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 performs a significant position in Japanese tradition today.

But how did manga start? And the way did it evolve to achieve the global affect it has right now?

Though there are clues that manga originated back to the 12th century, we’re going to give attention to hard details 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 (famous for ukiyo-e and butt buddies with Santō Kyōden) was the primary to make use of 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 about the benefits of Japanese leadership. However after the war, everything changed.

The Turning Point

Following the tip 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 similar time, the United States brought over their comics and cartoons. This closely 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 considered one of Japan’s most iconic and influential characters — Astro Boy.

Another famous stylistic innovator on the time was Machiko Hasegawa, creator of Sazae-san (in yonkoma format, four-panel comic usually present in newspapers).

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

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

Manga Immediately

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

Thankabsolutely, it gave us One Piece, Dragon Ball, Pokemon, and plenty of different titles that have introduced joy to millions of people across the world.

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