Marxist Manga Puts the Commie Back in Comics

When it comes to Japanese manga (comics), nothing is sacred: a prime example being the outrageous Let's Bible! Now a new entry in comic form seeks to bring Karl Marx's seminal work of socialist theory, "Das Kapital", to today's struggling masses. 

Re-introducing communist theory to a new generation disillusioned by the 2008 financial crisis is, ironically, a winning business model. Indeed, rip-roaring sales of the new manga in Japan - 6,000 copies sold within days - have encouraged publisher EastPress Co. to rush Korean, Chinese and English versions into production.

It should be said that Vol. 1 of the Das Kapital manga is fictionalized: a story based on Marx's masterpiece and not a line-by-line illustrated re-telling.

The main character of the manga is Robin, the son of a socialist who runs a cheese factory in cahoots with a stereotypical capitalist investor to the detriment of its workers - and in the larger sense, society.

When asked to comment on the success of the Das Kapital mange, EastPress spokesman Yusuke Maruo put some of the blame on the capitalist system for basically dropping the ball. "I think people are looking to Marx for answers to the problems with the capitalist society," reflected Maruo. "Obviously, the recent global crisis suggests that the system isn’t working properly."

Also getting high Marx is Japan's official Communist Party. Founded in 1922, the 415,000 member JCP is Japan's fourth-largest political party and is welcoming new "comrades" at the rate of 1,000 per month.

A new manga that presents socialism in an appealing style certainly won't dent those numbers. With the worst economic downturn in decades showing no signs of easing, being fashionably well-read means being fashionably red. (via AZstarnet, Telegraph UK and Japan Today)

Dec 25, 2008
by Anonymous

Marxist Manga you've got to be kidding

First of all, compared to 1932, times are good, really good. If you're sucking down a piece of turkey and burying your face in pumpkin pie, be grateful that you're not eating wet cigarette butts.

And as far as Marx and communism goes - eff that. We defeated communism once and anyone who thinks there's salvation or redemption in that horrific economic system should get on a boat and head to Cuba. There's no place for it in the United States of America.

Dec 25, 2008
by Steve Levenstein
Steve Levenstein's picture

no place for it?

That remains to be seen - it's the American way to let the market decide Wink

Feb 7, 2009
by Anonymous

Rubbish! If you think Cuba

Rubbish! If you think Cuba is or ever was a communist society, you have no idea what you're talking about. You make the typical American error of confusing socialism with statism. Socialism is not the process of creating a society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state. Socialism is the process of creating a society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the worker. A difficult transformation I will admit, but one well worth working for.