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Japanese manga and anime

History of manga and anime in Japan

A Japanese manga book
Manga section in a bookstore
Manga, Photo by Jeena Paradies

Some comical paintings are found in many works in the Middle Ages.
Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), who is a famous Ukiyoe artist, also created cartoony caricatures.

Between the late the 19th century and the beginning of 20th century, early manga works were created.
Most of them were caricatures, and they were affected by American ones.

Additionally, some artists created manga with story and they became the prototype of modern manga.

The word "manga" means "drawing a picture at will" and it was created around this period.

In the 1930s, some manga books for children were created, then they became best-sellers.
But they were expensive, so many children could not buy them.

Creation of manga declined during the World War II, but it revived after the war.

Many shops for rental books were opened.
Every child was able to read any manga with their pocket money, so the service was developed.

In the 1950s, Tezuka Osamu (1928-1989) who was a great pioneer of modern Japanese manga built up manga style with dramatic and long story.
His Great Works are Mighty Atom (Astro Boy, 1952-1968), Hi no Tori (Phoenix, 1956, 1967, 1986), Black Jack (1973-1983), etc.

He lived in a small apartment in Tokyo and had created manga there.
And many capable manga artists longing for Tezuka came from all over the country.

They created various manga works for rental comic and the style of Japanese manga had established.

In the 1960s, Japan entered high-growth era, then TV spread around country.
In this time, "Popeye" or Disney's cartoon from U.S. hit the air.

In 1963, Mr.Tezuka started the first Japanese TV cartoon "Mighty Atom (Astro Boy)", and it captivated children in whole Japan.

Cover of Weekly Shonen Jump in the 1980s
Cover of Weekly Shonen Jump in the 1980s
Exhibition of Shonen Jump, Photo by Kanesue

Around the same time, some comic magazines for boys and girls started.
And popular manga in the magazines were made into TV cartoon, so both magazine and TV were developed.
Such way became a mainstream for Japanese manga.

In addition, popular mange works were shown in movie theaters after editing for the screen.

And popular serial manga works are published in book form.
It is called Tankobon, and many tankobon are sold in most bookstores.

From around the period, a word "anime" from "animation" began to be used as TV cartoon and movie of manga.
So the "manga" became the word for paper and electric comic book.

Since the middle of 1980s, many anime production companies like STUDIO GHIBLI have been established and produced the anime films for movie theater and DVD.

Some movies have become big hits around the world.

Now, "manga" and "anime" are the important culture in Japan.
The subjects are broad, and many manga artist are creating now.

Feature of Japanese Manga

A Japanese manga book
A Japanese manga book
Naruto no Manga, Photo by Darijapan

Manga in the comic magazine and Tankobon have the following characteristics.

Sentences in Japanese languge are basically written vertically and the vertical lines in the speech ballon of manga are read from right to left.

Therefore, reader sees the flames of the picture in every page in a direction from right to left.
That is the opposite direction of cartoon magazine in English.

Fortunately, Japanese language has kanji characters (Chinese characters).
So, each speech can be written with less number of characters than the other languages using alphabet.
Speech ballons in Japanese manga don't obstruct the picture, and each pictutes is easy to see.

Japanese manga has a wide range of subjects and a story line.
Various mangas are created for children, for young boys and girls, for adults, etc.
And most manga works are serialized.

Japanese companies of Manga and Anime

Major Manga publisher

Because manga books are for Japanese people, the websites of the publisher are mainly in Japanese language.

Shueisha Kodansha Comics Shogakukan Comic SQUARE ENIX Akita Shoten Hakusensha Coamix

Popular animation production companies

The Studio Ghibli Collection Toei Animation Kyoto Animation A-1 Pictures SHAFT P.A.WORKS SUNRISE ufotable (Japanese site) Production I.G WIT STUDIO (Japanese site) bones (Japanese site) J.C.STAFF (Japanese site) MAPPA Doga Kobo TRIGGER Satelight eight bit (Japanese site) TMS Entertainment Shin-ei Animation Pierrot Clover Works Madhouse Comix Wave

Tourist spots relating to Manga and Anime


The followings are popular as the town of manga and anime.

There are many shops for comic book, novel, music and visual software, game software.

In addition, relating to the fantasy world, there are "maid cafes" and the shops for "cosplay".

Akihabara [Tokyo] Ikebukuro [Tokyo] Nipponbashi [Osaka] Ôsu [Nagoya]

The followings are the towns and spots for particular manga, anime or its artist.

Enthusiastic fans of an anime movie visit the location in the movie to see the real places.
Especially, the travel is called "pilgrimage".

Hida-Furukawa [Gifu Pref.] Takayama [Gifu Pref.] Tomonoura port [Hiroshima Pref.] Mizuki Shigeru Road [Tottori Pref.]

Museum, Amusement Park

There are some museums about manga and anime in Japan.
Many of them are the museum for an artist of manga and anime.

Ghibli Museum [Tokyo] Sanrio Puroland [Tokyo Pref.] Fujiko-F-Fujio Museum [Kawasaki city] Kyoto International Manga Museum [Kyoto] Gosho Aoyama Manga Factory [Tottori Pref.]

Mangattan Museum [Miyagi Pref.] Tokyo Anime Center [Tokyo] Yanase Takashi Memorial Hall [Kochi Pref.]

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