan: Manga as Japan’s New Ambassador. ASIANetwork Exchange, 17(2), 54-68.
Prough, J. (2010b). Shojo Manga in Japan and Abroad. In T. Johnson-Woods (Ed.), Manga: An Anthology of Global and Cultural Perspectives (pp. 93-106). New York, NY: Continuum.
Prough, J. (2018). Reading Images, Visualizing Texts: Teaching Visual Analysis through Manga. ASIANetwork Exchange, 25(2), 100-116.
Rigaud, C., Thanh, N. L., Burie, J. C., Ogier, J. M., Iwata, M., Imazu, E, & Kise, K. (2015). Speech Balloon and Speaker Association for Comics and Manga Understanding. 13th IAPR International Conference on Document Analysis and Recognition, Aug 2015, pp. 351-355. doi: 10.1109/ICDAR.2015.7333782
Roland, K. (2006). Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture Has Invaded the U. S. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
Rossi, F. (2002). An Introduction Overview of Innovation Studies. University Library of Munich, Germany, MPRA Paper, No. 9106, posted 11 Jun 2008. Retrieved from
Shamoon, D. (2017). Boys Love Manga and Beyond: History, Culture, and Community in Japan. Journal of Japanese Studies, 43(2), 462-466.
Shamoon, D. (2018). Fire!: Mizuno Hideko and the Development of 1960s Shōjo manga. In F. Darling-Wolf (Ed.), Routledge Handbook of Japanese Media (pp. 69-85). New York, NY: Routledge.
Spencer-Oatey, H. (2012). What is culture? A Compilation of Quotations. GlobalPAD Core Concepts. Retrieved from
Ting-Toomey, S., & Chung, L. C. (2012). Understanding Intercultural Communication (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Tsutsui, W. M. (2008). Nerd Nation: Otaku and Youth Subcultures in Contemporary Japan. Education About Asia, 13(3), 12-18.
Turner, H. M. (2013). Use of Comics Manga as a Leaning Tool to Teach Translation of Japanese. The Journal of Language Teaching and Learning, 2, 72-83.
Tylor, E. B. (1871). Primitive Culture: Researches into the Development of Mythology, Philosophy, Religion, Language, Art and Custom. London, UK: J. Murray.
Unser-Schutz, G. (2010). Exploring the Role of Language in Manga: Text Types, their Usages and their Distributions. The International Journal of Comic Art, Fall, 25-43.
Williams, R. (1976). Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Willingham, A. J. (2019, September 23). What’s the top-grossing mobile game right now? Pokemon Go. CNN. Retrieved from
Yamato, E. (2012). Accumulating Japanese Popular Culture: Media Consumption Experiences of Malaysian Young Adults. Media Asia, 39(4), 199–208.




How to Cite

Phornprapha, J., & Podsatiangool , W. (2019). Beyond Otaku Community to Global Business: Manga in Academia—a Literature Review. Thai Journal of East Asian Studies, 23(2), 400–416. Retrieved from



Special Section: Popular Culture in Thailand and Beyond