Boy Meets World: The Worldview of Shōnen Kurabu in the 1930s

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Shōnen kurabu (Boys' Club) was a monthly magazine geared towards young Japanese boys, founded in 1914. Managed by the Dai Nihon Yūbenkai Kōdansha (present day Kōdansha), the magazine was transformed to become a popular read and Japan's bestselling children's magazine, educating and moulding young minds. Aside from stories and educational information, splashed across the magazine were several pages of manga, which not only entertained the young readers, but also functioned to provide them with a view of the contemporary world. This study will focus on how manga in the magazine represented the non-Japanese other of the South Seas (Nan'yō), China, and its inhabitants. These representations contrasted stereotypes of ‘savage’ black natives and cowardly inept Chinese with Japanese as members of ‘white’ civilization and natural leaders of Asia. The study argues that through the manga, the magazine was able to influence its readers, who would become future adults, and hence helped to shape the future of Japanese society.