Picturing Others in Children’s Bibles, Bible Manga, and Bible Anime

August 22, 2012 — Leave a comment

Would you be surprised to learn that Bible manga, Bible anime, and Bible story kamishibai, or “paper theatre,” are very popular in Japan? (No? I didn’t think you would be.)


Manga Messiah, by Hidenori Kumai

But do you ever wonder how images shape, restrict, and expand our interpretations of familiar Bible stories? How “visualizing” biblical stories impacts their meaning?

I think that this kind of biblical interpretation should receive serious attention anywhere the Bible is “pictured,” and especially in Japan. So new studies about graphic retellings of the Bible tend to stir my interest.

Text, Image, and Otherness in Children’s Bibles: What is in the Picture?  is one scholarly study that has just recently been published in the U.S.


Edited by Caroline Vander Stichele and Hugh S. Pyper
Published by the Society of Biblical Literature (2012)

Here is a description of the book from the publisher’s page (see PDF table of contents here):

Children’s Bibles are often the first encounter people have with the Bible, shaping their perceptions of its stories and characters at an early age. The material under discussion in this book not only includes traditional children’s Bibles but also more recent phenomena such as manga Bibles and animated films for children. The book highlights the complex and even tense relationship between text and image in these Bibles, which is discussed from different angles in the essays. Their shared focus is on the representation of “others”—foreigners, enemies, women, even children themselves—in predominantly Hebrew Bible stories.

I haven’t picked up the book yet, so I’m especially interested in receiving comments that . . .

  • Share links to summaries or reviews of this book
  • Introduce similar studies in Japanese

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