The word manga can evoke different images to different people. Some think of spiky hair and Asian names. Others think of wide, expressive eyes. Most of those familiar with the term will think of their favorite Japanese comic book, be it more or less famous.
Manga are comic books created in Japan or by Japanese authors that follow a certain style developed in the late 19th century. However, these drawings have a complex history that stems from early Japanese art going as back as the 11th century. Discovering how manga and anime came to exist, is finding out a unique and interesting part of Japanese history.
The term manga translates as “whimsical sketches.” In Japan, “manga” refers to all kinds of cartooning, comics, and animation. However, outside the country, the term refers only to Japanese comic books. The idea of “playful sketches” goes back to the 11th century when Toba Sojo depicted his sense of humor in animal scrolls known as Choju Giga. The drawings were often satirical and accompanied by a few words.
The term manga was first used in the 19th century by Katsushika Hokusai. The artist used it for his floating wood pictures known as ukiyo-e. Modern manga, as we know it, came to be in the Occupation (1945–1952) and post-Occupation years (1952–early 1960s).
All types of Japanese art went through a significant creativity explosion after the 1947 Japanese Constitution prohibited all types of censorship. During this period manga went through significant development, fueled especially by two main artists: Osamu Tezuka’s and Machiko Hasegawa.
Between 1950 and 1969 the audience for manga increased dramatically. As a result the genre split in two: shōnen manga aimed at boys and shōjo manga aimed at girls. Though in the beginning most manga artists were men, in 1969 a group of female artists made their shōjo manga debuts. Since then, most shōjo comic books are drawn by women.
Manga continued to develop and expand, in time branching out in more and more genres. Have you read any Japanese comic books?
Source: examiner.com; Images: wikipedia
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