What is Manga? A Guide to Japanese Comic Books

What is Manga? We all know that how manga is creating its fan base continuously from a very long time. Manga, an engaging and engrossing form of Japanese comic books, has captured the attention of readers all over the world with its distinct storyline and visual identity.

Manga, which has its roots in Japan, has a worldwide fan base and has become an essential component of popular culture. This article delves into the intriguing world of manga, examining its antecedents, traits, genres, and significant influence on world culture.

What is Manga? A Guide to Japanese Comic Books
What is Manga? A Guide to Japanese Comic Books

What is Manga?

Picture this: Let’s assume you are strolling through a bookstore especially on the streets of Tokyo, Japan. Suddenly you stumble upon shelves packed with eye-catching comics and catchy graphic novels. But wait, these aren’t any common comics or your typical superhero stories. “These are Japanese Mangas – Welcome to the realm of Manga!”

Simply put it together, Japanese Manga are the Comic books and graphic novels, popularly known as “Manga” in Japan. But trust me, it’s so much more than that. Manga is a cultural phenomenon that has taken the world by storm, captivating readers with its unique storytelling and distinctive art style.

Manga are the comics that read from right to left, with characters sporting big eyes, wild hairstyles with unique attitude and styles. That’s manga for you! These stories cover every genre under the sun, from heart-pounding action to tear-jerking romance, and everything in between.

Manga is very popular in Japan and also has a sizable international following. It is very well-liked type of entertainment in Japan and enjoyed by most of the generations. From young children to adults, manga offers something for everyone. Action, adventure, romance, fantasy, science fiction, comedy, and other genres are all covered in manga.

Emphasizing it again, Manga is well distinguished by its unique visual aesthetic, which frequently includes expressive figures with big eyes and heightened facial expressions. The usual reading direction is from right to left, which is the opposite of how it is in many Western and other continent nations.

Manga is available in a variety of media, including single books, compilations, and serialized series that are published in manga magazines. It offers manga for:

  • For young teenager boys (Shonen Manga): Usually for young teenage boys,
  • For young teenager girls (Shojo Manga): Usually for young teenage girls,
  • For adult males (Seinen Manga): For younger men and adult males,
  • For adult females (Josei Manga): For younger women and adult females.

In Japan, manga is deeply woven into the cultural fabric of its society. You’ll find people reading manga on trains, in cafes, and even in dedicated manga cafes where readers can spend hours immersed in their favorite series.

Manga has affected many facets of popular culture, including live-action movies, TV episodes, and interestingly many manga series have been adapted into anime (animated TV shows and movies) and even stage plays, further expanding their reach and impact. It shows their immense popularity.

Japanese Manga has also a devoted global following. As language translations became more widely available and easily accessible, readers and its fans around the world have embraced this unique storytelling medium.

In addition, Manga conventions, manga & anime cosplay events, and fan communities have sprung up globally, celebrating this art form and its diverse stories. Manga has been become an important part of world’s comic and storytelling cultures.

Manga Examples

Following are the few popular manga series:

  1. One Piece
  2. Naruto
  3. Death Note
  4. Sailor Moon
  5. Attack on Titan
  6. My Hero Academia
  7. Fruits Basket
  8. Fullmetal Alchemist
  9. Dragon Ball
  10. Your Name

What is Manga: Origins and Cultural Significance

Japanese culture has a long history that is firmly ingrained in manga. Its beginnings can be found in the 19th century, when Western storytelling techniques merged with traditional Japanese creative traditions. The art form acquired popularity after World War II and developed into a broad and significant medium that addressed social issues, represented cultural changes, and offered readers of all ages escape.

History of Manga

The Japanese comics and graphic novel art form known as manga. Manga has a long and fascinating history. The history of manga is extensive and varied, spanning several centuries.

Here is a synopsis of the development of Manga:

Origins (12th–16th century)

“Emakimono,” or illustrated story scrolls, are the precursor to manga, and they first appeared in the 12th century. Various stories, including historical occurrences, religious doctrines, and folktales, were represented on these scrolls. Emakimono created the framework for Japanese visual storytelling.

