MLA Poster Presentation

The deadline for MLA poster session applications was earlier than the response date for ALA, since only 40some% of the applications to ALA are accepted I figured I should apply to MLA too…you know, just in case! LOL

I got accepted to both!! Hooray! I was however afraid that MLA wouldn’t want me if I told them I was presenting at ALA earlier in the year, but they did! They said no big deal because most people who could make it all the way to San Francisco in June wouldn’t also be coming to Novi in October.

The poster size was half as large for MLA though so it meant that I had to make a new one! Luckily, I was able to reuse some of my images from the first one but I had to create some new images to consolidate the info from several images into one.

The registration for this conference was quite expensive though I since I had already used my professional development budget for the year in going to San Francisco I couldn’t afford to actually attend the sessions at MLA 😦

I did meet and talk to many interesting librarians from around the state and was even approached by a publisher who publishes reviews of independently published books. (Wow how many times can I use “publish” in one sentence?!) He asked if I would be interested in reviewing some manga for their magazine! Yippee! More writing opportunities in my future!!



Michigan Library Association

I am presenting a poster session next Wednesday Oct 28th at the Michigan Library Association conference in Novi, MI!

Stop by and say “Hi” and I will have more updates afterwards!!


Manga in the Library: PN 6790 .J34


Our library is especially interested in collecting manga because, as an art school, a large portion of the students at our school are visual learners. Also the manga version of a story can often be read much quicker than the full text version allowing our students to absorb the information with less of a time commitment.

We use LOC numbers so most of our manga collection (all except the non-fiction which are shelved in the proper subject areas) begins with PN6790 .J34 “Language and Literature àGeneral Literature àcomic books, strips, etc. à Japan

This leads to the PN 6790 .J34 section taking up about 75 linear feet of our shelving which makes a nightmare for our shelving assistants!

As our collection has grown we have had to adapt our usual process of assigning call numbers to meet new challenges. While normally, if required, we add a second Cutter number based on the authors name then the year of publication we found this to cause problems with our manga collection because one author might be writing several series simultaneously which would result in them being inter-shelved or a series might be written by different manga-ka over the years it is published causing the series to be spread out over a large area and not all shelved together. For this reason we chose to use the title of the series (or monograph) as the basis for the second Cutter number. We follow that second Cutter by the volume number because there are often numerous volumes published in a given year. On occasion the titles have been so similar as to require us to add a third Cutter number based on the authors name as well to avoid having two books with identical call numbers. This leads to some very long call numbers! We have been considering shelving our manga in a separate section of the library so that we could drop the PN 6790 .J34 from the local call numbers and use a local call number that begins with the word “Manga” followed by numbers representing the title.

long call

Another logistical issue we are facing with our collection is some of our students who are very familiar with manga expect to see them shelved from right to left the way they would be in Japan. However, this does not seem to cause more than a moment of confusion and all the libraries I have seen with browsing collections of manga have them shelved left to right as would be fitting with the rest of their collections. I think that if we do move them to their own section we might try to organize them right to left but I feel this may cause problems for our shelvers.

Manga is a Medium, Not a Genre

In the course of my study of manga I learned many new terms. In my previous post I gave definitions for some of the Japanese words and manga terms which I encountered at the beginning of my research but here I would like to add the terms I encountered later to make a complete list of all the genres I learned about within the medium of manga.

Because of the focus on the audience and the characters in manga it is most useful to organize titles this way as well instead of focusing on the content of the story as we tend to do in Western literature.

In my annotated bibliography you will see that the first level of organization is the audience. The four most common categories for speaking about the intended audience are:

Shonen – Boy’s Manga

Shojo – Girl’s Manga

Sienen – Men’s Manga

Josei – Women’s Manga

There is also a category for young children where their youth not their gender is the focus; the term used for that is “Kodomomuke”.

The category of sexually explicit material for adults only is called “Seijin”. Within the Seijin category is “Hentai” which refers to materials which are not only explicit but also include specialized or bizarre fetishes.

genres of Manga

Popular Genres in Manga

Within the main audience groupings, manga is then divided by the topic. Of course, some topics tend to be more popular with certain reader groups than others but there does not seem to be much stigma resulting from reading manga “intended” for an audience other than that which the reader is a part.

Some of the most popular topics are:

Mecha –Robots: Robots, cyborgs, or machines play a large role in these stories.

