Manga Mine

Jonas Bach

How do we respectfully navigate an increasingly culturally pluralistic society in a time in which belonging and not belonging, inclusion and exclusion, ownership and appropriation have become global hot topics? Cultural authenticity and hybridity seem, at times, mutually exclusive and hypocritical as we come to consider cultural identity. ‘Manga Mine’ is a collaborative graphic novel exploring notions of ‘Asianness’, cultural authorship, authenticity and identity through a part auto-ethnographic, part participatory visual project centred on the medium of Manga and its significance as a material culture, but also a contested space in which cultures interact, hybridise or clash. By tracing and quite literally drawing out individual lived experiences of Manga and Anime enthusiasts, ‘Manga Mine’ serves as a reminder that identities are plural. That experiences are shared but also unique. That material objects such as Manga carry vast and numerous significances. And that cultural identity is a topic which we must navigate with respect and willingness to reflect and renegotiate.

Poster - Manga Mine



Jonas Bach
Jonas Bach

I was born into a mixed family. My father is German, my mother Taiwanese. I grew up in the Netherlands, and the older I got, the more I became aware of a cultural conflict within myself, within my upbringing and with my surroundings. Guilt over not being ‘Asian’ enough struggled against an environment that continuously told me that I was. My bachelor in East Asian Area Studies was motivated by both curiosity but also guilt of exploring my supposed identity, and ultimately made me feel even more detatched. I felt ‘inauthentic’. I ultimately chose this masters because it, to me, closes a gap between art and academia which I feel are needlessly kept seperated and distinguished between.

This masters and my project have been a somewhat painful but also incredibly rich experience. Whilst the practical skills we acquired are something I cherish and hope to continue applying in the future, what still leaves me astounded is the reflexivity, self awareness and sensitivity that this study has taught me. This masters has taught me to be simultaneously open minded and critical, empathetic and analytical.

It has been a transformative, informative, and, at times, difficult year and I am thankful for every person I had the privilege of sharing that year with, through tears, laughs and pear reviews.

Manga Mine - Jonas Bach