Woodblock printing techniques and illustrated books called “kibyoshi” and “gokan” became popular during the Edo period (1603–1868). These books had witty and sarcastic material that frequently made light of societal problems and political people. During this time, artists like Santo Kyoden and Katsushika Hokusai played important roles.

Meiji Period (1868–1912)

As a result of Japan’s efforts to modernise, the Meiji period saw a dramatic change in the country’s culture and society. During this time, Western influences were extremely important to the development of manga. Caricatures and comic strips in the Western style were first created by artists like Kitazawa Rakuten. In 1902, “Jiji Manga,” a magazine dedicated to the art medium, was also released.

Early 20th Century

Manga became a popular form of amusement in the early 20th century. During this period, creators like Osamu Tezuka, who is frequently referred to as the “Godfather of Manga,” arose. With his inventive storytelling approaches and cinematic panel layouts, Tezuka’s work, including “Astro Boy” and “Black Jack,” revolutionised manga.

Post-WWII and Contemporary Manga (1945–Present)

In the years following World War II, manga developed into a vital tool for assisting people in overcoming the difficulties of the era. In order to appeal to various demographics, manga publications like “Shonen Jump” and “Shojo Beat” were launched. Sports, romance, adventure, and science fiction are some of the more well-liked genres.

Manga has become a worldwide sensation and has attracted attention from all around the world. Popular manga series and films were translated in order to reach a wider audience and promote Japanese comics. Anime, a kind of animation with manga influences, contributed significantly to the globalisation of manga.

Modern manga: Manga today spans a wide variety of genres and aesthetics, appealing to a wide spectrum of readers. The market has grown to encompass online platforms, digital manga, and webcomics. Eiichiro Oda (“One Piece”), Hajime Isayama (“Attack on Titan”), and Rumiko Takahashi (“Inuyasha”) are a few notable examples of modern mangaka (manga artists).

Four Major Demographics of Manga

Publishers and companies frequently target particular audiences and release manga according to audience age. Manga’s are released and targeted based on audiences age, gender, and hobbies, because manga appeals to a wide range of people.

Here are four main manga demographics or manga’s four main target audiences as per their the readers age:

Shonen: Young boys and adolescent males are the main audience for shonen manga. The word “shonen” means “boy” or “youth” in Japanese. Shonen manga frequently includes themes of friendship, rivalry, and personal development in addition to action and adventure.

A few well-known shonen manga series are “Dragon Ball,” “Naruto,” “One Piece,” and “My Hero Academia.” These manga frequently include animated heroes and exciting conflicts, making them appealing to readers looking for adventure and bravery.

Shojo: Shojo manga is written with young girls and adolescent women in mind. The Japanese word “shojo” means “girl” or “young woman.” Coming-of-age tales, romance, and relationships are frequent themes in shojo comics.

It places a strong emphasis on character growth, complex relationships, and emotional depth. Among the most well-known shojo manga series include “Sailor Moon,” “Fruits Basket,” “Cardcaptor Sakura,” and “Ouran High School Host Club.” Shojo manga frequently has aspects of drama, fantasy, and slice-of-life stories.

Seinen: Seinen manga is intended for young men or males between the age group 18 to 40 years old. Japanese for “young man” is the phrase “seinen”. Compared to shonen manga, seinen manga explores a wider range of themes and genres and frequently has more sophisticated and intricate narrative.

Josei: Josei manga is intended for young women or females, who are generally between the age group 18 to 40 years old. The japanese word “Josei” means woman.

It might be of the action, thriller, science fiction, historical, or slice-of-life variety. Seinen manga may address darker and more mature themes as well as social issues, politics, and other subjects. Popular seinen manga titles include “Berserk,” “Monster,” “Attack on Titan,” and “Tokyo Ghoul.”


To conclude, What is Manga? Manga is a popular and influential genre of Japanese comic books and grsphic novels that has drawn readers and made his mark on its fans, from all around the world. Manga has a long and varied history that spans several centuries. It has developed into a significant storytelling format that encompasses a wide variety of genres and appeals to a wide range of audiences.

Senior Writer

Leave a Comment