Manga (漫画 Manga) are comics or graphic novels created in Japan or by creators in the Japanese language, conforming to a style developed in Japan in the late 19th century. They have a long and complex pre-history in earlier Japanese art.
The term manga (kanji: 漫画; hiragana: まんが; katakana: マンガ; English: /ˈmæŋɡə/ or /ˈmɑːŋɡə/) in Japan is a word used to refer to both comics and cartooning. "Manga" as a term used outside Japan refers to comics originally published in Japan.
In Japan, people of all ages read manga. The medium includes works in a broad range of genres: action, adventure, business and commerce, comedy, detective, drama, historical, horror, mystery, romance, science fiction and fantasy, erotica, sports and games, and suspense, among others. Many manga are translated into other languages. Since the 1950s, manga has steadily become a major part of the Japanese publishing industry. By 1995, the manga market in Japan was valued at ¥586.4 billion ($6–7 billion), with annual sales of 1.9 billion manga books and manga magazines in Japan (equivalent to 15 issues per person). Manga have also gained a significant worldwide audience. In 2008, in the U.S. and Canada, the manga market was valued at $175 million. Manga represent 38% of the French comics market, which is equivalent to approximately ten times that of the United States. In France, the manga market was valued at about €460 million ($569 million) in 2005. In Europe and the Middle East, the market was valued at $250 million in 2012.
Manga stories are typically printed in black-and-white, although some full-color manga exist. In Japan, manga are usually serialized in large manga magazines, often containing many stories, each presented in a single episode to be continued in the next issue. Collected chapters are usually republished in tankōbon volumes, frequently but not exclusively, paperback books. A manga artist (mangaka in Japanese) typically works with a few assistants in a small studio and is associated with a creative editor from a commercial publishing company. If a manga series is popular enough, it may be animated after or during its run. Sometimes manga are drawn centering on previously existing live-action or animated films.
Manga-influenced comics, among original works, exist in other parts of the world, particularly in Algeria ("DZ-manga"), China, Hong Kong, Taiwan ("manhua"), and South Korea ("manhwa").
History & Characteristics
The history of manga is said to originate from scrolls dating back to the 12th century, and it is believed they represent the basis for the right-to-left reading style. During the Edo period (1603-1867), Toba Ehon embedded the concept of manga. The word itself first came into common usage in 1798, with the publication of works such as Santō Kyōden's picturebook Shiji no yukikai (1798), and in the early 19th century with such works as Aikawa Minwa's Manga hyakujo (1814) and the Hokusai Manga books (1814–1834). Adam L. Kern has suggested that kibyoshi, picture books from the late 18th century, may have been the world's first comic books. These graphical narratives share with modern manga humorous, satirical, and romantic themes. Some works were mass-produced as serials using woodblock printing.
Writers on manga history have described two broad and complementary processes shaping modern manga. One view represented by other writers such as Frederik L. Schodt, Kinko Ito, and Adam L. Kern, stress continuity of Japanese cultural and aesthetic traditions, including pre-war, Meiji, and pre-Meiji culture and art. The other view, emphasizes events occurring during and after the Allied occupation of Japan (1945–1952), and stresses U.S. cultural influences, including U.S. comics (brought to Japan by the GIs) and images and themes from U.S. television, film, and cartoons (especially Disney).
Regardless of its source, an explosion of artistic creativity occurred in the post-war period, involving manga artists such as Osamu Tezuka (Astro Boy) and Machiko Hasegawa (Sazae-san). Astro Boy quickly became (and remains) immensely popular in Japan and elsewhere, and the anime adaptation of Sazae-san drawing more viewers than any other anime on Japanese television in 2011. Tezuka and Hasegawa both made stylistic innovations. In Tezuka's "cinematographic" technique, the panels are like a motion picture that reveals details of action bordering on slow motion as well as rapid zooms from distance to close-up shots. This kind of visual dynamism was widely adopted by later manga artists. Hasegawa's focus on daily life and on women's experience also came to characterize later shōjo manga. Between 1950 and 1969, an increasingly large readership for manga emerged in Japan with the solidification of its two main marketing genres, shōnen manga aimed at boys and shōjo manga aimed at girls.
