April 23, 2024

“Manga”: How Saudi Arabia Turned Interest into a Cultural Project?

Manga Arabia

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The art of “Manga” has garnered increasing Arab interest in recent years, with this genre of books receiving significant attention at Arab book fairs, especially among the youth demographic.

“Manga” is the art from which anime is mostly adapted, resembling American comics but predating them by years. Over the years, the form in which these types of books appear has evolved.

Saudi Arabia Provides “Manga Al-Arabia”

In 2021,  Saudi Research and Publishing Company(SRMG) launched “Manga” magazine, a monthly publication available in print and digital formats, in September. The magazine aims to provide an enjoyable and secure experience by offering authentic and sophisticated creative content in simple Arabic language infused with some Saudi words and expressions.

The “Manga Al-Arabia” project includes two magazines: “Manga Al-Arabia for Kids,” aimed at ages 10 to 15, and “Manga Al-Arabia” targeting all age groups older than 15. Both magazines contribute to enriching Arabic content and providing high-quality readable material that uplifts Arab readers’ intellect and is suitable for all family members.

“Manga” as an Educational Program

The Saudi initiative for “Manga Al-Arabia” goes beyond merely providing content. Due to the noticeable interest and growing demand for this genre of books in the Kingdom, as observed in book fairs in Saudi Arabia and Cairo, the Kingdom has decided to organize workshops, training courses, and offer study scholarships to Japan for those interested in studying its fundamentals and dissemination.

Saudi Ministries of Culture and Education launched “Manga Education” program to produce illustrated stories for students in public, private, and foreign schools at the middle and high school levels. This initiative is part of the strategy aimed at activating the integration of manga into the educational system.

Cultural capacity development through the inclusion of culture and arts in public education is a key aspect of the strategy. It aims to enhance cultural and civilizational cultural communication, reinforce aesthetic and artistic values in comic illustrations, and stimulate students’ innovation and creativity to produce illustrated stories with a Saudi cultural identity.

The program consists of 10 educational episodes structured according to best practices and global standards, developed by experts from prestigious Japanese universities. Its aim is to develop students’ abilities in drawing “Manga”– style illustrations and equip them with the necessary skills to understand the basics of comic production. This includes character drawing skills, as well as writing and illustrating the events of the comic story.

Saudi “Manga” aims to add a Saudi identity and character to the story and character design, representing the society. This differs from Japanese manga, which focuses on Japan and Japanese characters.

The reasons for Saudis’ interest in “Manga”

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