Department of Manga Faculty of Arts

Comics have a long history throughout the world. This distinctive mixture of pictures and text has generated countless fascinating stories and creative ideas and provided a means of visual communication intelligible to almost everyone. In recent years, a uniquely Japanese form of comics known as manga has emerged as contemporary Japan's best known and most influential art form and content industry, admired around the world for its level of sophistication.

The Department of Manga is here to help individuals who wish to enter the world of manga find their own stylistic and thematic place within the distinguished history of manga, explore new and original modes of self-expression, and develop the kind of unfettered and flexible creativity that will serve them throughout their lives. In keeping with this mission, our curriculum is designed not merely to train students in the design and execution of story manga--the centerpiece of our program--but also to develop a high level of knowledge and competency in such related disciplines as cartooning, illustration, script writing, magazine and book editing, digital drawing and production methods, research, and critical analysis. In so doing, we hope to nurture a generation that can build a new visual culture imbued with its own lofty dreams and fresh values.

A Broad-Based Grounding in Three Areas

In their first and second years, students in the Department of Manga take a broad selection of courses, including theory as well as practice, spanning three subject areas--Story Manga, Illustration, and Editing/Manga Studies. The idea is to equip them for a variety of roles in manga publishing and related industries and give them the tools for academic and career planning. In their third year, students divide up into four seminars, each corresponding to a concentration, and embark on more specialized studies. From this point on, they begin designing their own academic programs in keeping with their own interests and goals.

Marriage of Manga and Digital Media

All students begin by mastering analog drafting methods, but in the second-year Digital Manga course they also learn the techniques of computer-aided manga production using state-of-the-art equipment reflecting the latest trends in digital media. Third- and fourth-year students can explore expressive techniques in digital manga and Web-related technologies in greater depth in seminar courses that incorporate recent trends in electronic publishing. We make sure that our graduates have the creative resources and technical know-how to go beyond the bounds of traditional manga and explore new modes of expression.

Interdepartmental Collaboration and Off-Campus Projects

While manga is prized for its entertainment value and freewheeling expression, its flexible and unique way of transmitting visual information also offers the advantage of making the information easy to understand and accept. The Department of Manga has a key role to play in pioneering new uses for manga in society. Members of our department have been taking the initiative in this area by exploring a variety of collaborative programs and research projects, including production of information materials for other departments and ideas for revitalizing local communities in the area through manga.