1. Introduction

Japanese manga and anime are popular not only among children but also adults all over the world. The manga culture has roots in the Japanese society.   Designers of computer games often use techniques based on manga and anime. The industry of manga, anime, and game software has grown tremendously.

As noted above, the manga culture is deeply rooted in the Japanese society. It is common to see young workers who read a manga magazine on a commuter train. This is a specific phenomenon of Japan.

In this lecture we will learn the terminology of manga, the history of manga from the ancient time to present, manga and its related industry, amateur manga, manga as a form of art, and studies of manga.

2. Terminology

Outside of Japan, the word manga 漫画 usually refers specifically to Japanese comics. However, in Japan it has a wider meaning including all kinds of comics, cartoons, caricatures, satirical drawings and all similar art forms.

Manga is probably a Sino-Japanese word (a Chinese-like word made in Japan), whereas its etymology is not known.

The character man 漫 has several readings. When we read it suzu (ro) or sozo (ro) it means involuntarily or in spite of oneself. Another way of reading is mida(ri)ni, then it means  without authority, without reason, arbitrarily, unnecessarily, indiscriminately or recklessly. On the other hand the character ga 画 means picture, drawing, painting, sketch (The New Nelson Japanese-English Character Dictionary, Tuttle, Tokyo, 1997).

In 1814 Katsushika Hokusai 葛飾北斎 (1760 - 1849) published his sketch book 'Hokusai Manga' 北斎漫画 with many drawings of people, folkways, animals, plants, specters and monsters. 

Imaizumi Ippyo 今泉一瓢 (? - 1901) translated the word 'caricature' as 'manga' in the Meiji  period.  



The word anime アニメ is an abbreviation of the Japanese transcription of animation 'animeshon', In Japan, the word anime is used to refer to all forms of animated manga from around the world.


3. History

3.1. Ancient and medieval times

The origin of Japanese manga like 'graphic storytelling' could be found in Emakimono 絵巻物, pictorial hand scrolls. "E Inga-kyo" 絵因果経, an illustrated Buddhist sutra from the Nara 奈良 period (8th century CE), is recognized as the oldest Emakimono in Japan. In the 12th century  several well known Emakimono such as Genji Monogatari Emaki 源氏物語絵巻 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tale_of_Genji), Ban Dainagon Ekotoba 伴大納言絵詞 (Idemitsu Museum, Tokyo) and Shigisan Engi Emaki 信貴山縁起絵巻 were created. In the Genji Monogatari Emaki the spectacle of the aristocratic everyday life is shown with rich colors even inside of houses because there are neither roof nor ceiling.

Another Emakimono from this period Choju Jinbutsu giga 鳥獣人物戯画 (Kozan-ji 高山寺, Kyoto) is much closer to the contemporary manga. The author of this scroll is supposed to have been Toba Sojo Kakuyu 鳥羽僧正 覚猷 (1053 - 1140), a Buddhist bishop of the Tendai sect 天台宗. It is unusual in its own genre, as it does not contain any text, only pictures. It depicts scenes of animals - rabbits, monkeys, frogs etc - in amusing scenes, portraying the Japanese society in the 12th century.

A lot of fantasy is depicted in the Gaki zoshi 餓鬼草子 (12th century, Kyoto National Museum) with the scene of the hell of hunger.



This tradition of Emakimono continued in the following centuries to depict battles, romance, religion, folk tales, and stories of the supernatural world. Examples include the Kitano Tenjin engi 北野天神絵巻 (Early 13th century, Kitano Tenmangu 北野天満宮, Kyoto), Ippen shonin eden 一遍上人絵伝 (1299, Kangi-ji 歓喜寺, Kyoto), Egara Tenjin engi 荏柄天神縁起 (1319, Maeda Ikutoku-kai 前田育徳会, Kanazawa 金沢), Fukutomi-soshi 福富草子 (14th century?, Shirayuri College 白百合女子大学, Tokyo) and Eshi no soshi 絵師草紙 (14th century, Imperial Household Agency).

3.2. The Edo period

During the Edo period (1600 - 1868) a lot of ukiyo-e 浮世絵 were produced. Ukiyo-e, "pictures of the floating world", is a genre of Japanese woodblock prints and paintings, featuring motifs of landscapes, the theater and pleasure quarters.

