Sunday, March 15, 2015

manga kissa (漫画喫茶、or まんが喫茶、orマンガ喫茶, in hiragana, まんがきっさ)

This is one of those terms that I would probably not have learned in a Japanese language class back home, mainly because the manga kissa (short for manga kissaten) doesn't exist there.  Manga, of course, is comic or comic book, and kissaten is the Japanese word for cafe.  I've only been inside a few times, and the setup was like, they assign you a booth (or sometimes a desk, depending on the place) where you have access to a computer, unlimited soft drinks, and a mountainous library of manga.  If my reading skills had been better, it might've seemed a dangerously alluring paradise, since I like some manga quite a lot.  But I don't want to become addicted and lost in the world of the manga kissa.

Anyway, I feel like it is something to see and experience if you're in Japan.  When traveling to Bangkok, Seoul, Ho Chi Minh, I used to find a lot of internet cafes, which were godsends in the days before widespread wi-fi.  I don't find strictly internet cafes in Tokyo; instead, there is the more lavishly equipped manga kissa.  It can be used just for computer and internet; years ago, when I was in the middle of changing internet providers at home and needed to email a report to work, I used a manga kissa called Manboo, which is huge over here.  I seem to see them everywhere.

Below is a short documentary about one of the darker and sadder elements of the manga kissa.  For me, it was super interesting because I think a lot of this goes on near my house. I just walk past those places and go about my business.

If you're interested in reading the accompanying article, you can find it at

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