Reading manga can teach you a lot, be the subject wine (“Kami no Shizuku [Drops of God]”), gourmet food (“Oishinbo”) or the arcane world of feudal-era concubines (“Sakuran”). But the Japanese bath? Isn’t that a subject Japanese are immersed in almost from Day One? Why would they need to read about it in a manga?

But to Lucius, a fictional bathhouse architect from Rome at its ancient height, Japanese baths are an endless font of wonder, inspiration — and frustration. He is the hero of Mari Yamazaki’s hit comic “Thermae Romae” (literal translation: “Roman Baths”), which has sold more than 5 million copies in four paperback editions, as well as spawning a new film directed by Hideki Takeuchi.

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