Manga [ ˈmaŋɡa ] ( Japanese 漫画 ) is the Japanese term for comics . Outside of Japan , it mostly refers to comics that come exclusively from Japan, but is also used for non-Japanese works that are visually and narrative strongly based on Japanese models. A clear demarcation of manga through style features is not possible in Japan because of the great variety of form and content of the medium. The most important comic cultures influenced by the Manga include the Korean Manhwa and Manhua from the Chinese region . Many of the style elements of manga that are regarded as typical can also be found in Japanese animated films , the anime .
In Japan, manga represent a significant part of literature and the media landscape. The manga market is the world's largest comic book market. The roots of Japanese comics go back to the Middle Ages. However, its current shape is largely shaped by western influences in the 19th and 20th centuries. Mangas have been a successful cultural export for Japan since the 1990s, alongside anime and computer games.
Definition, conceptual delimitation and conceptual history
Similar to the western term “comic”, “manga” is also rather vague in its meaning and strongly dependent on the context, motives for the use and addressees of the term. In western parlance, manga is primarily understood to mean comics, that is, stories or events of Japanese origin told in sequences of images. In a broader sense, the term also includes works from other countries that can be assigned to the Japanese drawing tradition and that have typical stylistic elements of the Manga. However, since these are broadly based, are subject to change over time and overlap with other comic cultures, this assignment is always subjective. In the English- speaking world , for example, the term OEL Manga (Original English Language Manga) for Japanese-influenced works has become established. As a more general term there is the "global manga", to which even Manhwa from Korea can be counted. While this understanding of manga - mainly represented by fans - includes foreign productions, experimental or European-looking Japanese works are often excluded because they do not correspond to the expected style. Furthermore, the term manga is used differently by publishers from a marketing perspective. For example, American publishers understood Manga as “comic paperbacks of a certain size and price range, which are aimed primarily at girls and women”. The exact definition and demarcation of manga is the subject of constant debates both among fans and in the scientific discourse.
Characteristic features of a definition of manga according to style features are a cute to childlike representation of the characters, often with big eyes, a highly codified visual language and long, film-like stories as well as narrative strategies, image and page designs used for them. The term Japanese Visual Language (JVL, dt. "Japanese visual language", after Neil Cohn) is used for the combination of these features - especially those of the character design - without this per se being used as a definition of Manga. The characteristics only apply to part of Japanese comic culture, which is particularly present outside of Japan and therefore shapes the picture. Often they are also identified with the form of publication as a series of small-format paperbacks and, for example, separated from comics as serial publications from picture books. Forms of publication that are particularly widespread in Japan, such as magazines and the production processes there, are also used as a feature, although these and the format already have a special Japanese reference. Likewise, many of the stylistic features are sometimes traced back to Japanese cultural features, so that a definition of Manga based on style features can also be traced back indirectly to a definition based on Japanese origins. In an overview of various attempts at definition, Zoltan Kacsuk states that all of them refer directly or indirectly to Japan. When defined by style, it follows changes in Japan, while stylistic changes outside of Japan are viewed as moving away from the manga itself. The combination of the usual style, genre and narrative features, the form of publication in magazines and the Japanese origin that is almost inevitably associated with it result in an understanding of manga in the narrower or narrowest sense (“Manga Proper” according to Jaqueline Berndt ). Frederik L. Schodt summarizes Manga as "a Japanese storytelling art with a long tradition that has taken a physical form imported from the West".
In Japan itself, the term “manga”, like “comic” ( コ ミ ッ ク komikku ), is used for all types of comics, regardless of their origin. Used so widely, it is often written in katakana . In addition to picture stories, individual pictures in the usual style of comics and caricatures are also referred to as manga. In Japan, in contrast to the West, the image of the manga is shaped by comic strips instead of just long stories. However, the word “Manga” has long been perceived as slang, so that publishers use “komikku / komikkusu” more often because the word sounds more cultivated. Japanese comic research understands manga primarily as a serial graphic narrative form that appears in magazines. In the public perception of Japan and in research beyond Japan, there are two concepts of manga: the Japanese comic culture after the Second World War or the entirety of all comics and picture stories made in Japan since the early Middle Ages. During their creation and until the middle of the 20th century, Japanese animation films were also referred to as “Manga”, later “Manga Eiga” ( 漫画 映 画 , “Manga films”). From the 1970s onwards, the term anime caught on and Manga Eiga is rarely used today, especially by Studio Ghibli .
