Men under pressure: Representations of the 'salaryman' and his organization in Japanese manga

Peter Matanle*, Leo McCann, Darren Ashmore

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In this paper we analyse representations of the Japanese salaryman and Japanese organization in Japanese manga, or graphic novels, during the turbulent decades from the mid-1980s to the present day. We argue that manga presents salarymen protagonists in a sympathetic yet not uncritical light, and that it displays support for and criticism of both the Japanese and American organizational models. In addition, we describe how these manga offer important critical challenges from the world of popular culture to the direction of change in Japanese business organizations since the 1980s. Moreover, we suggest that the manga may also provide salarymen with opportunities for critically re-evaluating their own working situations and for developing methods for surviving and thriving under the pressures of working within contemporary Japanese business organizations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)639-664
Number of pages26
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2008


  • Capitalism
  • Graphic novels
  • Japan
  • Japanese
  • Management
  • Manga
  • Salaryman

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