A part of ukiyo-e, including the Hokusai Manga, could be recognized as caricatures. Toshusai Sharaku 東洲斎写楽 (late 18th century), Utagawa Hiroshige 歌川広重 (1797 - 1858), Utagawa Kuniyoshi 歌川国芳 (1797 - 1861) and many other painters are the authors of these ukiyo-e.

Whereas Emakimono were painted and difficult to reproduce, ukiyo-e caricatures were printed massively and circulated widely in Japan. These humorous caricatures are sometimes called 'Toba e' 鳥羽絵 to highlight their connection with the Bishop Toba Sojo. 



3.3. The Meiji and Taisho periods

In 1862 Charles Wirgman (1832 - 1891) launched the first manga magazine in Yokohama 'Japan Punch' by 1887. The magazine was followed by Japanese newspapers and magazines such as 'E shinbun Nihon-chi 絵新聞日本地' (1874), 'Kisho Shinbun 寄笑新聞' and 'Marumaru Chinbun 團團珍聞' (1877). The Japanese first serialized manga 'Enoshima Kamakura Cho-Tan Ryoko 江ノ島鎌倉長短旅行' (Cho and Tan's travel to Enoshima and Kamakura) by Taguchi Yonesaku 田口米作 (1864-1903) was published in the Marumaru Chinbun from 1896.

There were two distinguished manga artists in the early 20th century: Kitazawa Rakuten 北澤楽天 (1876-1955) and Okamoto Ippei 岡本一平 (1886-1948).

Rakuten created many satirical manga, under strong influences of Wirgman, Georges F. Bigot (a French artist, 1860 - 1927) and other Western artists. He launched also a manga magazine 'Tokyo Pack 東京パック' (1905) and 'Jiji-manga 時事漫画' (1921). A Rakuten's manga series 'Tonda Haneko とんだはね子' in Jiji-manga was the first Japanese shojo manga 少女漫画, in which girls play main roles.

In 1915 Okamoto Ippei established Tokyo Manga Society which was renamed later to Japan Manga Society. The society published a magazine 'Toba-e トバエ'.  Okamoto published his serialized manga 'Hito no issho 人の一生' (The life of a man) in the newspaper Tokyo Asahi Shinbun 東京朝日新聞, creating a new style of manga with stories.

During the 1920s, two types of manga were produced. One of these was manga for small children published in newspapers and journals bought by their parents, and strongly influenced by similar comics appearing in American newspapers. American comics such as George McManus' 'Bringing up Father', Bud Fisher's 'Mutt and Jeff', and Pat Sullivan's 'Felix the Cat' were translated into Japanese and printed in newspapers such as the Hochi 報知 and Asahi Graphs 朝日グラフ. Suzuki Bunshiro 鈴木文四郎 (1890-1951), the chief editor of the Asahi Graph, conceived an idea for a children's manga whilst touring Europe and America. Suzuki arranged for his story 'Sho-chan no boken 正チヤンの冒険' (The adventures of little Sho) to be scripted and drawn by two members of staff, Oda Shosei 織田小星 (1889-1967)- scripts, and Kabashima Katsuichi 樺島勝一 (1888-1965)- drawings which became the first successful children's manga. It is known as the first use of speech balloons in Japanese manga.

The other was short political manga for adult readers. The 1920s were a decade when unprecedented social and political activity under the 'Taisho democracy' led to experimentation with ideology and lifestyle. Some Marxist manga artists allied themselves with the pro-working class political and cultural program of the Proletarian Geijutsu-kai プロレタリア芸術界 (Proletarian Artist League).  

3.4. The Showa period

From the beginning of the Showa period in 1926 Japan turned its policy away from democracy to the centralized militarism. The media was increasingly controlled by the government. In 1941 all independent manga artists' associations were incorporated into one official association, Shin Nippon Manga Kyokai 新日本漫画協会, the New Japan Manga Association. Members of the New Association were drawn into the project of producing wartime propaganda for the military authorities. 

