...bibliographic notes about manga...

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Checking out Manga – “This is Gakushū Manga, too!”

Written by Chase Conner (Class of 2021), with intro by Ann Marie L. Davis

Last March, shortly after the pandemic lockdown, I posted the blog “Manga Resources While Teaching and Learning from Home.” Since then, I have wanted to explore its many sites and share what I learned with everyone here. This semester, with the help of manga enthusiast and Japanese Studies major, Chase Conner (Class of 2021), we’re finally able to do this! In the new blog series, “Checking out Manga,” Chase will evaluate online manga resources as well as relevant print manga that can be checked out (literally!) from OSU Libraries. With each post, the series will highlight at least one open access manga site as well as related print manga available at our library. For the very first post in this series, Chase explores the site Kore mo gakushū manga da (これも学習マンガだ, or “This is Gakushū Manga, too”) below.


Image of the “This is Gakushū Manga, too!” home page.

Hello, everyone! It’s autumn already, and you know what that means: it’s the perfect time to relax somewhere cozy with a good book or comic to read and appreciate the scenery. Hopefully, we can help you find something interesting while furthering your studies along the way! Today we’re going to be looking into one of the websites included in the wonderful list of online manga resources compiled by Michiko Ito of the University of Kansas. Since many students and faculty are looking for interesting teaching and learning tools, I feel that the best place to start is with the site Kore mo gakushū manga da (これも学習マンガだ).

What is Gakushū Manga?

First things first — What is gakushū manga (学習マンガ)? Translated as “educational manga” or “manga study guides,” gakushū manga is a sub-genre of Japanese comics intended to teach readers about a specific topic in a variety of academic disciplines.  In addition to targeting elementary and high school students (studying history, math, art, or literature, for example), gakushū manga is also written for adults seeking information on topics from home improvement to budgeting, folk crafting, and more!

A List of 200 Recommended Gakushū Manga and Manga Learning Supplements

The web site Kore mo gakushū manga da offers a nifty compilation of manga titles that are not strictly gakushū manga, but that cover various academic topics that can be used as learning supplements. Compiled by the Nippon Foundation, its listings are tailored to promote manga that offer “fun while learning,” an idea known as “edutainment.” Its list currently includes 200 titles divided into eleven different categories (such as history, lifestyle, literature, and sports).  Visitors to this website can view the list at a glance by downloading the website handbook, or they can browse these categories online. Though the website is written entirely in Japanese, its recommendations are created with both native Japanese speakers and language learners in mind. Therefore, it can be a great learning resource whether you’re interested in reading comics in Japanese or finding English translations. Kore mo Gakushū Manga itself is not a resource that links to actual full text manga. Instead, it points readers to different works for use in Japanese Studies and language acquisition.

Browsing the List of Manga

One of the first things users will see when visiting Gakushū Manga is the genre search bar, which lists the Foundation’s eleven different categories.  Clicking on any one of these will show you all the manga within that category.

From right to left, the categories are Literature, Life and World, Art, Society, Work, History, War, Living, Science and Learning, Sports, and Diverse Topics. If you have a good idea what you’re looking for, you can narrow your search even more, with options to choose the date when the work was added to the collection, whether its series has ended or is still ongoing, and whether its age appropriate for younger readers (though it may do well to keep in mind that what is considered appropriate for younger audiences may differ across cultures)! When the search engine returns its results, each title has a handy hyperlink to a page with author and artist info, as well as a short blurb about the contents of the work and the reason for its inclusion in the list of recommendations.

The collection includes familiar titles to fans of modern manga, such as Fullmetal Alchemist and Mushishi, as well as older classics

Keeping in mind the intent of the site, any of the recommended manga would serve as great resources for learning Japanese language, history, culture, and much more!

Accessing and reading these manga at OSU Libraries

If anything piques your interest, the site provides further information on how to purchase the titles from several online Japanese retailers. Moreover, a good number of these comics can be found in Japanese and English translation in OSU’s manga collection! Therefore, we encourage our users to have a look! Most of these titles (about 65% of OSU’s manga collection) are circulating and therefore can be freely borrowed from OSU Libraries.  Still others might be housed in special collections and can be viewed in the Reading Room (with an appointment during the pandemic) at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum. For titles that are not yet part of our manga collection, OSU students and faculty are strongly encouraged to reach out and make a request! You can provide suggestions and feedback to help build our manga collection by contacting OSU’s Japanese Studies Librarian, Ann Marie Davis, anytime at

Additional links and resources:

For a closer look into gakushū manga available at OSU Libraries: Educational manga (学習漫画) at Ohio State Libraries:

For those interested in English translations of Koremo gakushū manga da’s contents, one need look no further than that of the the Japan Foundation: Japan Foundation’s “Kore mo gakushū manga da” catalogue.


