100 books like Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics

By Frederik L. Schodt,

Here are 100 books that Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics fans have personally recommended if you like Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Cruising the Anime City: An Otaku Guide to Neo Tokyo

Gianni Simone Author Of Otaku Japan: The Fascinating World of Japanese Manga, Anime, Gaming, Cosplay, Toys, Idols and More!

From my list on otaku Japan.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have lived in Japan for the last 30 years but my love for manga, anime, and games is much older and dates back to when UFO Robot Grendizer was first shown on Italian TV a fateful summer evening in 1978. Many years later, I was able to turn my passion for all things Japanese into a job and now I regularly write about politics, society, sports, travel, and culture in all its forms. However, I often go back to my first love and combine walking, urban exploration, and my otaku cravings into looking for new stores and visiting manga and anime locations in and around Tokyo.

Gianni's book list on otaku Japan

Gianni Simone Why did Gianni love this book?

The mother of all otaku guides was published by current Otaku USA magazine’s honcho Macias and famous otaku writer Machiyama and reflects their tastes and idiosyncratic approach to the subject. Admittedly, you can find better, more complete, and updated otaku travel guides now (e.g. my book… wink wink) but this colorful book has a funky turn-of-the-century design and features things that you will hardly find elsewhere, like interviews with Mandarake owner Masuzo Furukawa, magazine editor Hisanori Nukata (about action figures), past cosplay queen Jan Kurotaki and Japan’s most notorious plastic model kit collector Chimatsuri. It’s a wonderful blast from the past.

By Patrick Macias, Tomohiro Machiyama,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cruising the Anime City as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

If you're into anime (and manga), there's no place like Neo Tokyo. Here otaku dress-up cos-play style for real, 100,000+ fans attend cons to buy and trade, and anime soundtracks are performed in concert halls. Neo Tokyo is where anime has become both urban fashion and cultural zeitgeist, and this is its first street-smart guide in English. Featuring interviews with tastemakers, it covers studios, toys, museums, games, film "locations," music, plus where to hang and how to cruise. Four-color, with maps and index.

Patrick Macias, a specialist in Asian film and Japanese pop culture, is the author of TokyoScope.

Tomohiro…


Book cover of Arcade Mania: The Turbo-charged World of Japan's Game Centers

Gianni Simone Author Of Otaku Japan: The Fascinating World of Japanese Manga, Anime, Gaming, Cosplay, Toys, Idols and More!

From my list on otaku Japan.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have lived in Japan for the last 30 years but my love for manga, anime, and games is much older and dates back to when UFO Robot Grendizer was first shown on Italian TV a fateful summer evening in 1978. Many years later, I was able to turn my passion for all things Japanese into a job and now I regularly write about politics, society, sports, travel, and culture in all its forms. However, I often go back to my first love and combine walking, urban exploration, and my otaku cravings into looking for new stores and visiting manga and anime locations in and around Tokyo.

Gianni's book list on otaku Japan

Gianni Simone Why did Gianni love this book?

Together with TV anime, the first video games (e.g. Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Donkey Kong) arrived in Italy between 1978 and 1981 and completely changed the way my friends and I spent our free time and pocket money. Ten years later I moved to Japan and, again, spent insanely long hours in dark game arcades playing Virtua Fighter. If, like me, you are a game addict, this book will tell you everything you need to know about game history and the intricacies and main personalities of each genre, from shooting and fighting games to retro and card-based games. It’s a huge saccharine high. Now excuse me but I gotta have my fix. 

By Brian Ashcraft, Jean Snow,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Arcade Mania as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Home of Sega, Nintendo, and Sony, Japan has a unique and powerful presence in the world of video games. Another thing that makes Japan unique in the gaming world is the prevalence of game arcades. While the game arcade scene has died in the U.S., there are 9,500 "game centers" in Japan with more than 445,000 game machines.
Arcade Mania introduces overseas readers to the fascinating world of the Japanese gemu senta. Organized as a guided tour of a typical game center, the book is divided into nine chapters, each of which deals with a different kind of game, starting…


Book cover of Otaku Food! Japanese Soul Food Inspired by Anime and Pop Culture

Gianni Simone Author Of Otaku Japan: The Fascinating World of Japanese Manga, Anime, Gaming, Cosplay, Toys, Idols and More!

