“Manga” is simply the word for comics produced in Japan or in the Japanese language. Generally, they are printed in black and white, following a simple drawing style developed in the late 19th century, when “Eshinbun Nipponchi” magazine by Kanagaki Robun and Kawanabe Kyosai debuted in 1874. Influences on modern-day manga include Meiji-era and pre-Meiji art, as well as the introduction of American comic books and cartoons to Japanese people after World War II.

In Japan, manga comic books are meant for people of all ages and genders. They encompass a wide variety of genres: comedy, action, horror, detective, romance, science-fiction, mystery, historical drama, fantasy, erotica, and sports. The comic books are usually published as serials that tell one episode in a larger story, which is later compiled in a magazine or hardcover book. The most popular manga are often adapted into anime, or animated cartoons.

The modern form of manga came out of the post-World War II U.S. Occupation (1945-’52) and steadily increased in popularity after the Occupation, until it became a $5.5 billion industry in Japan in the late 2000s. Since manga are often translated into other languages, especially English, they’ve developed huge followings in countries like the United States and Canada. Internationally popular manga titles include Osamu Tezuka’s “Astro Boy,” Masamune Shirow’s “The Ghost in the Shell,” Akira Toriyama’s “Dragon Ball” (first serialized in “Weekly Sh?nen Jump”), Katsuhiro Otomo’s “Akira,” and Naoko Takeuchi's “Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon.” Some successful manga were adapted from stories that were originally anime films, such as “Neon Genesis Evangelion.”


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