From metaphor to allegory
The Japanese manga Afuganisu-tan
Afuganisu-tan is an online manga by Timaking, published in English online in 2005, that presents selected historical events of modern Afghanistan in a series of 29 episodes plus an appendix. An episode consists of a four-panel micro-narrative in which Afghanistan and the countries with which its history is intertwined are consistently personified as young girls. Each manga episode is accompanied by a short, textual ‘memo’ describing historical events in a neutral, factual way. In this paper, we (1) propose that the extended personification of Afghanistan and other countries in this manga can be understood in terms of ‘allegory’; (2) sketch and evaluate how the manga part affects the construal of the country’s history; (3) consider some of the consequences of combining the manga part with memo text for the informative and educational value of Afuganisu-tan.
Keywords: manga, word & image relations, personification, extended metaphor, allegory, narrativization of history
This article is currently available as a sample article.