From my list on otaku Japan.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have lived in Japan for the last 30 years but my love for manga, anime, and games is much older and dates back to when UFO Robot Grendizer was first shown on Italian TV a fateful summer evening in 1978. Many years later, I was able to turn my passion for all things Japanese into a job and now I regularly write about politics, society, sports, travel, and culture in all its forms. However, I often go back to my first love and combine walking, urban exploration, and my otaku cravings into looking for new stores and visiting manga and anime locations in and around Tokyo.

Gianni's book list on otaku Japan

Gianni Simone Why did Gianni love this book?

Both the Italians and the Japanese are obsessed with food, and I’m an Italian living in Japan. You do the math. My first shocking encounter with sushi notwithstanding (I mistook wasabi for some kind of green mayonnaise) I love Japanese cuisine, and anime stories are full of people eating all kinds of food. 

If you have found yourself watching an anime and wishing that you could taste a particular dish, with this book you can go one step further: you can make it yourself. Here you will find simple but detailed instructions on how to make lots of Japanese dishes, and their connections with a particular anime title. I wish I owned this book when I first entered Otakudom. 

By Danielle Baghernejad,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Otaku Food! Japanese Soul Food Inspired by Anime and Pop Culture as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Experience the World of Japanese Pop Culture Through a Whole New Medium-Japanese Food!

#1 New Release in Animated Humor & Entertainment

With dishes inspired by otaku culture, this cookbook brings Japanese anime and manga to chefs of all levels.

Experience Japanese culture like never before. Japan fever has taken the West by storm. Praised for its attention to detail, it's no wonder that some of the most appealing images are colorfully culinary. From beautifully animated bowls of ramen and curry to cakes and confectionery, Japanese food culture never looked so good. If only you could reach out and take a…


Book cover of The Moe Manifesto: An Insider's Look at the Worlds of Manga, Anime, and Gaming

Gianni Simone Author Of Otaku Japan: The Fascinating World of Japanese Manga, Anime, Gaming, Cosplay, Toys, Idols and More!

From my list on otaku Japan.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have lived in Japan for the last 30 years but my love for manga, anime, and games is much older and dates back to when UFO Robot Grendizer was first shown on Italian TV a fateful summer evening in 1978. Many years later, I was able to turn my passion for all things Japanese into a job and now I regularly write about politics, society, sports, travel, and culture in all its forms. However, I often go back to my first love and combine walking, urban exploration, and my otaku cravings into looking for new stores and visiting manga and anime locations in and around Tokyo.

Gianni's book list on otaku Japan

Gianni Simone Why did Gianni love this book?

Patrick Galbraith is arguably one of the leading experts on all things otaku. He has written dozens of article and essays and a few books on the subject, and choosing one to showcase here was not easy. The Moe Manifesto is not an entry-level work; it’s for hardcore fans who want to dive headfirst into the otaku rabbit hole. Even I often consult it for inspiration when I write about Japanese subcultures. 

The book’s main selling point – especially if you can’t read Japanese – is that Galbraith has assembled a unique lineup of experts (university professors, social and cultural critics, writers, illustrators and other assorted creatives) that he has extensively interviewed about different aspects of otaku culture. There’s a lot of serious food for thought here.

By Patrick W. Galbraith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Moe Manifesto as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Moe is a huge cultural phenomenon and one of the driving forces behind the enormous success of Japanese anime and manga--not just in Japan but now throughout the world.

In Japan, avid fans of manga comics, anime films and video games use the term Moe to refer to the strong sense of emotional attachment they feel for their favorite characters. These fans have a powerful desire to protect and nurture the youthful, beautiful and innocent characters they adore--like Sagisawa Moe in Dinosaur Planet and Tomoe Hotaru in Sailor Moon. They create their own websites, characters, stories, discussion groups, toys and…


Book cover of Cross Game, Volume 1

Stephen McCranie Author Of Space Boy Volume 1

From my list on graphic YA with slow-burning high school romances.

Why am I passionate about this?

My name is Stephen McCranie and I'm currently working on Space Boy, a slow-burning high school romance that asks the question, "How do we bridge the gap between us?" I love working in this particular genre because high school is such a formative period for all of us. Also, when a romance burns slowly, the audience gets time to explore the world of the story, which can often be dynamic and lush with detail. And then, when our lovers find each other at long last, it is all the more sweet for having waited.

Stephen's book list on graphic YA with slow-burning high school romances

Stephen McCranie Why did Stephen love this book?

