A Temporary History of Japanese Manga

Manga (pronounced maawng-guh) literally means “whimsical or impromptu pictures.” Typically associated with otaku “nerdy” tradition, it has a deep and rich history in Japanese artwork that plays a significant function in Japanese tradition today.

But how did manga start? And how did it evolve to achieve the global influence it has at present?

Though there are clues that manga originated back to the twelfth century, we’re going to give attention to hard info starting with the word “manga” itself.

The word “manga” was first coined in 1798 by Santō Kyōden’s Shiki no Yukikai (Seasonal Passers-by).

However in 1814, the artist Katsushika Hokusai (well-known for ukiyo-e and butt buddies with Santō Kyōden) was the first to use the word “manga” as the title for his sketchbooks titled “Hokusai Manga”.

During the rise of Japanese Imperialism, the Japanese empire used manga for spreading propaganda concerning the benefits of Japanese leadership. But after the war, everything changed.

The Turning Point

Following the end of World War II, Japan was occupied by the Allies which restricted any propaganda or Japanese militarism. This meant that Japanese artists had room to explore their inventive styles.

On the identical time, the United States brought over their comics and cartoons. This heavily influenced the fashion of manga on the time.

And with that allowed Tezuka Osamu (the God of Manga and Japanese equivalent to Walt Disney) to create one in every of Japan’s most iconic and influential characters — Astro Boy.

One other well-known stylistic innovator at the time was Machiko Hasegawa, creator of Sazae-san (in yonkoma format, four-panel comic often present in newspapers).

Each Osamu Tezuka and Machiko Hasegawa’s modern techniques paved the way for shōnen (for young boys) and shōjo (for younger girls) manga. The former being the most popular style manga genre today.

And so, manga’s standardity exploded and was destined to create otaku culture within the 21st century.

Manga Right this moment

Closely influenced by American comics and deeply scarring publish-war depression, manga pivoted from its confident, severe tone to the “kawaii” (cute) style.

Thanktotally, it gave us One Piece, Dragon Ball, Pokemon, and lots of different titles which have brought joy to millions of people across the world.

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