“PICTURE THIS: Traveling Through Time with Japanese Art and Manga”! K-12 Webinar Featuring Rare Tōkaidō Manga Scrolls

Come join us in an upcoming webinar on the “Journey along the Tōkaidō,” a set of engaging online K-12 teaching resources highlighting Japanese art, history, and geography. Entitled PICTURE THIS: Traveling Through Time with Japanese Art and Manga,” the event, slated for October 10, 2020, is open to teachers and administrators from any state. Participants will discover new ways to engage students in this exploration of Japan’s most important trade route, the Eastern Sea Route (the Tōkaidō) with a special focus on the rare Tōkaidō manga scrolls, housed at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum (BICLM).  The historic Tōkaidō Road once connected the political capital of Edo (present-day Tokyo) to the former imperial capital of Kyoto during the Tokugawa era (1603-1868).  Suitable for remote and in-person teaching, the lessons of the “Journey along the Tōkaidō” emphasize change over time while comparing global cultures through the lenses of art and manga from Early Modern and Modern Japan (ca. 1800s to 1930s).  

Illustrated Japanese scroll among other Billy Ireland manga pieces

In the image above, the Tōkaidō manga scrolls are on display at a recent open house. The bottom half of the image shows the first two watercolors of scroll number one (上): Nihonbashi and Shinjuku Stations. In the upper left corner is the second scroll (下), nesting in its wooden containing box. To the right of the box is a rare picture book of the Great Kantō Earthquake (1923), also created by the Tokyo Manga Association.

The Tōkaidō Manga Scrolls

Formally titled “Tōkaidō gojūsantsugi manga emaki,” the Tōkaidō manga scrolls were hand painted by 18 members of the Tokyo Manga Association around 1921. Their unique visual depictions of the various sites along the Tōkaidō offered a compelling interpretation of pre-war manga vis-à-vis The 53 stations along the Tōkaidō (Tōkaidō Gojūsan-tsugi), a set of iconic woodblock prints created roughly a century earlier by artist Andō Hiroshige (1797-1858). The group of artists was led by Okamoto Ippei, one of the most popular manga artists of his time, on a journey by automobile stopping at each of the Tōkaidō’s stations. The manga artists hoped to raise the social standing of their craft by indirectly comparing their work to that of venerated woodblock printmakers of the past. Although the style of the scrolls’ watercolors differs considerably from what one might recognize as a “manga” today, the artists’ quick, spontaneous work somewhere on the edge of caricature was an undeniably important steppingstone toward the popular, modern manga style. Prominent artists in the pre-war era, many of the members of the Tokyo Manga Association contributed topical drawings to urban newspapers and taught others about cartooning.

Additional Resources 

In addition to the Tōkaidō manga scrolls, the Tokyo Manga Association created a number of unique materials, some of which are held at BICLM.  In the upper right  corner of the photograph above, for instance, is the book Daishinsai gashū (大震災画集, “Picture Collection of the Great Earthquake”), published in 1923. 

For a more thorough background on this unique piece, 

To learn more about related materials at the Ohio State University Libraries, please contact Japanese Studies Librarian, Ann Marie Davis.

K-12 Webinar Post-Event Update

Led by Angie Stokes, art teacher at Wayne Trace Junior/Senior High School in Haviland, Ohio, and Ann Marie Davis, Japanese Studies Librarian at OSU, the event was held on Saturday, October 10 (1:00-3:00PM) and coordinated by the East Asian Studies Center (EASC).  Angie Stokes discussed various aspects of the Journey Along the Tōkaidō curriculum, focusing on lessons she has used in her own junior high and high school classrooms. Ann Marie Davis provided a virtual tour of OSU’s manga collection and the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum, with a special focus on the Tōkaidō Manga scrolls and related treasures.