I love Mitsuru Adachi for his masterful storytelling and playful touch. Comics are all about choosing the right moments to string into sequences, and Adachi has a knack for choosing surprising moments without losing the clarity of the story. He's had a huge influence on my work. A story about two friends: an ace pitcher and an ace batter, and their rivalry for love and victory on the baseball field. Behind this epic baseball drama is a wonderful story about the couple that could never be.

By Mitsuru Adachi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cross Game, Volume 1 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Cross Game is a moving drama that is heartfelt and true, yet in the brilliant hands of manga artist Mitsuru Adachi, delightfully flows with a light and amusing touch. The series centers around a boy named Ko, the family of four sisters who live down the street and the game of baseball. This poignant coming-of-age story will change your perception of what shonen manga can be.


Book cover of Pure Invention: How Japan Made the Modern World

Thomas Lockley Author Of African Samurai: The True Story of Yasuke, a Legendary Black Warrior in Feudal Japan

From my list on Japan’s global history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I first came to Japan knowing nothing about the place I was going to live. With hindsight, that was perhaps foolish, but it started my adventure in Japanese history. At first, I stumbled through blindly, reading the odd book and watching dramas and movies for fun. But then I discovered Yasuke, an African who became samurai in 1581. He focused me, and I started reading to discover his world. History means nothing without knowing what came before and after, so I read more, and more, until suddenly, I was publishing books and articles, and appearing on Japanese TV. It has gone well beyond the African Samurai now, but I am eternally grateful to him for his guidance.

Thomas' book list on Japan’s global history

Thomas Lockley Why did Thomas love this book?

In this book, Alt sets out a convincing argument as to how much of the modern world, the culture and products consumed, as well as niche but dangerously influential areas of the internet and modern politics such as ‘4chan,’ trace their birth and or roots back to Japan. It is full of facts that are commonly overlooked or ignored but are true nonetheless. I could not stop reading this, and I suspect that if you are reading this list, you won’t be able to either.

By Matt Alt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pure Invention as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Amazingly well researched, fabulously informative and an awful lot of fun. If you love Japanese culture or are just curious to know more I can't recommend this book highly enough' Jonathan Ross

'A nerd- and generalist-friendly look at how Japan shaped the post-World War II world, from toys to Trump . . . A non-native's savvy study of Japan's wide influence in ways both subtle and profound' Kirkus

The Walkman. Karaoke. Pikachu. Pac-Man. Akira. Emoji. We've all fallen in love with one or another of Japan's pop-culture creations, from the techy to the wild to the super-kawaii. But as Japanese-media…


Book cover of Kyo Kara Maoh!

Evelyn Benvie Author Of I Am Not Your Chosen One

From my list on trope-twisting fantasy to make you laugh.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been an avid ready of fantasy for over twenty years, and I’ve spent nearly as long at least thinking about writing. In that time, I have definitely found some fantasy that wasn’t for me and some that really, really was. I like my fantasy fun and relatively light—I own nearly every Discworld book but could never get into George R. R. Martin. And my writing has naturally evolved around the same lines. I love a good joke or a well-timed pun almost as much as I love unexpected takes on fantasy tropes. 

Evelyn's book list on trope-twisting fantasy to make you laugh

Evelyn Benvie Why did Evelyn love this book?

A Japanese light novel, manga, and anime, Kyo Kara Maoh! is perhaps the foundation upon which my obsession with trope-defying fantasy humor was built. I will admit to watching the anime first (as an impressionable young teenager) and being hooked. It wasn’t like any show I had seen before. It was funny because it made fun of itself and the genres and tropes that normally constrained such a series. And as soon as I found that such a thing existed I wanted it. Tropes are great, but I love them so much more when they’re turned upside down or inside out or stretched out of shape completely, because then you get to see what they’re really made of.

By Tomo Takabayashi, Temari Matsumoto (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Kyo Kara Maoh! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Japanese schoolboy Yuri Shibuya, who has a strong sense of justice, gets flushed into another world, he is hailed as the king of the Mazoku, beautiful demons who want him to lead them in their war against humans.


Book cover of Miyazakiworld: A Life in Art

Eric Reinders Author Of The Moral Narratives of Hayao Miyazaki

From my list on Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki.

Why am I passionate about this?

Princess Mononoke blew my mind. And as I read about Miyazaki himself I thought: here is a kindred spirit. I thought I’d try teaching a course on Miyazaki, not sure if I could sustain a whole semester just about his work—and then I found, there’s way more than a semester’s worth to talk about. After teaching about Miyazaki for a few years, I had to write it all down. Some reviews of my book say my essays are personal, and it’s true, for better or worse—it isn’t about Studio Ghibli or the production process or even about Japan—it’s my reflections on these great films. 

