What is Manga

The word ‘Manga’ is a Japanese word meaning “Comics/cartoons”. The Manga is a Japanese version of comics which consists of printed cartoons and images. Outside the Japan territory, the Manga word is associated with Japan’s way of making comics. The cartoons of Manga are also known as Komikku, in local language. Though the history of Manga is ages old but the modern form of Manga evolved shortly after the World War II. It is a very popular form of entertainment in Japan and is loved by all age groups. The popularity of Manga is related to the time when the plight of Japanese people was terrible during the World War II and they required some reconciliation, which was delivered in the form of Manga.

History of Manga magazines

The history of Manga goes back to 1874 when a magazine called “Eshinbun Nipponchi” was published. It is known for being the first ever Manga magazine published. It was inspired by another magazine “Japan Punch” created by a British cartoonist Charles Wirgman. Eshinbun Nipponchi was a simple Manga magazine with basic drawings and did not gain much popularity. However, with time and the influence of US based comics brought to Japan by GI’s (US military personnel), the style of Manga representation changed and it incorporated a new design. The modern form of Manga originated during the Occupation and post Occupation periods of Japanese history from 1945-1960’s that saw the rise of Manga artists and Manga characters such as Osamu Tezuka (Astro Boy) and Machiko Hasegawa (Sazae-san). The Astro boy got immense fame and still remains one of the the favourite characters of the Japanese people, while the anime form of Sazae-san still continues to be published. The differentiation between characters of boys and girls emerged and they showed interest in their respective genders. Shonen Manga was a favourite among the boys while Shojo manga was the girls’ most loved character.

A Manga artist, known as Mangaka in Japanese language, works typically with a few associates inside a small studio and if the Manga series gets popular, its animated or collected chapters get republished in paperback books called Tankobon.

Genre and business

From the action packed adventures to the romantic and historical drama, the Manga expanded its circle to engulf every aspect of genre, including science fiction, mystery, horror, business and even sexuality. Since its uprising in the 1950’s the Manga industry has been ever growing, representing a whopping ¥406 billion market in Japan in 2007 (approximately $3.6 billion). In 2009 the Manga industry turnover crossed the mark of ¥420 billion ($5.5 billion). Today, Manga is not limited to Japan only but has also found readers and popularity in U.S and Canada where the Manga market has been valued at about $175 million. The stories of Manga are generally printed in black and white but some full colour Mangas also find their place in the market. The Manga magazines represent the culture and history of Japanese people showing their way of life and entertainment.

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