It is relatively common to think that Manga is originating from Japan, but actually there is something more to the origin of Manga. Before you decide to read any Manga series, you should know its roots. To understand the background of the Manga will help you to decide if you want to start to read Manga. In addition, knowing some Manga genres is very useful to get to start with the right kind of Manga series.
Legendary Japanese woodblock artist Hokusai invented the term “Manga” to characterize his own works in the 18th century. Despite this, his paintings were not the world’s first representations of manga. The first known examples of manga are from scrolls Buddhist monks wrote in Japan in the 12th century. The representations of their works were the world’s first Manga drawings.
This series of scrolls, which were like chapters that ran continuously, showed animals that were behaving like people. The introduction of kibyshi, or “yellow covers,” in the 18th century reintroduced a manga-like drawing to Japanese culture. Kibyshi were adult books that had illustrations supplemented by conversation and text.
Because the kibyshi’s issues were controversial, the government banned many of their publications. Japanese artists continued to develop comics during the nineteenth century. These comics sometimes criticised the government and addressed political issues.
Printing technology advanced over the nineteenth century. The publishing industry continued to thrive far into the twentieth century. However, the Japanese government tightened its grip on artists and shut down publishing houses in the late twentieth century.
Prior to World War II, the Japanese government made use of manga to promote Japanese imperialism and propaganda to the world. Following World War II, the modern manga genre exploded in popularity and commercial success, swiftly becoming a worldwide phenomenon. The United States’ comics which Japan imported also had an influence on the manga art style.
Mr. Tezuka Osaku, frequently referred to as the “Father of Manga” or even the “Walt Disney of Japan,” began publishing his works in 1947. Tezuka Osamu and his colleagues introduced another fundamental transition in manga. This time, they transitioned from wartime publications to the delightful pleasure we know and love today.
You may also be wondering if Manga count as books. In order to get a clear answer to this question, I wrote the article “Does Manga Count As Books?” Read the answer to this question here.
What Are the Manga Genres?
In regular comics, you find several genres like romance, tragedy, fantasy, horror, action, adventure, and other varieties. Manga fans and librarians are familiar with the concept of genres, but the manga industry operates on a slightly different set of rules. Manga genres usually target specific audiences which makes other popular genres subgenres.
Manga has four primary genres which are Shōjo, Shōnen, Josei, Seinen.
These genres are descriptive rather than prescriptive. This allows other people outside the target audience to understand the concept behind the Manga concept in a particular publication. These genres also affect the way the comics circulate in Japan, as they correspond with specific demographics in the country.
The division of manga into various categories is a method of reaching both genders of all ages. For instance, Boys buy Shōnen manga because it includes male protagonists and tells stories they consider “masculine.” While manga is for a broad audience, one should know what each genre portrays before buying or reading.
Shōjo is a Japanese term that means “young woman,” and the target audience is women under the age of 18. A prominent theme in Shōjo comics is the presence of young female heroines. Depending on the Shōjo manga, the plot may revolve around romance, supernatural females, or even comedy.
Shōnen is a Japanese word that translates as “young man,” and targets males under the age of eighteen. Manga, in this category, features a male protagonist and includes narratives that include action, adventure, and fantasy elements. Shōnen is the most popular manga genre, and it has produced some of the most successful and long-running series in history.
Josei is a term that describes Manga for women over the age of 18. Josei protagonists could be in their early twenties or late thirties. It has older protagonists, as well as more mature themes and narratives than traditional manga. Josei manga features a more sophisticated script writing technique.
Seinen is manga for men over the age of 18. It features a humorous style of writing. Seinen manga has more mature themes and storytelling compared to shonen manga, which is a more juvenile kind of manga. Seinen also uses a more complicated language and has themes that are familiar to adult readers.
You might be wondering how to read manga panels in the right order, read the illustrated article I wrote about reading manga here.
Other Manga Genres
According the Manga Updates website there are several other Manga genres as well. Here is the list of these genres.
- Gender Bender
- Martial Arts
- School Life
- Shoujo Ai
- Shounen Ai
- Slice of Life