I had a great time yesterday meeting with several manga researchers in Japan at Chiba University. I got to present my work to them, and then discussed several projects by other people.
For example, my host, Jun Nakazawa from Chiba University, presented a new study he did in collaboration with an American researcher. In this study, Nakazawa-sensei showed that Japanese participants have better comprehension of sequential images—both strips, Western comics, and Japanese manga—than American participants. This continues his work on looking at how different populations of people (different ages, levels of expertise, etc.) comprehend sequential images, which I have previously discussed.
Another study was presented by a graduate student, Hiromasa Hayashi from the University of Tokyo, who I met at the Cognitive Science Society conference last week. His study examined how the length and number of motions lines affects the perception of speed an object is moving. They had the image of a ball appear to move across a screen, only to have it disappear and the participant press a button when they thought it reached another location on the screen. Faster reaction times appeared to objects with longer lines than shorter lines, and to those with more lines (5 or 8) than less lines (1 line), implying that participants viewed those balls as moving faster.
After our meeting, we went to dinner with Fusanosuke Natsume (blog), who is a former manga artist and well known "comic theorist" in Japan. Natsume-sensei is a wealth of interesting ideas and stories about manga, and is also a martial artist to boot! On Friday, I'll be going to a manga museum with him and Nakazawa-sensei, which should be great fun.