Manga excluded from the Culture pass? The verdict is in

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Manga is culture. And that goes for the Culture pass. This is, at least, the conclusion that we can draw following the recent decision of the National Assembly. RN deputy Jean-Philippe Tanguy had tabled an amendment to exclude Japanese comics, which was largely rejected. Good news for Culture pass recipients.

Manga is culture

According to Jean-Philippe Tanguy and the Rassemblement National, the Culture pass must be refocused on “truly cultural activities”. In this sense, the deputy RN had tabled a bill to exclude manga from this device. But this amendment did not pass like a letter to the Post Office and the verdict fell: manga are still eligible for the Culture pass. It is a crushing defeat since 63 deputies voted against this amendment while only 14 deputies really wanted manga to be removed from the Culture pass.

We are currently in the golden age of manga. In recent years, sales of these Japanese comics have exploded. In the first half of 2022, they increased by 14 million copies compared to the same period in 2019. This is equivalent to an increase of 168%! In the first half of this year, 23 million manga have been sold across France. In 2020, more than one in two comics sold was a manga and this trend persists. Today, France is the biggest consumer of manga, just after Japan.

For many years, manga was associated with a specific genre, shonen nekketsu (like naruto, Dragon Ball Z or One Piece). But in reality, there are a multitude of genres of manga. Now, these are much less niche works than they once were, and readers flock to them.

With the implementation of the Culture pass in February 2019, people between the ages of 15 and 18 benefit from a credit of a certain amount, depending on their age, to access cultural activities. Cinema, museums, musical instruments, games or even books are all categories this pass takes into account. The goal ? Promoting culture among the youngest. Of all the literary reservations made with the Culture pass, more than half are for manga.

But even today, some people find it difficult to consider manga as culture in its own right. Or, at least, manga would be considered “bad” culture while other literary works, such as novels, would be considered “good” culture. It’s a debate that comes up regularly: what is culture and are some forms of art superior to others? But this is a superfluous and far too simplistic debate. The mangas, coming from the Japanese archipelago, highlight a different culture but a culture all the same. Thus, manga keep their pass and are not excluded from the Culture pass. Good news, therefore, for amateurs. It is certain that manga still have a bright future ahead of them, and that’s good.



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