A popular manga among young girls now is trying to reveal the dangerous “epidemic” that seems to have hit a lot of middle schools and high schools in Japan, sometimes with deadly results. Simply titled Ijime (“bullying“), the comic may shock some of the readers and their parents, but the creator believes it is important to carry the manga’s message across to them.
The bimonthly comic anthology has sold more than 2 million copies since it started in 2005, along with being adapted into numerous novels and collected volumes. Kaoru Igarashi, the series’ artist and creator, believes that her work is done when bullying victims tell her that after reading her work, they realize that they are not suffering alone. While she herself has not been a victim, Igarashi and her editor Nahoko Inagaki look at the latest bullying incidents that have made the news and they also consult education experts. The usual plotline starts with how a character becomes a victim of bullying and how other factors, including divorce, bankruptcy and domestic violence also factor in for both the bully and the victims. There is often violence involved, but at the end of the story, there is usually a message of hope and even reconciliation.
Another manga that deals with bullying is Keiko Suenobu’s Life, a monthly comic anthology that started in 2009, and selling over 10 million copies with its 20 bound volumes. The publisher of the magazine, Kodansha, also released documentary-type manga books based on actual stories submitted by readers. The editor in charge of the series believes that this is a good outlet for the girls to express their feelings about being bullied in school. One reader said that while she was disturbed by what she read, it also made her realize that one should not just stand by and do nothing when they find someone being bullied.
[ via Asahi Shimbun ]