Issue 16, Comics in Southeast Asia: Social and Political Interpretations

We proudly present Issue 16 of the Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia on the fun and interesting topic of “Comics in Southeast Asia”. In Japan, comics, or manga, have their unique storyline and style. The medium includes all kinds of works in a broad range of genres: action-adventure, romance, sports, historical drama, comedy, science fiction and fantasy, mystery, suspense, detective, horror, and sexuality among others.

Manga has long been hugely popular among the Japanese and it is widely read by people of all ages. As manga gained a significant worldwide audience, it is true to say that interest in research on comic studies has also reached a global scale. But there is no question that the majority of scholarship focuses on works from Japan, North America and Western Europe due to their vast distribution networks, history, and fan bases. But in Southeast Asia, comics have their own roots, sometimes deeply political or with social significance. This collection of essays, while primarily introducing readers to Southeast Asian comics and comic studies, attempts to shift the focus from the three large comic traditions. In this globalized world, there is not only a diversity of comic works and influences, but studies of these works are also diverse, and it is hoped that by looking through the lens of Southeast Asia, it might meaningfully contribute to the literature of comic studies. 

Finally, I would like to thank Guest Editor, Karl Ian Uy Cheng Chua, for his specialist knowledge and assistance in putting together this issue.

Pavin Chachavalpongpun
Editor, On behalf of the editorial team
(Karl Ian Uy Cheng Chua. Guest Editor)

Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia. Issue 16 (September 2014) Comics in Southeast Asia: Social and Political Interpretations


Studying Comics From Southeast Asia

Jaqueline Berndt

Pendahuluan: Mempelajari komik dari Asia Tenggara
คำนำ: การศึกษาการ์ตูนช่องจากเอเชียตะวันออกเฉียงใต

The Philippines— Educational Komiks: Shifting Perspectives

Karl Ian Uy Cheng Chua

Komik Edukasi: Pergeseran Perspektif
การ์ตูนช่องเพื่อการศึกษา: มุมมองที่เปลี่ยนไป

Comics in Vietnam: A Newly Emerging Form of Storytelling

Nguyen Hong Phuc

Komik di Vietnam: Satu Bentuk Bercerita Yang Baru Muncul
การ์ตูนช่องในเวียดนาม: การเล่าเรื่องรูปแบบใหม่

Current Trends in Singapore Comics: When Autobiography is Mainstream

Lim Cheng Tju

Tren Terkini dalam Komik Singapura: otobiografi populer
แนวโน้มของการ์ตูนช่องในสิงคโปร์ยุคปัจจุบัน: เมื่ออัตชีวประวัติกลายเป็นกระแสหลัก

Blurring the Boundaries of Comics Classification in Indonesia through Wanara

Febriani Sihombing

Wanara: Mengaburkan Batas-Batas Klasifikasi Komik di Indonesia
Wanara กับการพร่าเลือนเส้นแบ่งกลุ่มของการ์ตูนช่องในอินโดนีเซีย





Did Goethe read comics?
A look at  ‘Comiconnexions’. The website that connects comic artists in Germany and
South East Asia.

By Christel Mahnke


FSc. 2012. Clairvoyance 

(ebook in Japanese, Tokyo: Ohta Publishing; initial serialization in Pocopoco, March-Dec. 2011) 

(Korea in Indonesia, Indonesia in Korea – Cultural Exchange Through Investment and Migration) 

Available online:

Reviewed by Jaqueline Berndt


Titi Larasati, Kid Stuff
Bandung: Curhat Anak Bangsa, 2010

Reviewed by Elbert Or

kubo_reviewMichael David. Kubori Kikiam: Strips for the Soul Omnibus.
Quezon city: Flipside Publishing, 2013

Reviewed by Kristine Michelle L. Santos


Jun Honna, Paradox of Democratization: The deep structure of Asian politics from Indonesian case
Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten. 2013
Original title in Japanese: 民主化のパラドックスーインドネシアにみるアジア政治の深層

Reviewed by Akiko Morishita


dead_body_politics-bannerDead Body Politics: Forensic Medicine and Sovereignty in Siam 

Quentin (Trais) Pearson



Along Came the Junta: The Evolution and Stagnation of Thailand’s Local Governance

Grichawat Lowatcharin 



Contesting for EMB Reform in Three Southeast Asian Authoritarian Regimes

Elvin Ong



ASEAN Integration: Translating A Vision into Reality

Moe Thuzar



Buddhist Women As Agents of Change: Case Studies from Thailand and Indonesia

Lai Suat Yan


Chiangmai: the Future of the Creative Economy in Thailand

Kengkij Kitirianglarp