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I asked this question some time back- Why is the Easter Island such a frequent participant in Japanese Comics?

The question was closed and my comments weren't answered. I clearly stated that I am looking for historical reasons if any but the post was still closed without any discussion and deliberation.

Please state the reasons or reopen the post of it was a mistake. Many posts like mine end up closed without proper justification and put under a very broad umbrella or reasoning according the reason mentioned in the closing reasons.

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    I'm not sure I understand; the question was closed because five community members identified it as off-topic (Social science other than history). This is the standard for all stack exchange sites as far as I know. "discussion and deliberation" aren't part of the stack exchange moderation model, and "within the boundaries of history" isn't an objective, empirical standard. I"m not trying to argue with you - I'm trying to understand what outcome you are looking for. – Mark C. Wallace Sep 18 at 11:10
  • @MarkC.Wallace my reasons are pretty much summarized in T.E.D.'s Answer – StackUpPhysics Sep 18 at 15:05
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I was one of those that voted to close the question, so I can give my reasons, although I can't speak for the others. Please remember that these are my personal reasons for voting to close this question.


Firstly, the question doesn't actually show that the inclusion of Easter Island Moai Culture in comics is a particularly Japanese phenomenon. The list you linked to actually states that:

"the popularisation of other Easter Island cultural artefacts ... has occurred predominantly in the cultural economies of the USA, Japan, and Western Europe"

That list includes many non-Japanese examples, including (for example):

  • Spider-Man
  • G.I. Joe
  • Montana Jones
  • The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest
  • Les Aventures de Blake et Mortimer [The Adventures of Blake and Mortimer]
  • Superman: The Animated Series
  • Dilbert
  • Justice League
  • The Simpsons, The Critic, Futurama, and American Dad
  • Rick and Morty
  • Inspector Gadget
  • Wacky Races

This point was also made in the (now deleted) comment by Aaron Brick.

So, did the images first appear in Japanese comics, or elsewhere? (If backed by some preliminary research, that might actually be a good question). When did that popularisation begin to appear in 'the USA, Japan, and Western Europe'? (Again, if backed by some preliminary research, that might also form the basis of a good question).

As it is, the question presented an assertion (that Easter Island such a frequent participant in Japanese Comics - at least relative to other cultures) without much in the way of evidence to support it.


Secondly, when I read the question it seemed to me that the images may well simply be a kind of shorthand for "Polynesian culture", or "Pacific Islands". This would be in much the same way as comics and movies generally show the Palace of Westminster, Tower Bridge or a Routemaster bus to say "Now the story has moved to London", or an image of the Eiffel Tower when they want to say "Now we're in Paris".

In my opinion, questions about why those particular objects and places have become sufficiently fixed in the popular imagination to act as that kind of shorthand are probably not generally well-suited to a site like History:SE (although there may well be exceptions).

Equally, it may be that many people find the statues exotic or enigmatic, and that element of 'strangeness' is, in turn, attractive for fantasy stories and comics. Again, if so, then the question of why that is the case may not be a question well-suited for a site like History:SE.


In my opinion, simply tacking the phrase:

"Are there any historical reasons for it?"

to a question doesn't necessarily make it a good question for this site. At the very least, provide some evidence that the question might be one that can be answered using historical methods and sources.

When I read the question, almost every interpretation seems to make it a question about 'social sciences other than History'. So that was the close reason that I chose.


Now, although I felt that the question was off-topic for this site, I didn't feel it was sufficiently bad to warrant using my moderator 'super-vote' to close it. As a general rule, I prefer to let the community decide. However, when it came up in the normal way in the review queue I simply added my 5th-vote as a regular user of the site. As Mark C. Wallace mentioned in his comment, "discussion and deliberation" aren't generally part of the stack exchange close-vote process. The question of using comments to improve feedback about why questions are closed has come up several times here (for example Comments discussing reasons to close? and How to improve feedback?). For now that question remains unresolved.

As for your comments, I simply didn't see them at the time (they were posted 3 days after the question was closed) which is why I didn't try to answer them.

