What if you give young adults in France around $ 350 to spend on cultural events, music lessons and books?
They will buy Japanese graphic novels.
In May, French President Emmanuel Macron launched an app called Pass Culture that gave every 18-year-old in France 300 euros (about $ 350) to spend at bookstores, record stores, tickets to movies and museums and even art classes. And at the end of July, 75% of teenage purchases were for books, the New York Times reported, and about two-thirds of those books were from the genre of Japanese graphic novels called manga.
- “Akira, Fairy Tail, Dark Souls, Towards the light, … Happy to share a moment with these artists. These are myths in Japan, in France too! The success of #PassCulture confirms it: culture brings us together, ”Macron said last week of several manga series in an Instagram post (translated from French to English by Google).
- Young adults have two years to spend the money, which can be used at more than 8,000 businesses and institutions registered on the app, the Times reported.
But what is a manga?
The New York Public Library defines manga as “a wide variety of comics and graphic novels originally produced and published in Japan.”
- Unlike American comics or books, Japanese manga is usually printed in black and white and read right to left.
- Graphic novels are written for a variety of audiences, from children to adults.
Culture is different for everyone
Culture Pass was a promise of Macron’s presidential bid in 2017 and the timing of the app’s release – which has been in the works for some time – would help French cinema and museums come out of their lockdown induced by the pandemic, the BBC reported.
- A first test of the Culture Pass, before it was made available to all 18-year-old French people, revealed that nearly 3 out of 4 adolescents used it for “new cultural activities” and that a third of the first users of the Pass Culture. the app were visiting a museum for the first time, National Public Radio reported.
- But in practice, now that the app is open to more than 800,000 18-year-olds nationwide, the free ticket to French cinema and art has developed a nickname: the manga pass, NPR reported.
Critics of the app and the French president say Macron is ‘throwing money at young people to woo their votes’ ahead of next year’s elections and the money should be used to support underfunded programs and already exciting, according to the New York Times.
- The French government has allocated 80 million euros (roughly $ 94 million) this year for the Culture Pass, NPR reported, and will be available to young teens next year.
- “A kid from the projects will lean towards what he already knows,” said Pierre Ouzoulias, a French senator, who encouraged getting rid of the app, according to the Times. “I can’t imagine for a single moment a child using the pass to go and listen to baroque opera.”