July 2, 2007
Written by C.N.
The past several years have seen various forms of Asian popular culture become incorporated into mainstream American culture, including Asian martial arts and horror movies, sudoku, and anime. As AsianWeek Magazine reports, anime’s comic book cousin, manga, is set to become the latest Asian import to make it into the American mainstream:
Manga has gone mainstream, as evidenced by a recent Matcha event, the Asian Art Museum’s monthly Thursday evening mixer. There were pierced art students, curious elderly couples, nerdy white boys, neat businessmen, cliquey Asian high schoolers, and attractive twentysomething hipsters, all immersed in the colorful world of manga via the museum’s new exhibit, Tezuka: The Marvel of Manga.
Manga has melded into so much of pop culture, street art, clothes and Hollywood movies that labeling it “an Asian thing” can make one appear ignorant. “It’s not an Asian thing,” says Tony Benavidez, an emergency medical technician who grew up in Texas. However, “anime draws people to learn about Asian culture. Even in Texas, my Mexican friends watched anime with us on Saturday mornings.”
As I’ve noted in my article on Asian Cultural Icons, I think the popularity of Asian imports such as anime and manga are generally positive trends, since they signify a growing acceptance of Asian culture into American culture. But as I also wrote, it would be nice if such cultural trends would also lead to greater institutional acceptance of Asians and Asian Americans, in the form of fewer hate crimes, greater political representation, no more occupational discrimination, etc.
Oh well, I guess we’ll have to take these little “victories” one at a time.
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Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Japanese Manga Becomes Mainstream in U.S." Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2007/07/japanese-manga-becomes-mainstream-in-us/> ().
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