[As mentioned in T.E.D.'s answer, there is an auto-flag that mods get if a question is closed without comment. In this case, I suspect that Aaron Brick's (deleted) comment meant that a comment had been posted and so the flag was not triggered.]

For what it's worth, in this case the close votes were posted over a period of 24 hours. After that, comments asking for feedback may not be seen. Once a question has been closed people simply may not have any reason to return to it and see subsequent comments.

  • Thanks a lot for clarifying a lot of things however I would like to point out that the link that I provided has a lot of Japanese examples (probably a major chunk but I wouldn't make that assertion without proper counting) well alongside the U.S. based examples. Also I have edited the question maybe it's better now still I really appreciate your effort to make things clearer. – StackUpPhysics Sep 18 at 19:23
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    I'll also try to add some research as you've advised – StackUpPhysics Sep 18 at 19:25
  • I've updated it please check – StackUpPhysics Sep 18 at 19:42
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    Mostly agree, but with respect to: "questions about why those particular objects and places have become sufficiently fixed in the popular imagination to act as that kind of shorthand are probably not generally well-suited to a site like History:SE" I'd suggest that, on the contrary, those would be tough to answer but otherwise excellent questions. If digging into how this kind of stuff coalesces into collective memory isn't part of what history is about, I've no idea what is. – Denis de Bernardy Sep 19 at 8:32
  • @DenisdeBernardy While there may be some good historical reasons for some of them, in general I suspect questions like that are probably more about psychology than history (why the Eiffel Tower, rather than the Louvre? Why Tower Bridge, rather than the Royal Exchange or St Paul's Cathedral? What is it that makes one building more 'iconic' than another?). – sempaiscuba Sep 19 at 10:48
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    @sempaiscuba: I've no idea for those specific buildings but, as it happens and as I've noted, methinks doing the detective work to answer both of those questions would be quite interesting. There's an obvious psychological component in there (proof by repetition if you will), but tracking down who/what put that in motion and how is the kind of anecdote that, personally, I relish. For instance: Why are cars so central in the US? Answer: car lobbyists in the first half of the 20th. Or: Why is marijuana illegal? Answer: (anti-Mexican) racism in the early 20th. – Denis de Bernardy Sep 19 at 10:56
  • @DenisdeBernardy thanks for making these points – StackUpPhysics Sep 19 at 18:47
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Just to add to Sempaiscuba's answer:

For what it's worth, in this case the close votes were posted over a period of 24 hours. After that, comments asking for feedback may not be seen. Once a question has been closed people simply may not have any reason to return to it and see subsequent comments.

One way to make sure people see your question again, like for example making sure 'close voters' do see your comments, is to edit (and improve) the question.

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Let me start by saying this is a perfectly legitimate meta question. Nobody left a comment indicating any detail whatsoever about what was wrong with the question and/or what could be improved to bring it up to snuff, despite you asking. That's our screw-up.

There used to be an auto flag we mods would get if a question got closed without comment, so we could step in and try to at least provide some feedback, but it doesn't look like that happened here. Perhaps because of your comments (but I'd think the flagging software would be smarter than that).

Anyway, I wasn't a close voter, so I can't claim to know their minds. I can only relate what I see which is:

The question seems to fundamentally be asking for insights into the minds of people walking around today, and why they make decisions they are making today, and will probably make in the future. That's just not something our users here, who are mostly steeped in History, are going to have expertise in.

What I always tell people as a good rule of thumb is: If your question is not posed in the past tense, its probably off-topic. Its not a law or anything, but its a very strong indicator. Probably 99% of the time it will hold, and the other 1% of times the question is probably tagged . The question "Why is ... " is clearly using a present tense verb.

I'd suggest it might be easier to get a good answer for that question on an SE site that usually fields questions about Anime or Japanese Comics.

