Japanese Artists stand firm against Quake!

The term ‘Manga‘ may translate as drawings of a ‘whimsical’ nature, but Japanese Mangaka are turning to their trade as a serious way to support their people.  Manga has been used recently to teach children about the horror of war, but rather than images of burning wreckage and destructive tsunami waves, Takehiko Inoue is posting artwork of nothing more than  simple smiles.  The famed artist of Shonen Jump comic ‘Slam Dunk‘ is frequently posting the images (currently at 65 smiles) using Twitter and uploading them directly to his Twitpic account using the ZenBrush app on an iPad no less!

Meanwhile the Ghost in the Shell composer, Yoko Kanno, is using Youtube to spread her song in response to the tsunami which destroyed her native Miyagi Prefecture.

It’s not the first time the Japan has turned to Manga as a response to disaster.  Following the devastating earthquake of 1995 in Kobe, Japan, revival of Nagata was supported by the Tetsujin Project.  Development in the area was encouraged by offering low rent workspaces to artists and A Yokoyama Memorial Museum was constructed in 2002.  An 18m tall statue of Gigantor from the local Manga Artist Mistuteru Yokoyama was erected to protect the city in 2009.

It’s uplifting to see artists from anime and manga providing people with strength and hope as the recent M8.9 Earthquake and following aftershocks have forced the industry to postpone or cancel events.  The, One Piece Simulcast, was delayed and The 8th Touhou Project – Hakurei Jinja Reitaisai convention which famously releases trials of upcoming games has been postponed for safety reasons with no alternative date mentioned. The venue, Tokyo Big Sight, suffered damage after the earthquake but the Tokyo International Anime Fair 2011 running at the end of the March appears to be unaffected.

With the shutdown of many power stations, electricity shortages are inevitable and Inoue will likely be testing the full extent the iPad‘s famed 10-hour battery life.  The Anime News Network is keeping an up to date list on the safety of members of the anime,  video game and manga industries.

Update 17th March: Since the publication of this article it has now been confirmed that Tokyo International Anime Fair taking place at Big Sight has now been cancelled due to electricity and health and safety issues.

Story By Christopher Chong

Sources: About.com, PsoftTakehiko Inoue TwitpicReitaisai.com, Tokyo Anime, Japan-Press, Suite 101, Crunch Gear, Anime News Network and Touhou Wiki

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