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Manga Answerman - Can Non-Japanese Comic Creators Call Themselves 'Mangaka'?


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Rednimue



Joined: 07 Dec 2016
Posts: 89
PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2019 2:31 pm Reply with quote
IMHO, your first language is Japanese and you're going to aim your products mainly at a Japanese audience, then yes it makes sense to refer to your self as a mangaka otherwise NO... you're just a comic's artist.
That's it.
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jdnation



Joined: 15 May 2007
Posts: 1101
PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2019 3:36 pm Reply with quote
Rednimue wrote:
IMHO, your first language is Japanese and you're going to aim your products mainly at a Japanese audience, then yes it makes sense to refer to your self as a mangaka otherwise NO... you're just a comic's artist.
That's it.


Well that's just it, from a Japanese perspective, amateurs should never refer to themselves as mangaka, because that's a distinction reserved only for the recognized pros. So it might not go over well. And as the article observed, even the pros, in humility, avoid calling themselves that.

That said, we're more laid back in the west, so we'd just see someone using the term as a nickname to be cute. It would be understood by the sensible to only be a nod towards your love or appreciation or stylistic choices being based in the Japanese aesthetics. So you could get away with it here in the more casual sense if it's just a message board/online artist nickname.

But keep in mind that a Japanese audience will take that term more seriously. So, if you ever had aspirations towards making it big and introducing yourself in Japan, it would not be wise to casually use the term towards yourself. If the Japanese refer to you with that term all on their own, which they could even if you're not Japanese, then consider it an honour.
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Commander Cluck



Joined: 02 May 2019
Posts: 47
PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2019 8:34 pm Reply with quote
Imagine you're in a restaurant and you order a soup. The waiter brings you a cup of hot cocoa. You protest. He tells you soup is simply a dish of ingredients served in a liquid. The waiter knows what you meant when you said soup, but he wants you to try his cocoa instead. He's purposely twisting the usage of a word and playing word games to suit his whole agenda. His agenda is getting you to try this really, really cool cocoa. He swears it's just as good as any soup. In fact, he goes so far as to say it's better than most soups out there.

That's what I always think of when I see these "Is X anime/manga?" debates.

Let's just call it what it is. People want to use Japanese labels because they think it's a badge of honor and elevates a work above it's peers. Just like those comic artists who swear up and down their work is a 'graphic novel', not a 'comic book'. It's insecurity being obfuscated behind an argument of semantics.
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Usagi-kun



Joined: 03 Jul 2013
Posts: 873
Location: Nashville, TN
PostPosted: Sat Jun 08, 2019 12:15 am Reply with quote
Commander Cluck wrote:
Imagine you're in a restaurant and you order a soup. The waiter brings you a cup of hot cocoa. You protest. He tells you soup is simply a dish of ingredients served in a liquid. The waiter knows what you meant when you said soup, but he wants you to try his cocoa instead. He's purposely twisting the usage of a word and playing word games to suit his whole agenda. His agenda is getting you to try this really, really cool cocoa. He swears it's just as good as any soup. In fact, he goes so far as to say it's better than most soups out there.

That's what I always think of when I see these "Is X anime/manga?" debates.

Let's just call it what it is. People want to use Japanese labels because they think it's a badge of honor and elevates a work above it's peers. Just like those comic artists who swear up and down their work is a 'graphic novel', not a 'comic book'. It's insecurity being obfuscated behind an argument of semantics.


Let me correct you on one thing: Do not confuse style with quality. In this oddly specific scenario, you can still think your waiter is a pretentious moron for not respecting the soup that you traveled to this specific restaurant world-renowned for this specific soup to eat. If the waiter walks up to the table and offers his 'cool cocoa', you have a right to say no thank-you, and if they are too persistent, raise your eyebrows and become annoyed. And if you are a waiter, that doesn't automatically make you an expert on said restaurant soup or alternatives either, or what is best for its guests. In short, be humble and respectful of professionals and customs you have not earned respect neither in nor with, and focus on your quality to get to a point when you can offer the cocoa in a soup restaurant.
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Chris Handsome



