The characteristics of manga fan communities – preliminary observations of 16 teenage manga readers in the UK

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This article presents the results of a research project that explored young British readers’ engagement with manga in literary, aesthetic, social and cultural dimensions. Sixteen school pupils from two secondary schools participated in a number of interviews to provide feedback on selected manga and their own participation in manga fandom. The results show that four distinct features characterise this particular cultural group, including exclusivity, competitiveness, defensiveness and transculturalism. This article aims to discuss these features by exploring the political roots of popular culture, the constant negotiation of power both outwardly and inwardly in fandom, and the fan’s desire to engage with an exotic culture through the text. It is noteworthy that the declaration of one’s identity as a manga fan shows a deep level of passion with which fans demonstrate confidence in their expertise and a determination to defend a taste that is considered illegitimate and degraded by institutional authorities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-430
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Graphic Novels and Comics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • fandom
  • Japanese elements
  • manga
  • popular culture
  • social power

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