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Manga (漫画, IPA:
In Japan, people of all ages and walks of life 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 (hentai and ecchi), sports and games, and suspense, among others. Many manga are translated into other languages.
Since the 1950s, manga has become an increasingly major part of the Japanese publishing industry.
As of 2021, the top four comics publishers in the world are manga publishers
Manga stories are typically printed in
Manga-influenced comics, among original works, exist in other parts of the world, particularly in those places that speak Chinese ("
The word "manga" comes from the Japanese word 漫画 (katakana: マンガ; hiragana: まんが), composed of the two kanji 漫 (man) meaning "whimsical or impromptu" and 画 (ga) meaning "pictures". The same term is the root of the Korean word for comics, manhwa, and the Chinese word manhua.
The word first came into common usage in the late 18th century
In Japanese, "manga" refers to all kinds of cartooning, comics, and animation. Among English speakers, "manga" has the stricter meaning of "Japanese comics", in parallel to the usage of "
History and characteristics
According to art resource Widewalls[
Writers on manga history have described two broad and complementary processes shaping modern manga. One view represented by other writers such as
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 drew 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 (
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 (
By the turn of the 21st century, manga "achieved worldwide popularity".
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. In 2010, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government considered a bill to restrict minors' access to such content.[needs update]
Publications and exhibition
In Japan, manga constituted an annual 40.6 billion yen (approximately US$395 million) 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.
Manga magazines or anthologies (漫画雑誌, manga zasshi) 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. Popular shonen magazines include Weekly Shōnen Jump, Weekly Shōnen Magazine and Weekly Shōnen Sunday - Popular shoujo manga include Ciao, Nakayoshi and Ribon. 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 chapters 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
Published from May 1935 to January 1941, Manga no Kuni coincided with the period of the
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 sales amounted to 27.73 billion yen (US$245 million). In 2006 they represented about a tenth of manga books and magazines sales.
Thanks to the advent of the internet, there have been new ways for aspiring mangaka to upload and sell their manga online. Before, there were two main ways in which a mangaka's work could be published: taking their manga drawn on paper to a publisher themselves, or submitting their work to competitions run by magazines.
In recent years, there has been a rise in manga released digitally. Web manga, as it is known in Japan, has seen an increase thanks in part to image hosting websites where anyone can upload pages from their works for free. Although released digitally, almost all web manga sticks to the conventional black-and-white format despite some never getting physical publication. Pixiv is the most popular site where amateur and professional work gets published on the site. It has grown to be the most visited site for artwork in Japan. Twitter has also become a popular place for web manga with many artists releasing pages weekly on their accounts in the hope of their work getting picked up or published professionally. One of the best examples of an amateur work becoming professional is One-Punch Man which was released online and later received a professional remake released digitally and an anime adaptation soon thereafter.
Many of the big print publishers have also released digital only magazines and websites where web manga get published alongside their serialized magazines.
The rise web manga has also been credited to smartphones and computers as more and more readers read manga on their phones rather than from a print publication. While paper manga has seen a decrease over time, digital manga have been growing in sales each year. The Research Institute for Publications reports that sales of digital manga books excluding magazines jumped 27.1 percent to ¥146 billion in 2016 from the year before while sales of paper manga saw a record year-on-year decline of 7.4 percent to ¥194.7 billion. They have also said that if the digital and paper keep the same growth and drop rates, web manga would exceed their paper counterparts. In 2020 manga sales topped the ¥600 billion mark for the first time in history, beating the 1995 peak due to a fast growth of the digital manga market which rose by ¥82.7 billion from a previous year, surpassing print manga sales which have also increased.
By 2007, the influence of manga on international comics had grown considerably over the past two decades.