Webinar Slides and other Resources:  

Manga Resources While Teaching and Learning from Home

“Girl in Mask” clip from the anime Laughing Salesman
(笑ゥせぇるすまん) Ep. 4, adapted from the manga
by the same title created by Fujiko A. Fujio,

One of my colleagues, Michiko Ito, Japanese Studies Librarian at the University of Kansas, recently put together a truly fantastic library guide that lists tons of links to online, Japanese-language manga (including comics, graphic novels, and anime) and manga resources.  Her collection definitely deserves a shout-out and share, so  I am shamelessly copying much of it verbatim here.  As Ito notes herself, a word of caution and a disclaimer is in order:  This online guide is meant to provide links to web resources created by third parties. Contents available through these websites may contain materials not suitable for educational purposes. The compiler of this guide has no control over these websites and cannot be held responsible for website contents.

To jump down to the various sections below, click on the section guide you want to see first:

Open Access Comics,
Websites by Comic Publishers,
Serialized Web Comics,
E-comic Stores,
Online Archives and Databases, and
Organizations, Museums, and Institutes.

Open Access Comics

This section lists individual Open Access (=free) manga, selected by Ito:

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Websites by Comic Publishers

The following websites are operated by major comic publishers to announce their new comic publications. Some publishers separately operate serialized web comics (see the section immediately below.) Free previews are available:

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Serialized Web Comics (includes free previews)

This section lists selected websites for serialized web comics, most of which are operated by well-known comic publishers. Each website includes dozens of titles, and in most cases, the first few episodes and the most recent episodes are available for free. Registration and/or purchase is often required to read full contents, such as when users are required to purchase “coins” or “points” to read chapters. Note: some of these services are limited to within Japan, and some require credit cards issued in Japan.

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E-comic Stores

Many of these E-comic store websites provide free previews, and they typically require membership or registration for purchase.  As with the list above, some services are limited to within Japan and/or require  a credit card issued in Japan. (If your membership is canceled, you may not retain access to the materials you purchased.)

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Other Comic Websites

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Online Archives and Databases

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Organizations, Museums, Institutes


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“Ohio State Manga Collection at Ohayocon!”

Last month, our manga collection was featured at the 2020 Ohayocon, and then, as a result, in the student-run newspaper, The Lantern. We have been so very proud and grateful for this unique opportunity to share information about our wonderful collection!

Thanks to a lovely invitation to participate from the Japan-American Society of Central Ohio (JASCO), we were able to offer a table display in the Yuki Matsuri room at the Con, and we also held a well-attended panel presentation (full of cosplayers in the audience) on Manga at Ohio State University Libraries. If you check out the video, you’ll see that the members of our panel were me (Ann Marie Davis, Japanese Studies Librarian); Kapil Vasudev, Education Librarian; and Kay Clopton, Mary P. Key Cultural Diversity Inquiry Resident Librarian. Covering our activities at this event was student journalist, Aaron Lien, who in turn published the following video article about our work: 


Thank you so much, Aaron!

Ohio State Manga Collection at Ohayocon

A Brief Introduction to Manga for Teachers, Part 2

Written by Guest Contributor Kapil Vasudev, Education Librarian

This is the second in a series of posts introducing teachers to manga. The previous post covered the origins of manga and the manga publishing industry. This week’s post will explain how to read manga and manga visual shorthand. It will conclude with a classroom activity inspired by manga’s visual style.

A Brief Introduction to Manga for Teachers, Part 2

How to Read Manga

Manga translated and published in English was originally flipped in orientation so that it could be read from left to right. However, due to production costs, a desire to reduce the length of translation from Japanese to English, and an interest in creating a reading experience more akin to reading manga in Japan, manga in English is mostly published right to left. This creates an obstacle for English readers who are not used to reading in that direction.

A guide depicting the proper order for reading panels on a manga page.
(Source: Wikihow)

In general, manga will be read from right to left and then top to bottom. This applies to reading both the panels in a page as well as the speech bubbles within each panel.

