Department or Program

Asian Studies


From the mid-nineteenth century onward, the “hero” as a literary figure has been problematized by the likes of Sartre and Dostoevsky. Feeding off the philosophies of determinism and existentialism and rejecting the romantic hero that preceded them, these authors argued that true heroism was impossible in the modern age, at least as it was understood up until that point. However, the Japanese authors Mishima Yukio (1925-1970) and Oe Kenzaburo (1935- ) constructed a heroic pair dynamic that Susan Napier calls in her dissertation “Heroes of Action and Inaction.” These authors pair the hesitant, existentially crippled, and often cowardly intellectual with a more active, unhesitant, and bold hero to create a dynamic that at once satisfies the reader’s thirst for an intellectual perspective of the world, while still offering a heroic figure to inspire both the reader and the intellectual protagonist. This thesis argues that this pairing reappears in Japanese manga (Japanese comic books), most notably in Oda Eiichiro’s One Piece and Oku Hiroya’s Gantz, and that it is in fact enhanced by the conventions of the medium.

Level of Access

Restricted: Campus/Bates Community Only Access

Date of Graduation

Spring 5-2012

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

1 pdf file


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