Miriam Wattles


Friday, January 29, 4:30-6:30 PM in CWAC 153 (5550 S. Greenwood Ave.)


Miriam Wattles, “Defining Manga Anew in 1928: Ippei, a Book, and History”

Please join us this Friday, January 29, as we welcome Miriam Wattles (Associate Professor, History of Art and Architecture, UCSB).  A description of Professor Wattles’s talk follows.  No paper will be pre-circulated.


It wasn’t until the explosion of mass media in the 1920s that the word “manga” began to be used for comics and cartoons in Japan. Reformulations of the past were integral to the redefinition of the word. Okamoto Ippei (1886-1948), hugely popular with the public and head of a newly formed manga circle, wove a new historical sensibility into his prescriptions for the future of manga in his book Shin manga no kakikata (How To Make New Manga, 1928). The larger genus he employed was “minshūga,” or “pictures of the people.” In proposing this term at this particular historical moment, Ippei was responding to deep underlying tensions between elite and popular culture, individualism and collectivism, and nationalism and cosmopolitanism. This talk counters present amnesia around Ippei and his definition of manga and gives a surprising history of public ownership of one particular copy of Shin manga no kakikata.


This talk is supported by the Visual and Material Perspectives in East Asia Workshop, the Center for East Asian Studies, and Professor Chelsea Foxwell.


Catering will be provided after the talk.


If you have concerns about accessibility for this meeting, please do not hesitate to contact David Krolikoski at davidkroli at uchicago.edu, Brian White at bmwhite at uchicago.edu, or Xi Zhang at xizh at uchicago.edu.