Date of Award

5-1-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

School

School of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

Ph.D.

First Advisor

Dr. Robert DeJanes

Second Advisor

Dr. Fragano Ledgister

Third Advisor

Dr. Eddy Von Mueller

Abstract

This study examines post-World War II “anime” and manga based on the bomb’s after-effects and changes in Japanese mindsets resulting from the War, especially as inspired by Osamu Tezuka and later artists influenced by his works. This study theorized that Japanese political culture elements, through particular plotlines, could be traced in manga and anime themes carrying hidden messages repeatedly referencing the bomb’s effects on Japan, citing Tezuka’s influence, in the 1945-65 and 1985-95 periods, in the post-apocalyptic, science fiction, and fantasy genres. Case studies were used to qualitatively assess data for historical evidence of Tezuka’s influence across specific genres, from scholarly studies and reviews of manga, comics, and related media. Evidence of Tezuka-inspired themes, such as hope out of endless devastation (the phoenix analogy) and man’s destructive obsession with technology by conquering nature (dependent variables), were analyzed from a comparativist, historical viewpoint, as influenced by atomic bomb-related themes. The researcher explains the Japanese fascination with technology and why many anime show status quo disagreements. Japan absorbed trauma from the bomb, was invaded by foreigners, and faced a complete overhaul. Post-war, the economy grew rapidly, but Japan must reduce rigidity and social conformity. The Japanese are aware of the US role in their dual defense arrangement; Japan felt discomfort as a junior-partner in the 1950s-60s. The US monitored Japan on defense and foreign policy as it rebuilt itself. Tezuka’s work show insight into the defense arrangement and technology’s societal role. Conclusions suggest manga artists drew from Tezuka’s works that the bomb’s devastation changed Japan significantly, launching powerful themes referencing these events in postwar science fiction, fantasy, and futuristic post-apocalyptic genres, relating to Japanese history, political components from ethical technology perspectives, relations between nations, and conducting foreign policy (independent variables). Japan must look to the future, as after the war, rising from the ashes. Balancing Mother Nature, technology’s place in society, and hope for rebuilding relate to the 2011 nuclear crisis and survival. Japan prevailed once before, recovering from a disastrous early 1900s earthquake; if Japan once survived devastation, certainly it could again. Just as manga and anime unite fans globally (especially once US Comics Code restrictions were lifted), mankind assists others in crisis and settles disagreements; we can universally transcend nation. Tezuka’s message of bettering humanity to avoid a dark future depends on our ability to settle differences, respecting nature for its simple beauty in our lives.

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Notice to Users, Transmittal and Statement of Understanding

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