By: Jamal Carswell
Photo By: Kelcie Hathcock
In any library there is a vault of knowledge and culture.
The Troy Public Library, in the year 2004, added manga to this wealth of culture under William J. White, the Troy Public Library’s current director.
A myriad of questions can spring up from this action and its inclusion in the Tropolitan.
One such question could simply be, “What is ‘manga’?”
Manga is the term for a Japanese comic book.
These types of comics differ from American comic books in their style of drawing and the way they are read, which is from right to left.
Whereas manga may differ from American comics in the ways previously stated, there is one universal about both— the message of justice.
Comic book culture is seeing an increasingly high amount of use in popular culture in the United States.
This rise is mainly because the message is applicable to those of all ages.
Reid Potts, a senior English major from Dothan, said, “I’m a huge comic fan, both of American and Japanese, and I can clearly see the similarities between the two and how they can apply to people of both cultures.”
Manga is also seeing the same rise in popular culture today, being sold more in stores and also being vastly read online.
Online manga has seen such a high increase that it led to the cease of the American serialization of popular manga magazines such as Shonen Jump.
Many argue that this surge of online reading is bad for manga as a whole, but the main point is that manga is being read.
So how does this apply to the manga in the library?
Part of the increase of manga in popular culture is the act of adding it to the culture. Adding manga to the library is a stepping-stone to incorporating manga into American culture.
Jonathan Carswell, a senior high school student at Charles Henderson High School, said, “I loved watching anime and reading manga all throughout high school. Coming to Troy University next year, I feel that I’ll at least have something to talk to a Japanese person about when I meet one.”
This addition is important because it increases the sense of camaraderie between America and other cultures.
American society has always held the idea that America is a ‘melting pot’ of different cultures, and that ‘melting pot’ is constantly striving to increase its number of ingredients, if you will.
Manga is one of the many links that make the bond between American and Japanese culture.
Multicultural literature, such as manga, helps those of American society relate to those of Japanese society through the aforementioned message: justice.
In this stride to band two cultures together, the Troy Public Library is in a somewhat unique position.
Being close to Troy University allows for the actual interaction of people from another nation. In this case, it is Japanese culture.
The addition to manga in the Troy Public Library is of two-fold significance.
On one hand it allows for the people of Troy to become acclimated to another society.
On the other hand, it helps the people of that other society, in this case Japanese, to have a taste of home.
Being away from one’s country for years at a time can seriously take its toll on a student.
Having literature from your home country can ease tension and help the student cope with being away from home.
Having manga in the Troy Public Library is helping to aid in Troy University’s mission to incorporate different cultures into university life.
Adding manga to the Troy Public Library helps increase the multicultural longevity of the entire city of Troy.
This concept makes adding manga in the library more than just increasing the readership of youths.