Chinese Comics in the Age of Globalization: The Influence of Japanese Manga and the Exploration of “Chinese Flavor” in Chinese Girls’ Comics

Ms Ying Huang1

1The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China

This paper examines “Chinese flavor” in Chinese girls’ comics under the influence of Japanese manga. Catering to teenage girls and young women, the genre of girls’ comics originates from Japan. After Japanese manga entered mainland China in the 1980s, Japanese girls’ comics became popular among Chinese readers, especially in the 1990s and 2000s. Chinese comic artists also started to produce local girls’ comics, namely “shaonu manhua” in Chinese. At the early stage, shaonu manhua were similar to Japanese manga in terms of visual styles and narratives. Later, in the mid-2010s, the discussion of enhancing “Chinese flavor (zhongguofeng)” in comics has been raised, not only to differentiate Chinese comics from Japanese manga, but also to pursue market success and government’s policy and financial support. Consequently, Chineseness became emphasized in Chinese comics. For shaonu manhua, a genre rooted in Japanese manga, many producers are now exploring “Chinese flavor” in their works while being influenced by Japanese manga and other cultural forms. According to textual and visual analysis as well as ethnographic data, this paper investigates how Chinese shaonu manhua producers negotiate between Japan’s influence and their intention to enhance “Chinese flavor”, how they interpret and construct “Chinese flavor” in their works, and how the interplay between Japan’s influence and “Chinese flavor” has affect shaonu manhua regarding their contents.


Ying Huang is a PhD candidate at The Chinese University of Hong Kong.


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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