Wednesday, May 28, 2008


A dark manga, Shamo follows the story of a young boy who murders his parents and becomes interned in a juvenile reformatory. In order to survive, he begins to study Karate, which serves as a foil for Japanese nationalist identity. This is a a very violent manga, but thoroughly enjoyable for its insights into Japanese complacency, the possibility/necessity of a new Japanese nationalism, and its detailed depiction of various martial arts.

Why you should care: Any hardcore action fans out there? Apart from the dealing with issues of alienation, identity, suffering and loss, Shamo gives particularly poignant insight into a the need for a national Japanese identity, and makes a strong case for rooting it in Karate.

Un manga obscuro, Shamo cuenta la historia de un joven que asesina a sus padres y se encuentra internado en un reformatorio. Para sobrevivir, aprende Karate, y este sirve en el Manga como vehiculo para la expression de un nacionalismo latente Japones. La verdad es que este es un Manga muy pero muy violento. A pesar de esto brinda una vision critica de lo que es la complacencia de la sociedad moderna Japonesa, y presenta un nacionalismo Japones codificado como alternativa. Tambien es interesante su representacion de varios estilos de pelea, en gran detalle.

Porque habria de interesarte? Acaso tenemos por ahi fanes de la accion y la violencia?Aparte, el Manga trata themas de alienacion, identidad, sufrimiento y perdidas, asi como la necesidad de un nacionalismo Japones actualizado y moderno, aunque con raizes en el Karate.

1 comment:

Mike said...

Not the only manga to wrap Japanese nationalism in the dogi of martial arts.

Battle Angel Alita touches on a lot of the same stuff.

I would say a lot of other Japanese artists tend to use martial arts as a way to affirm aspects of identity. Sort of a Hegelian test of self-consciousness.

In most cases the spiritual teachings of Japanese martial arts tent to transcend actual fighting technique in importance. Hence a definition of Japanese values can be derived from fictional accounts of fighting.