Some manga artists came into the narrower field of children's manga and non-political manga. In 1931 Kodansha 講談社 launched a colored children's magazine 'Shonen Kurabu 少年倶楽部', Boys Club. Collected editions of serialized manga stories such as 'Norakuro のらくろ' (Black Stray) by Tagawa Suiho 田河水泡 (1899-1989), and  'Boken Dankichi 冒険ダン吉' (Dankichi the adventure) by Shimada Keizo 島田啓三 (1900-1973). Manga stories published in monthly children's magazines and collected editions arising from them constituted in a nascent form the post-war manga industry.

In 1942 magazines and newspapers were merged. Paper shortage caused by the breakdown of trade and transport also forced publishers to produce increasingly slender editions of their publications.

Soon after the Second World War two kinds of subcultures flourished in Japan: rakugo 落語, comical storytelling, and kamishibai 紙芝居, 'paper theater' or picture card shows. Picture card storytellers performed a version of primitive animation in the streets using picture cards.

During the 1950s rental book shops became popular. Many young and unknown manga artists earn their living writing manga for rental manga publishers which distributed limited runs of manga books and magazines for book rental shops. The population of the reconstructed cities was swollen with young migrant workers from rural areas. The majority had become ill-paid factory workers for whom rental manga was one of the only available source of cheap entertainment.

Some of rental manga artists began to develop more realistic and political forms of manga, oriented towards young adults like themselves. In 1957 a teenage artist, Tatsumi Yoshihiro 辰巳ヨシヒロ (1935- ) invented the term gekiga 劇画, meaning 'dramatic pictures', to describe this new genre. Early gekiga was characterized by a new degree of graphic realism and themes related to society and politics. 

In the same period small books of manga printed in red ink and known as akahon 赤本, means 'red book' were sold by street vendors in Osaka 大阪. Tezuka Osamu 手塚治虫 (1928-1989) published 'Shin Takarajima 新宝島', New Treasure Island in akahon format in 1947. This title sold more than 400,000 copies stimulating a national craze for akahon manga books and the Tezuka manga stories.

Tezuka, a medical doctor and an amateur entomologist (his nickname Osamu is from Osamushi 筬虫, Carabinae, a kind of ground beetle) is the man mostly responsible for the rise of manga to its dominant role in the post-war Japanese pop culture. He had an insatiable intellectual curiosity that  encompassed science, history, religion, and space exploration. His best known creation is probably 'Tetsuwan Atom 鉄腕アトム' known as 'Astro Boy' outside Japan. Running from 1951 to 1968, it depicted the adventures of a robot boy named Atom who has a superhuman power used for truth and justice. Atom starred in Japan's first regularly scheduled TV cartoon show in 1963 and later, as Astro Boy, became the first manga hero to appear on American television


In 1959 the first weekly manga magazine entitled 'Shonen Magazine 少年マガジン' launched by Kodansha, followed rapidly by 'Shonen Sunday 少年サンデー' published by Shogakkan 小学館. The acceleration of manga production from a monthly to a weekly cycle enabled manga publishers to keep up with the electronic pace of television broadcasting. Serialized manga stories were adapted into TV animations, which served to advertise further the original manga stories and inflate manga book sales.

In 1965 Uchida Masaru 内田勝, the chief editor of 'Shonen Magazine' invited gekiga artists to work for Kodansha. This experimental fusion of children's manga magazine and adolescent gekiga was an extraordinary success and attracted a broad range of new readers to manga magazines. The readership of 'Shonen Magazine' expanded rapidly and by the end of 1966 it approached one million. By 1974 there were 75 manga magazines with a total monthly circulation of 20 million.

Between 1968 and 1973 Shonen Magazine serialized 'Ashita no Joe 明日のジョー (Tomorrow's Joe)', a story by an ex-kashihon artist Chiba Tetsuya 千葉徹也 (1939- ) and a script writer Kajiwara Ikki 梶原一騎. 'Ashita no Joe' became one of the most widely read manga series amongst students. 


During the 1970s a new genre of girl's manga emerged which was influenced by the dream-like and naturalistic aesthetics of the hippie movement. Girl's manga with unrealistic drawing styles, incorporating characters with large eyes and cute faces, drawn in fragmented compositions lacking perspective, were linked to the themes of romance and inner or spiritual world.

