'School' in Japanese children's lives as depicted in manga

Mio Bryce

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Reflecting upon the increased borderlessness of today's society, which is ever expanding through information technologies and commercialisation, the positioning and role of the 'school' in children's lives has changed significantly. A knowledge explosion has occurred, generating innumerable, readily accessible sources of information, even for children. Morals, disciplines and religious values have become increasingly blurred. In such a situation, what do children seek, and find, in 'school'? This paper discusses the positioning of the 'school' in Japanese children's lives as opposed to their family life, through the media of manga (Japanese cartoons, including animations). Manga, the combined art form of verbal and visual representation, is a powerful, flexible and fertile apparatus used to directly and freely respond to and/or annunciate social phenomena. 'School' has chosen as a popular and significant location of numerous manga, particularly since 1970, yet its commercial success has ironically paralleled the disappearance of children's free time and space, .... their childhood. Acknowledging that Japan's situation is characterised by a unique locality such as its weak recognition of 'individuality', this analysis endeavours to provide some indication for the role and value of the 'school' in children's lives in the wider, post-modern society.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
JournalDoing the public good : positioning education research
Publication statusPublished - 2004
EventAARE 2004 International Education Research Conference - Melbourne
Duration: 28 Nov 20042 Dec 2004


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