MANGA (JAPAN COMIC)

The kanji for "manga" from Seasonal Passersby (Shiki no Yukikai), 1798, by Santō Kyōden and Kitao Shigemasa. Manga (in kanji 漫画; in hiragana まんが; in katakana マンガ, Manga?) listen (help•info), pronounced /ˈmɑŋgə/, are comics and print cartoons (sometimes also called komikku コミック), in Japanese and conforming to the style developed in Japan in the late 20th century. In their modern form, manga date from shortly after World War II but have a long, complex history in earlier Japanese art.

In Japan, manga are widely read by people of all ages, and include a broad range of subjects: action-adventure, romance, sports and games, historical drama, comedy, science fiction and fantasy, mystery, horror, sexuality, and business and commerce, among others. Since the 1950s, manga have steadily become a major part of the Japanese publishing industry, representing a 481 billion yen market in Japan in 2006 (approximately $4.4 billion dollars). Manga have also become increasingly popular worldwide. In 2006, the United States manga market was $175–200 million. Manga are typically printed in black-and-white, although some full-color manga exist (e.g. Colorful manga, not the anime series). In Japan, manga are usually serialized in telephone book-size manga magazines, often containing many stories each presented in a single episode to be continued in the next issue. If the series is successful, collected chapters may be republished in paperback books called tankōbon. 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 even during its run, although sometimes manga are drawn centering on previously existing live-action or animated films (e.g. Star Wars).

Manga as a term outside of Japan refers specifically to comics originally published in Japan. However, manga and manga-influenced comics, among original works, exist in other parts of the world, particularly in Taiwan ("manhua"), South Korea ("manhwa") and the People's Republic of China, notably Hong Kong ("manhua").In France, "la nouvelle manga" is a form of bande dessinée drawn in styles influenced by Japanese manga. In the U.S., manga-like comics are called Amerimanga, world manga, or original English-language manga (OEL manga).

Etymology

Manga, literally translated, means "whimsical pictures". The word first came into common usage in the late 18th century with the publication of such works 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 celebrated Hokusai manga containing assorted drawings from the sketchbook of the famous ukiyo-e artist Hokusai. The first user of the word "manga" as its modern usage is Rakuten Kitazawa.

History and characteristics

Historians and writers on manga history have described two broad and complementary processes shaping modern manga. Their views differ in the relative importance they attribute to the role of cultural and historical events following World War II versus the role of pre-War, Meiji, and pre-Meiji Japanese culture and art.

The first view emphasizes events occurring during and after the U.S. Occupation of Japan (1945–1952), and stresses that manga was strongly shaped by U.S. cultural influences, including U.S. comics brought to Japan by the GIs and by images and themes from U.S. television, film, and cartoons (especially Disney). Alternately, other writers such as Frederik L. Schodt, Kinko Ito, and Adam L. Kern stress continuity of Japanese cultural and aesthetic traditions as central to the history of manga.

Modern manga originates in the Occupation (1945–1952) and post-Occupation years (1952–early 1960s), when a previously militaristic and ultranationalist Japan was rebuilding its political and economic infrastructure. There was an explosion of artistic creativity in this period from manga artists such as Osamu Tezuka (Astro Boy) and Machiko Hasegawa (Sazae-san).

A kami-shibai story teller from Sazae-san by Machiko Hasegawa. Sazae is the woman with her hair in a bun.

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 1949, when many of these artists were born). The group included Hagio Moto, Riyoko Ikeda, Yumiko Oshima, Keiko Takemiya, and Ryoko Yamagishi and they marked the first major entry of women artists into manga. Thereafter, shōjo manga would be drawn primarily by women artists for an audience 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).

In modern shōjo manga romance, love is a major theme set into emotionally intense narratives of self-realization. With the superheroines, shōjo manga saw releases such as Naoko Takeuchi's Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon, which became internationally popular in both manga and anime formats. The superheroine subgenre also extensively developed the notion of teams (sentai) of girls working together.

Manga for male readers can be characterized by the age of its intended audience: 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 sexuality. 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 sexually overt manga aimed at grown men and also called seijin ("adult," 成人) manga. Shōnen, seinen, and seijin manga share many features in common.

Boys and young men were among 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 and 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 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 the hero is surrounded by such girls and women, as in Negima and Hanaukyo Maid Team, or groups of heavily armed female warriors (sentō bishōjo)

With the relaxation of censorship in Japan after the early 1990s, a wide variety of explicitly drawn sexual themes appeared in manga intended for male readers that correspondingly occur in English translations. These depictions range from mild partial nudity through implied and explicit sexual intercourse through bondage and sadomasochism (SM), zoophilia (bestiality), incest, and rape.

Gekiga is a style of drawing is emotionally dark, often starkly realistic, sometimes very violent, and focuses on the day-in, day-out grim realities of life, often drawn in gritty and unpretty fashions. 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.

In Japan, manga constituted an annual 406.7 billion yen (3.707 billion USD) publication industry by 2007. Recently, the manga industry has expanded worldwide with distribution companies license and reprint manga into their native languages.

When a series has been running for a while, the stories are usually collected together and printed in dedicated book-sized volumes, called tankōbon. These are the equivalent of U.S. trade paperbacks or graphic novels. These volumes 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. Recently, "deluxe" versions have also been printed as readers have got 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.

Manga are primarily classified by the age and gender of the target audience. In particular, books and magazines sold to boys (shōnen) and girls (shōjo) have distinctive cover art and are placed on different shelves in most bookstores. Due to cross-readership, consumer response is not limited by demographics. For example, male readers subscribing to a series intended for girls and so on.

There has been an increase in the amount of publications of original webmanga. It is internationally drawn by enthusiasts of all levels of experience, and is intended for online viewing. It can be ordered in graphic novel form if available in print.

The Kyoto International Manga Museum maintains a very large website listing manga published in Japanese.



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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