The Funny Thing About Manga 2


As most of you know is Manga the Japanese word for Comic. The image to the left shows how it is written (or should I say drawn/painted) in Kanji.

Five minutes before I started writing this article my girlfriend frowned on me. She didn’t understood what I thought was so funny and I didn’t understand why she was effing frowning on me.

What I told her was this:

If a person in Japan says that she’s going to read/buy or whatever a Manga, she would call it Manga of course. ‘Hey, I’m going to the bookstore buying a Manga!’

You’ll agree with me that this person is going to the bookstore to buy a comic book.

I think the funny part is that the word Manga outside of Japan always refers to a comic drawn in the Japanese Manga style, while it in Japan refers to a comic book. Period. 

This is why (at least over here in the Netherlands) one would say  : ‘I’m reading a Manga Comic!’ rather than ‘I’m reading a comic book.’ Assuming that it is a comic book in Japanese style.

You see what I mean? Literally they say that they are buying/reading a “Comic comic”. It’s the fact that they say the same word in two different languages in one sentence what makes it funny to me.

I know that I have some but not many Japanese visitors, but if you are one of them, could you please tell me if Japanese people would say ‘I’m going to read a Western style Manga or a Comic Manga’ (in Japanese of course), when they reading the newest issue of Spiderman?

Maybe you frowning on me, just like my girlfriend. Sometimes this kind of little things amusing me. Especially when it’s the first of January and I have a little wine left…

I wish you however a good night. Or should I say “Good night nacht”?

Have fun!


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2 thoughts on “The Funny Thing About Manga

  • Ilaria/Swimturtle

    This is the kind of thing that makes me laugh! Here in the U.S. the coffee houses, like Starbucks, feel the need to distinguish themselves and also to be exotic. So they call their coffee drinks with foreign names, mostly Italian or French, like Cafè au lait, or cappuccino.
    Well, this fixation with foreign words also extends to the size of the coffee drink. So at Starbucks at one point they introduced a new way of differentiating the sizes of their drinks: instead of saying, small, medium or large, they started to say Tall, Grande, and Venti (venti means twenty in Italian and refers to the fact that you get 20 ounces of coffee drink), and of course Grande means large.
    But in the beginning customers did not know what these names meant. Especially the “tall” size, which is the small, is misleading. So in the beginning the server at Starbucks would say the sizes in both ways, to “train” the customers.
    As you know, my sister and I are half Italian and half American and are equally comfortable in both languages. One morning my sister walked into a Starbucks and ordered a large coffee. The server turned to her and asked:
    Large or Grande?
    My sister burst out laughing in his face, because of course he had said, “Large or large” just in two different languages. I find that kind of thing hilarious, but of course we all do it with languages we don’t speak, as in the case of this Manga thing.
    I agree with you that it’s very funny though! :-)

  • Mario Post author

    This one of Ippolita is hilarious.

    What’s funny as well is that I will keep calling it Manga style when I refer to this drawings with big eyes and small chins, though I say actually Comic style when you translate it.

    There is something even funnier. We all know this sexy Manga babe drawings with big boobs, butts and long legs. Some people refer to it as Hentai. What they don’t know is that it’s pretty insulting if you use this description Japan. This is because it means sexual perverted, what is much less than an compliment to the artist, isn’t it?