Manga and Shakespeare

  • Yukari Yoshihara
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Comics and Graphic Novels book series (PSCGN)


The combination of Shakespeare—the supreme icon of high culture and Englishness—and manga—a popular art format originating in Japan—may seem unusual. Yet, substantial numbers of manga adaptations of Shakespeare’s works exist, both from Japan and from other parts of the world, including Osamu Tezuka’s Vampire (1966–69), which incorporates Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Richard III. Some manga versions of Shakespeare remain fairly faithful to the original, while others are wild spin-offs almost unrecognizable as Shakespeare. This chapter analyzes manga adaptations of Shakespeare to explore whether manga versions of Shakespeare should be praised for their creative reinvention of Shakespeare or should be condemned as sacrilege toward Shakespeare’s authority. I will argue that manga versions of Shakespeare challenge us to question and examine established cultural hierarchy.

Works Cited

  1. Aoike, Yasuko. 1978. Ibu no musuko tachi [Sons of Eve]. Vols. 4 and 5. Tokyo: Akita Shoten. Digital.Google Scholar
  2. Brienza, Casey. 2016. Chapter 5: ‘Manga Is Not Pizza’: The Performance of Ethno-racial Authenticity and the Politics of American Anime and Manga Fandom in Svetlana Chmakova’s Dramacon. In Global Manga; ‘Japanese’ Comics Without Japan? ed. Casey Brienza. London: Routledge. Digital.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Daveson, Tom. Romeo and Juliet in Present-Day Tokyo, Manga Style. TES, 5 February 2007, 12 May 2008, 17 May 2015, 5 July 2015.
  4. Dickson, Andrew. 2012. World Shakespeare Festival: Around the Globe in 37 Plays. The Guardian, April 20.
  5. Gravett, Paul. 2004. Manga: Sixty Years of Japanese Comics. New York: Harper Design.Google Scholar
  6. Hagio, Moto. 1974. Poe no ichizoku [The Clan of Poe]. Vol. 3. Tokyo: Shogakukan.Google Scholar
  7. Hayley, Emma. 2010. Manga Shakespeare. In Manga: An Anthology of Global and Cultural Perspectives, ed. Toni Johnson-Woods. London/New York: Continuum. Kindle.Google Scholar
  8. Kutsuwada, Chie. 2016. Romeo and Juliet. Graphic Shakespeare Competition Pamphlet.Google Scholar
  9. Leong, Sonia, and Richard Appignanesi. 2007. Manga Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet. London: SelfMadeHero.Google Scholar
  10. Minami, Ryuta. 2007. Japanese comics. In Shakespeares After Shakespeare, ed. Richard Burt, vol. 2. Santa Barbara: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
  11. Pedinotti, Aaron. 2015. Chapter 3: Scott Pilgrim vs. Mangaman: Two Approaches to the Negotiation of Cultural Difference. In Global Manga; ‘Japanese’ Comics Without Japan? ed. Casey Brienza. London: Routledge. Kindle.Google Scholar
  12. Ricachi. 2009. Sorairo Girlfriend. Tokyo: Ichijinsha.Google Scholar
  13. Sanazaki, Harumo. 2003. Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. E-text. Japanese. Tokyo: Futabasha. Retrieved from eBook Japan.
  14. Satonaka, Machiko. 1974. Aries no otometachi (Girls Born Under Aries). Tokyo: Kodansha.Google Scholar
  15. Shakespeare, William. 2005. The Oxford Shakespeare: The complete works. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Takahashi, Rumiko. 2002. Ranma 1/2 (2-in-1 Edition). Vol. 7. VIZ Media, 2014.Google Scholar
  17. Takako, Shimura. 2011. Wandering Son. Vols. 5 and 6. Trans. Matt Thorne. Seattle: Fantagraphics.Google Scholar
  18. Tezuka, Osamu. 2001. Vampires. Tokyo: Tezuka Productions.Google Scholar
  19. ———. 2011. Princess Knight. Part 1 and 2. Trans. Maya Rosewood. New York: Vertical.Google Scholar
  20. ———. 2014. Nanairo inko (A Parrot with Rainbow Colored Feathers). Vol. 1. Tokyo: Tezuka Productions.Google Scholar
  21. Toboso, Yana. 2007. Black Butler. Vol. 3. Tokyo: Square Enix.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yukari Yoshihara
    • 1
  1. 1.University of TsukubaTsukubaJapan

Personalised recommendations