I kinda wanna read this:
What would Jesus and Buddha do if they were suddenly thrust into contemporary society, and how would they react to what they found?
Japanese author-illustrator Nakamura Hikaru has sketched an answer to this provocative question in a very popular manga, or illustrated serial novel, entitled Saint Young Men (Seinto oniisan).
It more like means “Saint Older Brothers” in the same way a polite southern man might call an elderly woman “Mother” who wasn’t actually his mother. But I guess they didn’t want to confuse anyone. Anyhoo…
Nakamura (her surname) depicts the adventures of the two religious founders as they room together in Tachikawa (a suburb west of Tokyo) while vacationing in Japan.
Humour, rather than veneration, sets the tone for the series, which is replete with visual gags and puns. For example, when the roommates discover that the prizes they have won at a shrine festival are cheap imitations of coveted handheld videogames, Nakamura quips: “The two were enlightened as to the true flavour of Japanese festivals,” playing on a double sense of the word daigomi, which can either mean sublime Buddhist teaching or – more colloquially – the “true charm” of something.
Similarly, quirky interactions that juxtapose episodes from Jesus’s ministry with hilarious social faux pas provide opportunities to chuckle. When Jesus says that he “just wants to wash his [disciples'] feet,” a local gangster who overhears him misinterprets this phrase in its figurative sense as an indication of one’s desire to start afresh after a life of crime. Jesus, oblivious to this misunderstanding, unwittingly gains notoriety among the mob as a particularly tough villain.
Nakamura’s protagonists, though saintly, are hardly infallible. Jesus’s all-encompassing love makes him excessively enthusiastic (Nakamura portrays him as a compulsive shopaholic), while Buddha’s ascetic tendencies make him seem – as the back of one volume states – like “the parsimonious lady next door”.
Anyway I think it sounds sort of sweet. Hopefully it won’t turn out to be terribly sacrilegious. In any event, Japanese views on religion are terribly… mixed, and,
While religion may be a laughing matter for Nakamura and her audience, the role this manga might play in building and sustaining familiarity with the biographies of religious founders is certainly not to be scoffed at.
I wonder if they’ll translate it.