  • Thanks for your support. I really wanted to know things like when did they first begin to appear, and why did they become a fad cause now they are almost omnipresent in Japanese Anime and Comic Culture. If that's not fit for this site then they could have migrated it to a suitable SE instead of closing it. – StackUpPhysics Sep 18 at 15:04
  • @StackUpPhysics - Ah, well the first question there (when did they first..) would be on topic (IMHO). However, I'd still be surprised if there weren't a better SE site to ask that on. SF&F has a batman question on the Hot Network Questions list right now, and there's an SE site just for Anime & Manga questsions. I wouldn't put it past them to be able to throw up actual panels answering your question. – T.E.D. Sep 18 at 15:12
  • If you'd like I could investigate migrating the question. Since this is a beta site, normal users can't do migrations, only closes. It takes diamond mod intervention to migrate (and yes, you're correct that should have come up in the question comments, not require you to make a whole meta question about). – T.E.D. Sep 18 at 15:17
  • Hmmm...although technically this isn't a beta site anymore. I wonder if that affected things. – T.E.D. Sep 18 at 15:30
  • Thanks a lot. I don't the anime and manga SE would be helpful as I've been quite active on it and they don't really answer questions relating to History or inspiration outside the domain of anime and manga. I would definitely request you to suggest recommendations if any – StackUpPhysics Sep 18 at 16:24
  • @StackUpPhysics - Well, again a "When did..." question I'd think ought to work here. "Why ... " questions are tricky. Occasionally they pass muster, but this site usually hates questions that ask users to speculate, so unless someone (preferably some kind of historian) has written on that "why" subject, even a whiff of that is likely to get closed. – T.E.D. Sep 18 at 19:15
  • Thanks for the info. I'll try to edit it based on your points – StackUpPhysics Sep 18 at 19:16
  • I've updated it please check – StackUpPhysics Sep 18 at 19:43
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This question on meta needs a frame challenge.

The main problem I see is not so much found in the "lying perfectly within the boundaries of history?"

While the topic of the question on main may indeed be served better on other sites, like "Japanese Mangas & Culture" (might be in need of creation first, if Anime & Manga doesn't suffice), the general core of the question is indeed perfectly answerable from a history angle as well. Although "as well" for sure doesn't mean that A&M might not be a better fit after all.

Only that this is just not the problem with the question. It is not very organised and phrased almost confusingly, meandering. We need not an exposé of your general knowledge of what Moais are or where maps from early contacts are now. If anything, these results show to me more that this is not a unique feature of Moais in mangas; more that everyone is easily fascinated by them?

The speculations for the 'possible reasons' aren't marked clearly as being either other's opinions (links?) or what the asker now learned, and just thinks for himself.

No doubt that is a – perhaps desperate – attempt to comply with comments requesting "prior research". But in this case it 'just' demonstrates some effort (which by the way is appreciated), unfortunately without adding anything relevant for the question. By relevant I do not mean 'steps to actually answer the question'. But a better description (examples) and more proof that the basic assertion is – or seems to be – actually the case (examples).

That looks to be actually tried with a small link (repeated) to a mostly non-functioning site (it always fails with time-out for me on first attempt to load). A problem that would have been easily overcome by quoting from it, or at least more descriptively summarising it.

In the present form, after 4 edits and a re-open, I am not convinced from reading the question alone that there is something worthwhile for me in it.

All these points make it for me a slightly confusing, not very attractive question in a field where I have very little expertise. Not very interesting, difficult to answer.

That said: an answer to this – hopefully eventually further refined question – now has to start to ascertain whether that assumption of the asker is actually true: are there many or often Moais in Japanese mangas (or other forms of literature/culture). Especially compared to other comic cultures. If they do feature in mangas: then how often; is this a historically grown popular phenomenon, was it a fad, how frequent are 'frequent occurrences'. If one sees five, seven, 20 or even more mangas that have some Moai, that might still be nothing in the huge market of mangas. 'Nothing' more that is than a simple figure-ground-perception of a statistical sampling error that just ignores the baseline.
That would make the question's answer quite short?

Now, if that start turns out to be in the negative, the quest is already over. If it turns out to be far from unique for Japanese mangas to feature Moais (like hinted at in sempaiscuba's answer here), then the quest is equally altered fundamentally.

Only if the potential answerer finds positive evidence for what the asker claims: "Moais frequent in mangas", do we get into what we should deal with here on HistorySE. Cultural history, history of literature, etc.

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    Thanks for mentioning this I'll keep this in mind for now on – StackUpPhysics Sep 21 at 14:39

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