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Thomas, Jolyon Baraka: "Horrific “Cults” and Comic Religion. Manga after Aum." In: Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 39.1 (2012), S. 127–151. 
Resource type: Journal Article
Languages: englisch
Peer reviewed
BibTeX citation key: Thomas2012d
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Categories: General
Keywords: "20th Century Boys", "Believers", "Death Note", "Saint Young Men", Japan, Manga, Nakamura. Hikaru, Ōba. Tsugumi, Obata. Takeshi, Religion, Urasawa. Naoki, Yamamoto. Naoki
Creators: Thomas
Collection: Japanese Journal of Religious Studies
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After the 1995 Aum Shinrikyō オウム真理教 sarin gas attacks, influential commentators suggested that enthralling apocalyptic narratives characteristic of manga (illustrated serial novels) made Aum members prone to extremism and violence. This article inverts this interpretation, showing that popular manga published after 1995 have exhibited—and reflected—morbid fascination with the sensational fodder provided by the Aum incident itself. Early manga responses advanced variations on a horrific “evil cult” trope in which marginal religions modeled on Aum were graphically depicted as hotbeds of sexual depravity, fraud, and violence. Over time, equally chilling—if less sensational—psychological thrillers appeared that interrogated the aspects of human nature that allow for “cult-like” behavior. Finally, one very recent manga has sublimated the formerly popular “evil cult” trope by divorcing “religion” from “cults” and rehabilitating the former through mildly irreverent comedy.
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