What makes manga so interesting is that they can not only be used for entertainment but many of them also have a great educational value. I have already talked about manga adaptations of literary classics as well as of my interest for historical manga like The Rose of Versailles by Riyoko Ikeda, which is set in the prelude to the French revolution, or The Tale of Genji (adapted in manga by several mangaka, particularly Waki Yamato, Miyako Maki, Egawa Tatsuya), which is a romance story set at the Japanese royal court of the Heian era. It has long been thought that educational manga (and particularly historical manga or manga set in an historical context) were not popular, but recent successes (titles like Cesare, Emma, Rurouni Kenshin, Thermae Romae, or Vinland Saga come to mind) have proved that wrong. But, there’s more to this.
A few days ago, I was watching the news on NHK World and there was a report on a manga series about the History of Japan (unfortunately the report has no equivalent on the station’s website either as a written article or a streaming video that I can link to). This is another type of great educational manga that helped sparks a renewed interest in Japanese history but it is also used by public and “cram” schools to teach history.
I found this concept of Japanese history educational manga so interesting that I decided to research it a little further to get more details and discovered that at least three great publishers had released their own series about the history of Japan.