In 1969 a group of female manga artists (later called the Year 24 Group, also known as Magnificent 24s) made their shōjo manga debut ("year 24" comes from the Japanese name for the year 1949, the birth-year of many of these artists). The group included Moto Hagio, Riyoko Ikeda, Yumiko Ōshima, Keiko Takemiya, and Ryoko Yamagishi. Thereafter, primarily female manga artists would draw shōjo for a readership of girls and young women. In the following decades (1975–present), shōjo manga continued to develop stylistically while simultaneously evolving different but overlapping subgenres. Major subgenres include romance, superheroines, and "Ladies Comics" (in Japanese, redisu レディース, redikomi レディコミ, and josei 女性).
Modern shōjo manga romance features love as a major theme set into emotionally intense narratives of self-realization. With the superheroines, shōjo manga saw releases such as Pink Hanamori's Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch Reiko Yoshida's Tokyo Mew Mew, And, Naoko Takeuchi's Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon, which became internationally popular in both manga and anime formats. Groups (or sentais) of girls working together have also been popular within this genre. Like Lucia, Hanon, and Rina singing together, and Sailor Moon, Sailor Mercury, Sailor Mars, Sailor Jupiter, and Sailor Venus working together.
Manga for male readers sub-divides according to the age of its intended readership: boys up to 18 years old (shōnen manga) and young men 18 to 30 years old (seinen manga); as well as by content, including action-adventure often involving male heroes, slapstick humor, themes of honor, and sometimes explicit sex. The Japanese use different kanji for two closely allied meanings of "seinen"—青年 for "youth, young man" and 成年 for "adult, majority"—the second referring to pornographic manga aimed at grown men and also called seijin ("adult" 成人) manga. Shōnen, seinen, and seijin manga share a number of features in common.
Boys and young men became some of the earliest readers of manga after World War II. From the 1950s on, shōnen manga focused on topics thought to interest the archetypal boy, including subjects like robots, space-travel, and heroic action-adventure. Popular themes include science fiction, technology, sports, and supernatural settings. Manga with solitary costumed superheroes like Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man generally did not become as popular.
The role of girls and women in manga produced for male readers has evolved considerably over time to include those featuring single pretty girls (bishōjo) such as Belldandy from Oh My Goddess!, stories where such girls and women surround the hero, as in Negima and Hanaukyo Maid Team, or groups of heavily armed female warriors (sentō bishōjo).
With the relaxation of censorship in Japan in the 1990s, an assortment of explicit sexual material appeared in manga intended for male readers, and correspondingly continued into the English translations. However, in 2010 the Tokyo Metropolitan Government passed a bill to restrict such content.
The gekiga style of storytelling—thematically somber, adult-oriented, and sometimes deeply violent—focuses on the day-in, day-out grim realities of life, often drawn in a gritty and unvarnished fashion. Gekiga such as Sampei Shirato's 1959–1962 Chronicles of a Ninja's Military Accomplishments (Ninja Bugeichō) arose in the late 1950s and 1960s partly from left-wing student and working-class political activism and partly from the aesthetic dissatisfaction of young manga artists like Yoshihiro Tatsumi with existing manga.
Publications & Exhibitions
In Japan, manga constituted an annual 40.6 billion yen (approximately $395 million USD) publication-industry by 2007. In 2006 sales of manga books made up for about 27% of total book-sales, and sale of manga magazines, for 20% of total magazine-sales. The manga industry has expanded worldwide, where distribution companies license and reprint manga into their native languages.
Marketeers primarily classify manga by the age and gender of the target readership. The Kyoto International Manga Museum maintains a very large website listing manga published in Japanese. In particular, books and magazines sold to boys (shōnen) and girls (shōjo) have distinctive cover-art, and most bookstores place them on different shelves. Due to cross-readership, consumer response is not limited by demographics. For example, male readers may subscribe to a series intended for female readers, and so on. Japan has manga cafés, or manga kissa (kissa is an abbreviation of kissaten). At a manga kissa, people drink coffee, read manga and sometimes stay overnight.
