Reincarnation in Manga

By Kentaro Otani and Mio Bryce.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Having evolved as a cheap, easily accessible form of entertainment for children and adolescents, manga has grown into a versatile medium capable of exploring identity issues. Manga are largely story-driven and receptive to readers’ needs, reflecting society and social issues. They utilise a wide range of themes, plots, motifs and characters to project fictional worlds where readers can ‘experience’ different selves and lives thereby enabling them to examine themselves and immediate issues in their life.
One of the more intriguing motifs is reincarnation, which is the focus of this paper. The concept of reincarnation disturbs the view of an individual as unique and integral and questions further the value of each life. In general, believers in reincarnation maintain that they have lived another life before they were born and that some common characteristics exist between their previous personalities and their current personality. Can a self in the past and a self in the present be considered the same person? Is the past self “Other”? How is self constructed?
Using various manga narratives, this paper will endeavour to discuss how the concepts of reincarnation are illustrated in manga, and how it explores identity issues and how such manga relates to society.

Keywords: Manga, Identity, Reincarnation, Hiwatari Saki, Boku no chikyū o mamotte, Please Save My Earth

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 9, Issue 12, pp.73-82. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 911.468KB).

Kentaro Otani

Undergraduate Student, Faclty of Science, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Kentaro is currently an undergraduate student in Macquarie University and is interested in mathematics, education, Japanese, and computing. Currently, he is interested in researching manga, especially reincarnation in manga, and manga in Japanese teaching in school. Also, he is president of his university student group called “Japanese Association at Macquarie”.

Dr. Mio Bryce

Senior Lecturer and Head of Japanese Studies, Faculty of Arts, Department of International Studies, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Dr. Bryce is a senior Lecturer and head of Japanese studies in the Department of International Studies at Macquarie University, teaching Japanese language, literature and manga related units. She has a Ph.D in Japanese classical literature, The Tale of Genji, from the University of Sydney. Mio is particularly interested in historical, socio-cultural, and psychological issues depicted in fiction. She is currently involved in interdisciplinary research into youth cultures, with particular focus on manga and anime, in conjunction with the English Department at Macquarie University.

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