Eric's book list on Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki

Eric Reinders Why did Eric love this book?

This is an excellent “life in art,” or a series of chapters on the major works in a biographical context.

Napier discusses such questions as: his feelings about the fact that his family profited from the war, making fan belts for fighter planes; his feelings about his father compared to his mother; the relation of the works to his professional life—the studio, his collaborators, his periodic burn-out and work ethic.

By Susan J. Napier,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Miyazakiworld as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The story of filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki's life and work, including his significant impact on Japan and the world-"an essential work in anime scholarship." (Angelica Frey, Hyperallergic)

A thirtieth-century toxic jungle, a bathhouse for tired gods, a red-haired fish girl, and a furry woodland spirit-what do these have in common? They all spring from the mind of Hayao Miyazaki, one of the greatest living animators, known worldwide for films such as My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle, and The Wind Rises.

Japanese culture and animation scholar Susan Napier explores the life and art of this extraordinary Japanese…


Book cover of Blue Period 1

Lio Min Author Of Beating Heart Baby

From my list on the transformative power of art.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m only a writer because I was a musician first. I worshiped music—as a performer, listener, and later a critic—for its ability to enshrine me in a purely emotional world. My favorite lyrics were poetry in motion; my favorite melodies escaped description. And through sharing my feverish acclamations of particular albums and songs, I found community with others who also pledged themselves to art that’d definitively split their lives into “before” and “after.” My writing career was born from cathartic devotion and remains devoted to recounting the rapture of self-formation, of being reflected in the mirror of something that saw you before you even knew to see yourself.

Lio's book list on the transformative power of art

Lio Min Why did Lio love this book?

This Japanese manga series about a disillusioned high schooler who finds purpose through painting speaks so pointedly to my reality as a creative professional that sometimes, after reading a chapter, I will lie down on the ground, struck through by dread, electric possibility, or some combination thereof.

Beyond the fact that I’d be remiss if I didn’t somehow represent anime and manga, which have played outsized roles in my creative formation, this book is refreshingly blunt about the realities of making a living from art. But it’s also so generous with its characters, who represent every stripe of a budding artist with startling specificity. Including its protagonist, Yatora, who upends his life because of a single painting. Who can’t relate?

By Tsubasa Yamaguchi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Blue Period 1 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

Winner of the 2020 Manga Taisho Grand Prize! A manga about the struggles and rewards of a life dedicated to art. The studious Yatora leaves a dry life of study and good manners behind for a new passion: painting. But untethering yourself from all your past expectations is dangerous as well as thrilling... Yatora is the perfect high school student, with good grades and lots of friends. It's an effortless performance, and, ultimately...a dull one. But he wanders into the art room one day, and a lone painting captures his eye, awakening him to a kind of beauty he never…


Book cover of Spirited Away

Eric Reinders Author Of The Moral Narratives of Hayao Miyazaki

From my list on Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki.

Why am I passionate about this?

Princess Mononoke blew my mind. And as I read about Miyazaki himself I thought: here is a kindred spirit. I thought I’d try teaching a course on Miyazaki, not sure if I could sustain a whole semester just about his work—and then I found, there’s way more than a semester’s worth to talk about. After teaching about Miyazaki for a few years, I had to write it all down. Some reviews of my book say my essays are personal, and it’s true, for better or worse—it isn’t about Studio Ghibli or the production process or even about Japan—it’s my reflections on these great films. 

Eric's book list on Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki

Eric Reinders Why did Eric love this book?

This short book is a detailed study of just one great film, scholarly but without jargon. 

Along the way, he points out many details I had missed. He also demonstrates the connections of Spirited Away to Miyazawa Kenji’s Night of the Milky Way Railway, and other sources and inter-textual references. Very interesting and revealing.

By Andrew Osmond,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Spirited Away as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Spirited Away, directed by the veteran anime film-maker Hayao Miyazaki, is Japan's most successful film, and one of the top-grossing 'foreign language' films ever released. Set in modern Japan, the film is a wildly imaginative fantasy, at once personal and universal. It tells the story of a listless little girl, Chihiro, who stumbles into a magical world where gods relax in a palatial bathhouse, where there are giant babies and hard-working soot sprites, and where a train
runs across the sea.

Andrew Osmond's insightful study describes how Miyazaki directed Spirited Away with a degree of creative control undreamt of in…


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