This chapter offers an empirical account of the mediascape of Japan's globalization: the process of Japanese comics coming to Hong Kong and their effect on local comic culture in particular and Hong Kong society in general. We understand this process as a dialectic between human practice and social structure and between Japanese comics and Hong Kong society. Each of these mutually affects the others in such a way that two methodological implications follow. First, Japanese comics coming to Hong Kong should be regarded as a multifaceted historical process that takes into account not only the characteristics of Japanese comics but also the structure of the local comic industry in particular and the sociocultural endowments of Hong Kong in general. Second, as the first point suggests, a comprehensive study of such a process needs to begin in Japan.
This section takes us to Japan and examines the characteristics of Japanese comics and the complex structure of Japan's comic industry. It outlines three related characteristics that were to inform the process whereby Japanese comics were introduced to Hong Kong. The first is the emphasis on the individualistic style and originality of comic artists. Although Japanese artists may employ assistants to help them, they themselves do all the creative work (Schodt 1983:138-9). For example, Osamu Tezuka had his ten assistants do all the noncreative work, but he himself created all the stories, designed the frame layout, and drew and colored the characters and the backgrounds. Artists who rely a lot on assistants are usually criticized as being too businesslike (Schodt 1983:142-3).
The second is the relative independence of artists from the control of publishers. In Japan, artists are generally not employed by publishers. Usually, the two parties are free to negotiate a deal. If both parties agree on the financial and artistic terms, artists will then create serialized stories for publishers. The extent of independence that artists enjoy is certainly dependent on the sales of their comics. Successful artists may retain the copyright of their comics, change publishers if they are not happy, and work