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Young British readers' engagement with manga



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Tsai, Yi-Shan 


This thesis presents young British readers’ engagement with manga regarding literary, aesthetic, social, and cultural dimensions. The study explores young readers’ points of views of their reading preference – manga. I investigated how children interpreted manga, with respect to the artistic techniques, the embedded ideologies, and the cultural elements therein. I also looked into children’s participation in manga fandom and its social meanings. This allowed me to explore what attracted British readers to this exotic text. This study involved 16 participants from two schools, aged between 10 and 15, with genders represented equally. The participants were grouped by gender in each school. Each group of students received three group interviews based on three manga that they were required to read in advance. Individual interviews with each student followed the group interviews, and all the students were asked to keep reading reflections. The findings show that the attraction of participants to manga includes at least five dimensions. First, manga is a visually rich text, which not only had great power in rendering vicarious experiences to the students, but also allowed the struggling students to grasp the meanings of the text better. Second, both the verbal and the visual storytelling were characterised as fragmentary, which inspired the students’ imagination to join the creation of the story. Third, manga provided a temporary shelter where the participants could forget a stressful and frustrating reality. In addition, they felt that they gained renewed hope, refreshed energy, and insights to face potential challenges and difficulties in their lives. Fourth, the elements of Japaneseness and otherness made manga reading a rich experience of an exotic culture. Fifth, manga afforded collective pleasures in fan communities where the students could express their passion and gained a sense of identity.





manga, comics, sequential art, reader response, popular culture, visual literacy, cinematic techniques, fans, fragmentation, emotions, Immersion, fandom, multimodal texts


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Awarding Institution

University of Cambridge
This work was supported by Taiwan Cambridge Scholarship from Commonwealth European and International Cambridge Trust and the Ministry of Education in Taiwan