Friday, June 4, 2010

Jesuits hope to spread the good news with manga

Kolkata Jesuits organized a recent workshop on the Japanese comic form of manga drawing, which they say has potential as a Bible-teaching tool.
The stylistic and attractive Japanese art form is “an excellent means” to evangelize among illiterate Indians as it has “enormous potential” to teach the Bible, said Father Joseph Pymbellikunnel, director of Chitrabani (light and sound), the communication center of Calcutta archdiocese.
Japanese use the art form to teach various topics, apart from mere entertainment, said Japanese manga artist Yukichi Yamamatsu who conducted the workshop.
He said he wanted Indians to explore ways to use the Japanese art form for education. Manga can express easily what words fail to communicate, he added.
The workshop is the first of its kind in India and the response was “overwhelming,” said Indian artist Bharath Murthy, who assisted in the program.
In India, only children read comics unlike in Japan where all ages enjoy them, he added.
But it wasn’t just the style of drawing that was decidedly “un-Indian” about the workshop.
The 50-odd participants came to the sessions on time and hardly talked or took lunch breaks during the six-day program, Father Pymbellikunnel said.
“It was so alien to our Indian nature to see everyone, including the youngest eight-year-old, working silently, glued to their seats.”

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