International Symposium | Rewriting History in Manga: A New Medium for Debate?

17 August, 2012
9.30am - 6.30pm

Sponsored by:

  • School of Languages and Cultures at the University of Sydney
  • Sir Zelman Cowen Universities Fund

Organized by:

  • Dr Rebecca Suter, Dr Lionel Babicz
  • Department of Japanese Studies, The University of Sydney
  • Dr Nissim Otmazgin, Department of East Asian Studies, Hebrew University of Jerusalem


A wide range of studies in both the social sciences and the humanities have examined manifestations of historical memory on the national level and analysed the way in which governments utilize symbols such as monuments and museums to reflect their own perception of history. Many of these works deal with the ways in which contemporary national sentiments are tied to historical events, for example through a reflection on the memorization of collective suffering in the past, the mobilization of wartime traumas for political purposes, and the inability of nations to think and act beyond the narrow confines of ethnic nationalism.

In recent years, Japan’s comic books market has also become a stage for political debate. While in the past manga had typically dealt with Japan’s history in an implicit and indirect manner, in recent years there are more and more conscious attempts to use the comic industry as a medium to convey political messages that are not represented in the mainstream media. In such context, this workshop looks at alternative modes of historical memory and political debate manifested in the Japanese comic book industry, including, but not limited to, issues of nationalism, ethnicity, gender equality, and economic and social transformations.

Location: History Room S223, Quadrangle Building

Contact:Rebecca Suter
Phone: 61 2 9351 6766