Komono – Animals: The characters in these stories are anthropomorphized animals.

Kaito – Gentleman Thief: Stories about a well-breed thief, one who steals for the thrill or just to take away from the undeserving. Maurice LeBlanc’s Arsene Lupin is a model for many of these stories.

Haremumono – Harem: These aren’t always a sexual or even a romantic storyline, it just indicates that the central character is male surrounded by multiple, less important female characters.

Gyakuharemu – Reverse harem: Like Haremumono, only the main character is female and the subordinate characters are males.

Ecchi – Naughty: Stories involve a bit more sexualization then strictly needed for the plot line, but not so much as to be deemed inappropriate for kids. Think PG-13.

Ansatsuken or Satsujinken – Assassination Fist or Murder Fist: These are martial art manga, in which the main characters have (or learn) superior martial art skills to defeat their opponents.

Science Fiction


Fantasy and Adventure


Ryori – Food

Mahou Shojo – Magical girl


Sararimman – Salaryman: Stories about the lives of men who work in offices outside their homes.

Bara – homosexual men: These stories are also called “Men’s Love”, “ML”, “Shonen-ai”, or “Gei Comi”. They range from slice-of-life stories, to romances but sometimes includes blatant depictions of sexual acts.

Historical Fiction


Kyariauman – Career Woman: Stories depict the lives of women who have careers outside of their homes.

OLOffice Lady Manga: is about the lives of young women who work outside their homes, but plan to do so only until they have their own family.

Yaoi – Men who love other men: Usually these are romantic stories written by women, for women.

Yuri – Girl Love: Also termed “Shojo-ai”. These stories are about girls who have strong feelings for other girls. Usually these are more romantic than overtly sexual stories.

Mystery, Horror, Suspense


So Back to Manga!

“Manga” is the term used for Japanese comics, graphic novels, sequential art, and whatever other terms we would use for story telling in which images are central to the telling. “Anime” involves similar characters and plot lines but it is the word used when these stories become animated.
Manga is not limited to children and teenagers as it is often thought to be here in the United States. In Japanese culture, people from all ages and in all walks of life often partake in these stories. It is better considered as a medium than a genre itself.

From what I have seen so far, manga appears to be much more character driven than plot driven. It seems that the mangaka, or manga artist, creates a character and allows things to simply happen to his characters rather than thinking of a story he wants to tell and creating characters and situations in which to tell that particular story. This seems to me to be the key to understanding the popularity of the art form. There are characters that all sorts of people can truly relate to (or into whose lives they can escape).

In beginning this project, I sat down and made a list of different literary genres. I planned to put manga I encountered in my research into one or more of those categories and create a guide which listed “The Best of Superhero Manga” or “The Best of Romance Manga” or “The Best Coming-of-Age Manga”. Now I’ve realized this approach will not work because there is so much cross over in what the characters of each series do. After all isn’t there a time in all of our lives where we come-of-age, get involved in a romance, and act like a superhero?!

My new approach is instead to make my list, and the headings of my bibliography, based on the characters. “Boy’s Manga”, “Girl’s Manga”, “Men’s Manga”, “Women’s Manga” are headings I would never have thought to use but it seems that within the manga industry that is how they are differentiated so I think it only makes sense to use them as my main headings. Of course, there are also other characteristics which the writers focus on and can help attract the audience who will identify best with their characters. There is “Magical Girl Manga”, “Robot Manga”, and “Naughty Manga” all aimed at different audiences as subsets within these general categories. So I too will use those subcategories in creating my reading list!

Problem #1: How to organize my information…solved! 🙂

Now to begin the search for all the subsets in existence! I’m sure that I will be able to find every one that exists, how hard could it be?! Oh, and just one more thing to make this task even harder…they are of course, all Japanese terms…meaning the transliteration sometimes results in multiple spellings.



meThanks everyone for joining me on this journey as I set out to learn all I can about the wonderful world of Manga. I am doing this in order to better serve the students here at College for Creative Studies, a small, private, art college where I am a librarian!

I will be attending Manga and comic conventions and working with another librarian here to create an annotated bibliography of “The Essential Manga” with the goal of directing serious Manga scholars (as well as Manga fans) in their study of the art form!

For those who don’t know an annotated bibliography is basically a list of important works in the field with a short description of each explaining why it is so important.

So stay tuned as I jump into the unknown next Saturday February 22nd at MSU’s Comics Forum 2014