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Self-Injury in Japanese Manga: A Content Analysis

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-01-24, 21:52 authored by Yukari SekoYukari Seko, Minako Kikuchi

This study explored representations of self-injury in Japanese manga (graphic novels). A content analysis of fifteen slice-of-life manga published between 2000-2017 was conducted, focusing on forty scenes that depict eighteen characters engaging in self-injury. Most depictions of self-injury reflect a stereotypical perception of “self-injurer,” a young girl cutting herself to cope with negative emotion. Characters receive informal support from friends and partners, while parents are portrayed as unsupportive and even triggering. An emergent trend was observed among manga targeting male readers to label selfinjuring women as “menhera” - mentally vulnerable damsels in distress - inviting a fetishistic gaze on the self-injuring female bodies. 

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