It may not be obvious but Japanese culture has been steadily seeping into the Emirates’ veins. The Japanese Culture Day celebration at Safa Park this year was a good example. The event covered everything from the ceremonial tea ceremony, Minyo – traditional Japanese dance form, Ikebana – the Japanese art of flower arrangement and Origami paper craft to vintage kimonos as well as kimono and obi wearing demos, and Japanese cuisine. Organised by Versus – on – and offline platform for presenting and collecting art – along with the Japanese Consulate in Dubai, the event shows growing interest in the traditions and culture of the Land of the Rising Sun.
Often referred to in english as ‘comic books’, Japanese manga is a very diverse art form. The story lines are not limited to humour and cover every conceivable aspect of life. Mangas are available in different genres as well as age groups.
Manga in UAE
Qais Sedki, is an Emirati successfully drawing upon Japanese cultural and artistic influences. He is head of Pageflip, a Dubai-based manga publishing house. The company’s Gold Ring manga, authored by Sedki and drawn by two Japanese manga artists, is the UAE’s first original Arabic–language manga. In 2010, it won the UAE’s Sheikh Zayed Book Award for Children’s Literature.
Manga isn’t just inspiring UAE’s writers but has crossed-over into the UAE’s food scene too. Owner of restaurant Manga Sushi, a Dubai-based manga-themed restaurant, Sultan Al Banna, claims to “love Japan more than anyone in the world”. Manga Sushi is much adored among the local populace not just for the food but the ambience too. Drawings and figurines of popular manga characters decorate the walls.There is also a collection of manga books and the sushi menu also contains plenty of surprises: dishes named Godzilla, otaku, yakuza and dragon ball. Al Banna’s first encounter with Japan came through manga. He fell in love with the comics as a 12 year–old, and has been hooked ever since. Doraemon, Captain Tsubasa, Ikky-san, Little Heidi, The Rose of Versailles, Slump and Arale – from the latest hits to the classics, he knows them all. Sultan’s interest in manga has inspired him to start his journey towards understanding more profound aspects of the traditional culture.
via Gulf Business.