Boy's manga also absorbed some of the experimentation in the field of art and design. The front cover of Shonen Magazine was designed by Yoko'o Tadanori 横尾忠則 (1936- ), a radical young poster designer, later to become an artist of international standing.

4. The manga industry

The contemporary Japanese manga industry is largely oligarchic. Five companies - Kodansha (www.kodansha.co.jp), Shogakkan (www.shogakukan.co.jp), Shueisha 集英社 (www.shueisha.co.jp), Hakusensha 白泉社 (www.hakusensha.co.jp), and Akita Shoten 秋田書店 (www.akitashoten.co.jp) - dominated 75.3 % of the total manga market in 1993. Launching a new manga magazine has been a risky project typically involving capital losses spread over several years. The annual revenue of even well-established manga magazines are unstable.

Each magazine sold is read by an average of three people, then the actual readership of manga magazines is three times as high as their circulation figures. A manga magazine 'Shonen Jump', which was published by Shueisha and sold 6.5 million copies a week, may have been read by 20 million people, or one sixth of the total population of Japan in 1995.

Since 1995 the manga industry as a whole has experienced a slow down in growth. One reason given for the decline of manga sales is the greater interest in computer games amongst the children of the 1990s and the rapid spread of the Internet and PCs amongst adults from the mid-1990s. Nintendo 任天堂 launched a 'Family Computer' (Famikon) in 1983, later, Sony launched 'PlayStation' in 1994. Nintendo sold 'Super Mario Brothers' (1985) 6.8 million in Japan, and more than 100 million all over the world. Children were spending more time playing interactive animated computer games than watching animation on TV. However, graphic style and characters, such as the 'Pokemon', employed in computer game design are derived from manga.


5. Amateur manga

The rapid ascendant of the manga industry encouraged the development of a sphere of amateur manga production. Non-commercial manga produced in the 1960s to mid-1970s was ignored by the publishing industry. However, at the beginning of the 1970s when cheap and portable offset printing and photocopying facilities became available, amateur manga and literature could be reproduced an distributed easily. It created the possibility of mass participation in unregistered and unpublished forms of cultural production. Printed amateur manga are known as dojinshi 同人誌, booklets or magazines distributed within specific groups, associations or societies. 

In 1975 a group of young manga critics founded a new institution the Comic Market to encourage the development of unpublished amateur manga. The Comic Market is a free space in the form of a convention held several times a year where amateur manga could be bought and sold. Within several years Comic Market became the central organization of the amateur manga medium, the existence of which encouraged the formation of new amateur manga circles, in high schools, in colleges and amongst amateur manga artists with similar interests across the country. 35,000 dojinshi circles joined the Comic Market 2004 Summer Convention, and 510,000 people participated.

Participants of the Comic Market call themselves 'otaku おたく', a slang which means maniac fans obsessed with manga and anime. They recognize the Comic Market as a 'Festival of Otaku'.


6. Manga as an art form

Miyazaki Hayao 宮崎 駿 (1941- ) was awarded the Best Animated Feature of Hollywood's Academy Awards in 2002 for 'Spirited Away' - the Japanese title 'Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi 千と千尋の神隠し', 2001. This work won the 'Golden Bear' of the Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin 2002 as well. Miyazaki created self-contained worlds where allegory is avoided, and characters have complex or ambiguous motivations. 


See also http://www.ghibliworld.com/index.html

7. Studies of manga

In 2006 Kyoto Seika University has opened the Faculty of Manga. The website of the faculty says as follows:

Japanese manga and anime have become firmly established as dynamic new art forms, and are the focus of attention from all around the world. Despite their great popularity, until now there has been hardly any opportunity to study these popular media on a systematic basis. Kyoto Seika University, which pioneered Japan's first university Manga program, continues to lead all other institutions in Japan by creating a full-scale Faculty of Manga from 2006.

This development will realize the ultimate in systematic and comprehensive study of this exciting field, fostering young artists and producers capable of original expression and creativity, leading to the further development of manga culture in the world.


Kyoto Seika University hosts also the Japan Society for Studies in Cartoon and Comics.