WWJABDOH. What would Jesus and Buddha do on Holiday? A new graphic novel in Japan explores the question of what Jesus and Buddha would do if they were on holiday today:
What would Jesus and Buddha do … on holiday?
A new manga novel lightheartedly depicting the two as everyday young men may inadvertently raise interest in religion in Japan
From The Guardian (UK)
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).
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' 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.