The real story... behind manga influence

Dave McCaughan
McCann WorldGroup Asia Pacific

I first realized the influence manga has in changing people's real view of the world in 1993. I was conducting research in Sydney, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Tokyo looking at the impact of technology on young teenagers. This was of course pre-internet, a time when personal computers were still rare for most and Walkman was still the dominant youth culture technology.

Here in Tokyo, we heard two, at the time, quite disturbing lessons from thirteen year olds involved in a focus group. The first was "only the dummies learn to spell" which on investigation was the way one boy expressed his reliance on the relatively new idea of the spell check button. The other lesson was perhaps more shocking. One boy said "my computer is just an extension of my brain." In 2011 as we all read this article while constantly checking our smart phones for email, sms and facebook updates, while we automatically Google or Wiki any thoughts or concepts we don't know this may seem more obvious. But in 1993 it was quite shocking. When we discussed the thought with education, psychology and sociology experts in Japan and the other countries in the survey they were almost distraught that a teenager could consider the "giving away of their thinking to a machine". However the reason for the teens point of view was simple. He had grown up reading Gundam.