Time Travel Topoi in Japanese Manga

Ulrich Heinze

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This article traces the development of time travel in Japanese manga, comparing it with the same theme in Western films. Time travel films of the 1960s in the US tend to have the character of a search and rescue/repair mission, evidence perhaps of a fascination with the idea that the passage of time can be ‘controlled’ (or ‘conquered’) by the ever-advancing technologies of man. In the world of Japanese manga, Tezuka Osamu exercised a comparable control of time in his decade-long serial Phoenix. Since the 1980s time travellers have had to contend with a loss of control of time (JIN, Zipang): they get warped back into a historical time period inadvertently and have to cope with the apparent opportunity for detachment of the present from the past. Contemporary time travel manga (Haruka na machi e, Thermae Romae, Kimi to boku no ashiato) have become radically reflective: the trips are no longer to explore distant worlds, but instead thoroughly investigate the psyche of the protagonists and their fractured biographies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-212
Number of pages22
JournalJapan Forum
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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