The Japanese artistic style changed since manga became a global phenomenon. From the beginning, this type of drawing grabbed public attention. In this sense, one can say that the history of manga in Japan was decisive for the development of Japan’s culture, but also for the future of animation in the whole world.
What is Manga?
Manga is a Japanese word that covers a wide variety of Japanese comic books and graphic novels. It was created by the artist Hokusai in the XVIII century. After he died, he left over 30, 000 manga works that inspired the following manga books, respectively the anime.
Manga and anime are often confused due to the fact that both of them are produced in Japan. But even if they have many features in common, they are different from many points of view.
First of all, manga represents the art of cartooning interesting stories and personages drawn in a unique manner while anime is based on animated cartoons. Also, manga appeared long before anime. That’s why manga stands as a root of anime evolution. Comic books were very popular during the 1960s. But this lasted until the Japanese animations boosted their popularity in the 90s.
Manga is an important aspect of the Japanese cultural identity. For more than a century, it played a notable role in the country’s education, culture, and entertainment. The first publications of manga were strictly black and white and presented moralizing stories, historical events, and legendary happenings. As their popularity grew, they became full-colored and started to cover many other genres like action, adventure, comedy, detective, drama, historical, horror, romance, SF, fantasy, and even erotica. Thus, manga became suitable for everyone. It was capable of fitting all types of audiences regardless of genre or age.
The history of manga
The word “manga” is tracked in 1814 when the artist Hokusai used the word as a title for his sketchbooks named “Hokusau Manga”. After that, the world itself started to describe generally Japanese comic books, cartoons, and animation. During Japanese Imperialism, manga was an arm with which people spread propaganda about the Japanese leadership.
The second period when manga reached high popularity was immediately after World War II. After the war, the American influence upon Japanese comics and cartoons could be felt. The release of the most iconic and influential character of manga, Astro Boy, increased manga’s popularity quickly. In a short time, all boys and young people read manga as a means of distraction from the post-war depression. Between 1960-1990, manga’s popularity continued to grow. It gave millions of people titles that have brought joy and changed their perspectives. Then, the television boomed and filmmakers needed to adapt to the population demands – animations. Manga represented a solid base for anime from whom it stole characters’ features, stories, and styles. Both manga and anime represent a method of relaxation, distraction, and education for their fans, but somehow, anime remained more preferred by the new generation.
Although nowadays comic books have disappeared in the rest of the world, in Japan, people of all ages still read them. This global industry suffered in the past decades, but faithful fans are still interested in acquiring original publications of it. Even fans of anime show interest in learning more about the history of manga in Japan because they want to know more about the creation of their favorite characters. In short, Japanese comics have enjoyed decades of popularity. People of different ages, from different social backgrounds, or different genres grew up reading them.