Information Warfare: USN Deploys The Manga Defense

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June 10,2008: The U.S. Navy, sensitive to Japanese concerns about nuclear weapons, has always stationed non-nuclear aircraft carriers in Japan (where at least one has been stationed since World War II). But the last non-nuclear carrier, the USS Kitty Hawk, is about to retire. A nuclear powered carrier, the USS George Washington, is being sent to replace it. Faced with a potential political, diplomatic and security disaster, ways were sought to assure Japanese that the nuclear carriers were safe. This was not an impossible task. Japan is one of the largest users of nuclear power generation in the world (55 plants, generating 30 percent of all their electricity). The only thing nuclear about the George Washington are its two reactors. The U.S. Navy has an exemplary safety record with the hundreds of nuclear reactors it has put into service over the last half century. How to get that news out to the Japanese? Simple, create a comic book, or "manga" showing life aboard the George Washington from the point of view of a young sailor.

Manga are basically comic books or, is U.S. parlance, "graphic novels." Although Japan is one of the most literate nations in the world, adults, as well as children, are major consumers of manga, and have been for nearly a century. The George Washington manga, titled "CVN 73," is only 200 pages long, which is a little short by Japanese standards, but has proved to be very popular in Japan. You can view or download a pdf version of CVN 73 (in English or Japanese) at http://www.cnfj.navy.mil/

Manga are produced on all sorts of subjects, from business, professional and technical, to (for the most part) fiction. The major manga creators (artists and writers) are big celebrities in Japan (and, increasingly, in the United States and elsewhere in the world.)

 


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