Traditionally, manga stories flow from top to bottom and from right to left. Some publishers of translated manga keep to this original format. Other publishers mirror the pages horizontally before printing the translation, changing the reading direction to a more "Western" left to right, so as not to confuse foreign readers or traditional comics-consumers. This practice is known as "flipping". For the most part, criticism suggests that flipping goes against the original intentions of the creator (for example, if a person wears a shirt that reads "MAY" on it, and gets flipped, then the word is altered to "YAM"), who may be ignorant of how awkward it is to read comics when the eyes must flow through the pages and text in opposite directions, resulting in an experience that's quite distinct from reading something that flows homogeneously. If the translation is not adapted to the flipped artwork carefully enough it is also possible for the text to go against the picture, such as a person referring to something on their left in the text while pointing to their right in the graphic. Characters shown writing with their right hands, the majority of them, would become left-handed when a series is flipped. Flipping may also cause oddities with familiar asymmetrical objects or layouts, such as a car being depicted with the gas pedal on the left and the brake on the right, or a shirt with the buttons on the wrong side, however these issues are minor when compared to the unnatural reading flow, and some of them could be solved with an adaptation work that goes beyond just translation and blind flipping.
Manga has highly influenced the art styles of
Manga has influenced European cartooning in a way that is somewhat different from in the U.S. Broadcast anime in France and Italy opened the European market to manga during the 1970s.
By mid-2021, 75 percent of the €300 value of
In 2021, the Spanish manga market hit a record of 1033 new title publications. In 2022 the 28th edition of the Barcelona Manga Festival opened its doors to more than 163,000 fans, compared to a pre-pandemic 120,000 in 2019.
Manga publishers based in the United Kingdom include
Manga made their way only gradually into U.S. markets, first in association with anime and then independently.
During the 1980s and 1990s, Japanese animation, such as
Japanese publishers began pursuing a U.S. market in the mid-1990s, due to a stagnation in the domestic market for manga.
During this period,
In the following years, manga became increasingly popular, and new publishers entered the field while the established publishers greatly expanded their catalogues.
A number of artists in the United States have drawn comics and cartoons influenced by manga. As an early example,
By the beginning of the 21st century, several U.S. manga publishers had begun to produce work by U.S. artists under the broad marketing-label of manga.
Francophone artists have also developed their own versions of manga (manfra), like Frédéric Boilet's la nouvelle manga. Boilet has worked in France and in Japan, sometimes collaborating with Japanese artists.
The Japanese manga industry grants a large number of awards, mostly sponsored by publishers, with the winning prize usually including publication of the winning stories in magazines released by the sponsoring publisher. Examples of these awards include:
- The Akatsuka Award for humorous manga
- The Dengeki Comic Grand Prix for one-shot manga
- The Japan Cartoonists Association Award various categories
- The Kodansha Manga Award (multiple genre awards)
- The Seiun Award for best science fiction comic of the year
- The Shogakukan Manga Award (multiple genres)
- The Tezuka Award for best new serial manga
- The Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize (multiple genres)
Kyoto Seika University in Japan has offered a highly competitive course in manga since 2000. Then, several established universities and vocational schools (専門学校: Semmon gakkou) established a training curriculum.
Shuho Sato, who wrote Umizaru and Say Hello to Black Jack, has created some controversy on Twitter. Sato says, "Manga school is meaningless because those schools have very low success rates. Then, I could teach novices required skills on the job in three months. Meanwhile, those school students spend several million yen, and four years, yet they are good for nothing." and that, "For instance, Keiko Takemiya, the then professor of Seika Univ., remarked in the Government Council that 'A complete novice will be able to understand where is "Tachikiri" (i.e., margin section) during four years.' On the other hand, I would imagine that, It takes about thirty minutes to completely understand that at work."
- ACG (subculture)
- Alternative manga
- Anime and manga fandom
- Cinema of Japan
- Cool Japan
- Culture of Japan
- E-toki (horizontal, illustrated narrative form)
- Japanese language
- Japanese popular culture
- Lianhuanhua (small Chinese picture book)
- Light novel
- List of best-selling manga
- List of films based on manga
- List of licensed manga in English
- List of manga distributors
- List of manga magazines
- List of Japanese manga magazines by circulation
- Manga iconography
- Manga outside Japan
- Truyện tranh
- Visual novel
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