Mein Kampf Manga Selling Well
While it is not a best seller, especially by manga standards, the manga version of Hitler’s most infamous writing, わが闘争 (waga tōsō, Mein Kampf) is selling pretty well–45,000 have been sold so far. It is the best selling manga in the publishing company’s “read it via manga” series, which includes an adaptation of Marx’s Das Kapital.
There have been calls recently to allow the publishing of Mein Kampf in Germany, which is something that has been forbidden since the end of World War II. On top of that the work is still under copyright, being held by the Bavarian Finance Ministry, but that will end in 2015. To head off Neo-Nazi groups who would twist the work to their ends, German Jewish author Rafael Seligmann has suggested publishing an annotated version to give readers an historical framework and educate people about the evil that was Hitler. So far, the proposal for lifting the ban has not been accepted. As for the manga version, it has been dismissed by the Ministry as the wrong medium to tell the story in.
Nazis and their imagery (Nazi chic) seem to show up with surprising frequency in Japan. I’ve seen swastikas (of a definitely non-Buddhist variety) on middle-schoolers’ pencil cases. I’ve seen Nazi flags hanging casually in special sections of book stores. And I’ve seen cosplay nazi girls, as well as odd guys in German uniforms* in the park. While I think it’s safe to say that interest in Nazis is by no means the norm, it does not seem to be met with the shock that it would be in the Western world. In short, I hope that the majority of people buying this manga are reading it for the right reasons: to learn and to not repeat the past, which should not be treated lightly in this case.
Japan, as far as I know, has no legally-enforced bans on glorifying it’s own past regime, the Japanese Empire of WWII–something that one foreigner recently tried, and more or less failed, to bring to the attention of right-wingers at Yasukuni. But at the same time, there is concern and criticism from vocal parties that despite the lack of a ban, the Japanese public is not sufficiently educated in school about the horrors of the past.
A description of the contents of the comic, which are evidently not pro-Nazi or pro-Hitler:
The very first scene is about an panicked crying Jewish man who just found out that his sister was taken to a concentration camp. The next scene is a Legion of Nazi soldiers and a scary looking Hitler.
It doesn’t really look like something that advocates of Hitler’s ideology would read.
*In this case, the uniform is not of the SS variety, a but possibly a Wehrmacht uniform. It’s still an odd sight.
Contributor Bio: Claytonian blogs and vlogs about Japan, language, and news at The Hopeless Romantic.
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