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A Brief Introduction to Manga for Teachers, Part 1

Written by Kapil Vasudev, Education Librarian, with intro by Ann Marie L. Davis

Happy New Year! This week we are preparing an interactive exhibit table and special panel on our world-class manga collection for the annual 2020 Oyahocon!  More to come on that later, but for now, it’s time for this very helpful, two-part, guest blog, written by Kapil Vasudev, Education Librarian at OSU Kapil wrote this blog after delivering a well-received half-day workshop on Japanese and Korean comics as part of the 2019 National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA).  Together with Dr. Kay Clopton, Mary P. Key Resident for Cultural Diversity Inquiry,  he offered an informative presentation on “Teaching, Manga, and Manga Clubs.”   What follows is a summary article:

An issue of Weekly Shōnen Jump, the most popular manga magazine, featuring characters from Dragonball. (Source: Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

A Brief Introduction to Manga for Teachers, Part 1

Manga – the Japanese style of cartoons, comics, and graphic novels – has become a fixture in American culture. While it was once rare to find even American comics in libraries, it is now common to see entire library sections devoted just to English translations of manga. This series of blog posts aim to provide an introduction to manga for teachers seeking to engage with this popular art form and incorporate it into classroom activities. This week’s post discusses the origins of manga and the manga publishing industry.

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Night Parade of One Hundred Demons: Kyōsai’s Hyakki Gadan Now at BICLM

By Nick Castle

As Halloween draws nearer, so does our fanatical obsession with all things spooky and scary, peeking their heads around the corner like ghosts behind a gravestone. Why not indulge in some vintage scares at the OSU Libraries?

Japanese Studies invites you to learn about the mythology and artistic culture of Meiji Japan (1868-1912) through the newly acquired Kyōsai Hyakki Gadan (暁斎百鬼画談), a color woodblock print by eccentric painter and manga forerunner, Kawanabe Kyōsai (河鍋 暁斎, 1831-1889). The long, accordion book (orihon) depicts a parade of all manner of weird and wicked yōkai (妖怪), spirits and demons from Japanese mythology. This particular scene is evocative of the hyakki yagyō (百鬼夜行) idiom, a historic theme in Japanese visual representation wherein a procession of legendary creatures sets foot upon the communities of mortal men and women.

A view of the book’s cover with title
Kyōsai hyakki gadan

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Genshi Sugoroku: Kagaku Kyōiku Manga (Atomic game board: Comics for science education)!

Images details, counterclockwise, from upper right corner: 1. Original envelope containing the fold-out  print;  2. The foldout print in its entirety; 3. Print detail of the game goal (“agari, “上り), flanked by descriptions of Hideki Yukawa and Alfred Nobel;  4. Print detail of “No more Hiroshimas!” located above the goal.

As of today our exhibit, “Creative Responses to the Cold War,” has come to an end.  It was bittersweet when I worked this morning with colleagues in the Thompson First Floor Gallery to empty all of the exhibit cases. 

One of my favorite exhibit pieces, which will soon makes its way back to the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum, is called Genshi Sugoroku (原子双六, which translates roughly as “Atomic Game Board”), a colorful manga that celebrated the physicist Yukawa Hideki (湯川秀樹: 1907-1981), Japan’s first recipient of the Nobel Prize in physics. 

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Kanto Earthquake Orihon Book of Watercolors

Japanese Studies at OSU Libraries is excited to announce the acquisition of “Kanto Earthquake Watercolors.”  This rare book, which has no official title, includes twelve pages of original paintings depicting the 7.9 magnitude earthquake that hit Japan in 1923. This earthquake devastated several areas and resulted in a large fire, causing the death of an estimated 100,000 to 140,000 people. The paintings, created by Nakazawa Hiromitsu (中沢弘光), a well-known Nihonga and watercolor painter from Kansai, as well as other contemporary manga artists, focus exclusively on  scenes from the aftermath of the historic disaster.

Kanto Earthquake Destruction

Kanto Earthquake Fire









This book, which forms part of the world-class manga collection at OSU Libraries, is now housed at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum (BICLM).  For those interested in viewing this rare book, please contact Japanese Studies Librarian Ann Marie Davis at

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Educational manga (学習漫画) at Ohio State Libraries

Manga is not often associated with education, but there is actually an entire genre dedicated to it: 学習漫画 (gakushū manga or educational manga).

The format has a number of inherent advantages over traditional media.  With both written and pictorial elements, manga can often succeed in conveying complex ideas in easy-to-understand ways better than just diagrams or text alone. Manga’s serialized format also naturally lends itself to step-by-step instructions, giving readers a deeper feeling of sequential order. Finally, the narrative nature of manga often sticks in reader’s minds and helps them to create a framework for understanding the new material.

An educational manga that teaches Japanese history to grade school children. Other examples include manga for adults studying tea ceremony, automobile repair, and cooking.

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