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 culture today.

However how did manga start? And how did it evolve to achieve the worldwide affect it has right this moment?

Though there are clues that manga originated back to the 12th century, we’re going to deal with hard facts starting with the word “manga” itself.

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

But in 1814, the artist Katsushika Hokusai (famous for ukiyo-e and butt buddies with Santō Kyōden) was the primary to make use of the word “manga” because the title for his sketchbooks titled “Hokusai Manga”.

In the course of the rise of Japanese Imperialism, the Japanese empire used manga for spreading propaganda in regards to 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.

At the same time, the United States introduced over their comics and cartoons. This heavily influenced the style of manga at the time.

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

One other famous stylistic innovator at the time was Machiko Hasegawa, creator of Sazae-san (in yonkoma format, four-panel comic normally found in newspapers).

Both Osamu Tezuka and Machiko Hasegawa’s innovative strategies paved the way for shōnen (for younger boys) and shōjo (for younger girls) manga. The former being the most popular style manga style today.

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

Manga In the present day

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

Thankabsolutely, it gave us One Piece, Dragon Ball, Pokemon, and many other titles that have brought pleasure to millions of individuals across the world.

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