Joined: 07 Sep 2010
Posts: 7
PostPosted: Sat Jun 08, 2019 3:55 am Reply with quote
If foreigners that practices karate calls themselves a karateka, then a foreigner that draws comics/manga calling themselves a mangaka isn't really that strange, nor is it wrong. It's not exactly new either, people been doing it for decades. Remember that Tokyopop Rising Stars Of Manga scam?
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OtakuBullfrog



Joined: 08 Jun 2019
Posts: 1
PostPosted: Sat Jun 08, 2019 9:39 am Reply with quote
I would say that you are a mangaka if you are published by a manga publisher. This is an easy way to determine both what is manga as well as the genre. For example, if you are published in Shounen Jump, you are a mangaka and you are probably writing shounen manga.
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Ryo Hazuki



Joined: 01 Jan 2008
Posts: 338
Location: Finland
PostPosted: Sat Jun 08, 2019 9:42 am Reply with quote
Chris Handsome wrote:
If foreigners that practices karate calls themselves a karateka, then a foreigner that draws comics/manga calling themselves a mangaka isn't really that strange, nor is it wrong. It's not exactly new either, people been doing it for decades. Remember that Tokyopop Rising Stars Of Manga scam?


What certfied manga schools do the so called mangaka go to and who are their certified instructors? There are some manga schools/courses in Japan and I guess editors, who work for the Japanese publishers could be considered "teachers" in the same way as certified karate instructors.
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Animechic420



Joined: 25 Sep 2012
Posts: 1586
Location: A Cave Filled With Riches
PostPosted: Sat Jun 08, 2019 12:35 pm Reply with quote
I mean, Maybe?
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Sir Daniel Fortesque



Joined: 04 Jul 2013
Posts: 223
PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2019 12:48 pm Reply with quote
It's 2019, people can call themselves whatever they want regardless of logic.
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Banken



Joined: 29 May 2007
Posts: 1243
PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2019 5:52 pm Reply with quote
You can call yourself a mangaka....in Japan....if your work is sold in Japan.
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JB_Gra



Joined: 15 Aug 2017
Posts: 25
PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2019 6:06 pm Reply with quote
Rednimue wrote:
IMHO, your first language is Japanese and you're going to aim your products mainly at a Japanese audience, then yes it makes sense to refer to your self as a mangaka otherwise NO... you're just a comic's artist.
That's it.


Basically this.

I don't understand why the necessity of using foreign titles that have an equivalent in your own language.

The karate example doesn't even work because there's no equivalent of that specific practice in most language if not all. "Martial artist" could be used instead of "karateka", but that term is so broad.

Let's use comic artist instead of "mangaka", please.
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AmpersandsUnited



Joined: 22 Mar 2012
Posts: 173
PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2019 6:30 pm Reply with quote
JB_Gra wrote:
I don't understand why the necessity of using foreign titles that have an equivalent in your own language.


Animation and comics have a very low reputation in the west, where as anime and manga are held in high regard. Especially among people who consider them genres rather than mediums. It's why even Netflix is doing it like advertising Castlevania and their upcoming Magic the Gathering shows as "anime" despite neither of them having any Japanese creatives attached to them. Advertising them as anime is better marketing than advertising them as western cartoons.
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Uraraka



Joined: 09 Apr 2019
Posts: 2
PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 4:09 am Reply with quote
In Japan, managaka simply means artists who draw manga. You don't necessarily need to be a pro. The distinction lies between pro-mangaka who work for commercial magazines and armature-mangaka who do independently. In that sense, as long as you produce manga, you can at least call yourself mangaka.
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Ryo Hazuki



Joined: 01 Jan 2008
Posts: 338
Location: Finland
PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 4:46 am Reply with quote
AmpersandsUnited wrote:

Animation and comics have a very low reputation in the west, where as anime and manga are held in high regard. Especially among people who consider them genres rather than mediums. It's why even Netflix is doing it like advertising Castlevania and their upcoming Magic the Gathering shows as "anime" despite neither of them having any Japanese creatives attached to them. Advertising them as anime is better marketing than advertising them as western cartoons.


Watchmen, Maus and Sandman are more highly regarded than a lot of manga and I'm pretty sure Disney and Pixar don't suffer from the same negative stereotypes as anime.
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ChoGGi



Joined: 05 Jun 2006
Posts: 9
Location: Alberta
PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:28 pm Reply with quote
Pretty sure he's referring to the stereotype that comics are for children?
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