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Chinese Cartoonists Publish Comic Books in Japan
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Chinese cartoonists Liang Xiaolong and Chen Weidong have just published in Japan comic books - with 3,200 pages in ten volumes - depicting the Chinese ancient masterpiece Outlaws of the Marsh, the China Youth Daily reported on Wednesday.

Liang and Chen are the first Chinese mainland cartoonists whose original works have entered the Japanese market where the competition is so fierce that few works from foreign countries can be published, the newspaper said.

Publishing comic books is one way to popularizing Chinese culture because comic strips can be enjoyed without language barriers, said Chen, director of Tianjin-based Shenjie Cartoon Studio.

Outlaws of the Marsh, A Journey to the West, The Dream of Red Mansion and Romance of Three Kingdoms are regarded as four Chinese classical masterpieces. Chen's studio has completed the comic books of the first two and is working on the other two.

Outlaws of the Marsh is a satirical look at the government and society during the Song Dynasty (960-1279), depicting a real and grandiose peasant uprising in the 12th century.

"Publishing works of Chinese cartoonists, especially comic books of Chinese ancient literature, has greatly boosted the confidence of Chinese cartoon industry," Pang Bangben, vice director of the comic book branch of the China Association of Oriental Culture Studies, was quoted as saying.

Pang said the government encourages original cartoon works by Chinese authors and their expansion to overseas markets.

The comic books of Outlaws of the Marsh are scheduled to be published in the Republic of Korea before the end of the year and A Journey to the West in Europe next January, Chen said.

(Xinhua News Agency October 5, 2006)

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