Manga magazines usually have many series running concurrently with approximately 20–40 pages allocated to each series per issue. Other magazines such as the anime fandom magazine Newtype featured single chapters within their monthly periodicals. Other magazines like Nakayoshi feature many stories written by many different artists; these magazines, or "anthology magazines", as they are also known (colloquially "phone books"), are usually printed on low-quality newsprint and can be anywhere from 200 to more than 850 pages thick. Manga magazines also contain one-shot comics and various four-panel yonkoma (equivalent to comic strips). Manga series can run for many years if they are successful. Manga artists sometimes start out with a few "one-shot" manga projects just to try to get their name out. If these are successful and receive good reviews, they are continued. Magazines often have a short life.
After a series has run for a while, publishers often collect the episodes together and print them in dedicated book-sized volumes, called tankōbon. These can be hardcover, or more usually softcover books, and are the equivalent of U.S. trade paperbacks or graphic novels. These volumes often use higher-quality paper, and are useful to those who want to "catch up" with a series so they can follow it in the magazines or if they find the cost of the weeklies or monthlies to be prohibitive. "Deluxe" versions have also been printed as readers have gotten older and the need for something special grew. Old manga have also been reprinted using somewhat lesser quality paper and sold for 100 yen (about $1 U.S. dollar) each to compete with the used book market.
Kanagaki Robun and Kawanabe Kyōsai created the first manga magazine in 1874: Eshinbun Nipponchi. The magazine was heavily influenced by Japan Punch, founded in 1862 by Charles Wirgman, a British cartoonist. Eshinbun Nipponchi had a very simple style of drawings and did not become popular with many people. Eshinbun Nipponchi ended after three issues. The magazine Kisho Shimbun in 1875 was inspired by Eshinbun Nipponchi, which was followed by Marumaru Chinbun in 1877, and then Garakuta Chinpo in 1879. Shōnen Sekai was the first shōnen magazine created in 1895 by Iwaya Sazanami, a famous writer of Japanese children's literature back then. Shōnen Sekai had a strong focus on the First Sino-Japanese War.
In 1905 the manga-magazine publishing boom started with the Russo-Japanese War, Tokyo Pakku was created and became a huge hit. After Tokyo Pakku in 1905, a female version of Shōnen Sekai was created and named Shōjo Sekai, considered the first shōjo magazine. Shōnen Pakku was made and is considered the first children's manga magazine. The children's demographic was in an early stage of development in the Meiji period. Shōnen Pakku was influenced from foreign children's magazines such as Puck which an employee of Jitsugyō no Nihon (publisher of the magazine) saw and decided to emulate. In 1924, Kodomo Pakku was launched as another children's manga magazine after Shōnen Pakku. During the boom, Poten (derived from the French "potin") was published in 1908. All the pages were in full color with influences from Tokyo Pakku and Osaka Puck. It is unknown if there were any more issues besides the first one. Kodomo Pakku was launched May 1924 by Tokyosha and featured high-quality art by many members of the manga artistry like Takei Takeo, Takehisa Yumeji and Aso Yutaka. Some of the manga featured speech balloons, where other manga from the previous eras did not use speech balloons and were silent.
Published from May 1935 to January 1941, Manga no Kuni coincided with the period of the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945). Manga no Kuni featured information on becoming a mangaka and on other comics industries around the world. Manga no Kuni handed its title to Sashie Manga Kenkyū in August 1940.
Dōjinshi, produced by small publishers outside of the mainstream commercial market, resemble in their publishing small-press independently published comic books in the United States. Comiket, the largest comic book convention in the world with around 500,000 visitors gathering over three days, is devoted to dōjinshi. While they most often contain original stories, many are parodies of or include characters from popular manga and anime series. Some dōjinshi continue with a series' story or write an entirely new one using its characters, much like fan fiction. In 2007, dōjinshi sold for 27.73 billion yen (245 million USD). In 2006 they represented about a tenth of manga books and magazines sales.