3. The motivation for reading mangas
The mangas being before all a form of entertainment, which aims to give people an opportunity to escape everyday life troubles, it isn’t surprising that this is the first reason for reading mangas. This is confirmed by the results showing that a large percentage of the respondents find mangas « cute, funny » or/and « extreme, dramatic », and the characters very unlikely, that is out of the ordinary.
Digging further into the answers given, one realizes that characters play an important part in the motivations for reading mangas for a good part of the surveyed people, who find it easy to identify with the heroes of these series and wish to have some of their qualities. Even those who only read mangas occasionally. One must note then that there is a sort of link between the impact of mangas on the respondents’ moods and daily lives and this easy idenitification with the characters deemed lovable. As a result, all these people acknowledge that their personal life is mildly to strongly penetrated by mangas (goodies, clothes).
As we’ll see later on, the participants in this survey aren’t alone and a good third of them is discovered mangas thanks to their friends. And almost as many, although not always the same persons, particularly appreciate to discuss their readings with other fans.
4. Mangas and perceptions of Japan
What particularly emerges from this survey is the role played by mangas as a sort of entry point into Japanese culture. Overall, respondents think that mangas present Japan as a pleasant country, more modern than Switzerland and portray the Japanese as a very hard working and spiritual people, with very different values and full of contradictions. They therefore perceive the Japan of mangas in a very positive light and express a real desire to learn more about this country through language learning, traveling and encounter with Japanese.
One finds there a link between the fans/amateurs profiles and an interest for Asia in general and Japan in particular. First of all, there is pretty high number of the participants who say they read mangas in Japanese (15%, especially Swiss-German). The questionnaire doesn’t tell us whether they can read this language fluently or not, though. But it turns out that several of them didn’t know any Japanese before coming to mangas and have started to learn it as a result of their new passion for these stories.
Virtually all respondents of the fans and amateurs categories have started to read mangas as a result of their interest for Japan and Asia. It is important to remark that in about 2/3 of these cases, they haven’t perceived in mangas a particularly chocking or unexpected portrayal of Japan. A good half of them also think that mangas give a globally accurate image of the Japanese social reality or transpose it in imaginary worlds.