Various direct translations can be found for the word “Manga”. These include "spontaneous", "impulsive", "aimless", "involuntary", "mixed colors", "unbridled / free", "whimsical / bizarre" and "immoral" for the first syllable, the second means "image". The word or combination of the characters 漫画 , which like all Japanese symbols come from China, has been in use in Japan since the 12th century, but the meaning has changed frequently and drastically since then. Hirohito Miyamoto first used the name of a spoonbill bird ( 漫画 , here in the reading mankaku ), later a name for chaotic writing or drawing in which the bird serves as a metaphor, and finally for “production and collection of large quantities of drawings of different motifs in different styles ”. The introduction of today's meaning or even the invention is often attributed to the artist Katsushika Hokusai , but he neither used it as the first nor in the current meaning, but still in the sense of "collection of drawings". However, he probably made it more popular as a name for his woodcuts, so that at the end of the 19th century it was taken up again in a new term: "Manga" now referred to caricatures, simple humorous drawings and the art of drawing in general. In the context of political caricatures, the meaning of “unbridled / free” was particularly important. Eventually, the word was taken up by Kitazawa Rakuten for his comic series. In the name of this, the term solidified in the following time and finally prevailed after the Second World War. In recent times there have been several attempts to reinterpret or rewrite the word in order to keep its immediate meaning more neutral according to the medium. Among them were a spelling as MAN 画, " MAN " in the sense of English. "Humanity" and "grown up", or a change of the first character to the character "Zeichen" for "tens of thousands, everything", also pronounced as "man".
The term was introduced into western, i.e. initially English, language usage by Frederik L. Schodt through his book Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics from 1983 as the name for Japanese comics. In the 1990s the term established itself in this sense - also in Europe. Since more and more comics have emerged outside of Japan that are strongly based on Japanese models, and the image of the manga has been shaped by the internationally successful series over a long period of time, the term has also been used in a broader sense or in relation to stylistic features.
Development of Japanese comics
In cultural studies, it is controversial at what time the manga was created or from what point in time one can speak of manga in Japanese comics. The views range from a search for origins in medieval Japanese culture with its caricatures and picture scrolls to the satires, prints and sketches of the Edo period , whose most famous artist is Katsushika Hokusai , to the upheavals in Japanese culture and the influences of the West around 1900 , when Kitazawa Rakuten shaped the medium, to Osamu Tezuka , who found new narrative forms and themes after World War II. The notion of a history of the manga reaching far back into the past is increasingly being criticized. It ignores breaks in Japanese cultural history and serves to defend manga as a cultural asset against prejudice against the mass media, as well as to identify manga as an original Japanese cultural asset for political reasons. The strong western influences since the end of the 19th century, which are of great importance for today's manga, would be concealed or faded out through a conscious choice of historical and modern examples. There are narrative and stylistic differences between today's manga and Japanese art up to the 19th century. Neil Cohn mentions the narrative strategies and the vocabulary of symbols as a clear difference. Some Japanese traditions were also re- imported through Japanese-influenced Western movements such as Art Nouveau . Nevertheless, there are similarities, as Jean-Marie Bouissou names the absurd and faecal humor as well as the connection between the human and the superhuman as substantive constants from the Middle Ages to today. With regard to the narrative tradition, it is pointed out that narration in pictures was always present in various forms in Japan, while there are strong breaks and gaps in the history of comics in other countries. In this way, there was always a high level of acceptance for the medium, even without a linear development.
The importance of Osamu Tezuka is also controversial, whose person and performance have been a central topic in manga research since the 1990s. On the one hand, he is seen as the creator of a "new and quintessentially Japanese" medium, manga. Others point out that some of Tezuka's supposedly new storytelling techniques had previously been tried in Japan, but had not yet met with great success, and that he did not have the pioneering role in everything that is attributed to him. It is undisputed that Osamu Tezuka made a significant contribution to popularizing the medium with his works. In highlighting Tezuka as the creator of the manga, especially in the 1990s, there was also an interest in portraying the medium as particularly modern - in contrast to the assertion of a long manga tradition by those who sought the origins in the Middle Ages or the Edo period.
The oldest known forerunners of Japanese comic art are drawings and caricatures from the early 8th century, which were discovered on the back of ceiling beams in 1935 during restoration work at the Hōryū Temple in Nara . Buddhist monks began to draw picture stories on paper rolls at an early age. These are called emakimono . The best known of these works is the first of a total of four chōjū jinbutsu giga ( 鳥 獣 人物 戯- , animal-person caricatures ), which are attributed to the monk Toba Sōjō (1053–1140): This is a satire in which animals are how people behave and how Buddhist rites are caricatured. These were so successful that such works were soon generally referred to as " Toba-e " (Toba pictures). In the 13th century people began to paint temple walls with drawings of animals and life after death. At the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries, woodcuts appeared that were bound in notebooks and sold primarily to the wealthy middle class. Drawings from everyday life and erotic images were also added. Since the time of the first still religious drawings, art has often been characterized by absurd humor and fecal humor. The first works that reached wider classes were the Ōtsu-e in the middle of the 17th century.
From the late 17th century they were followed by woodcut pictures called Ukiyo-e , which dealt with carefree life, landscapes and actors up to sexual debauchery and which quickly found mass distribution among the middle class of the Edo period . One of the artists of these woodcuts was Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849), who took up the term “manga”, which was previously used elsewhere. Other artists, Aikawa Minwa said a little earlier than Hokusai, also used the word for their works. The Hokusai manga are sketches that have been published in a total of 15 volumes and do not tell a coherent story, but rather show snapshots of Japanese society and culture. In retrospect, Hokusai played an oversized role as a ukiyo-e artist through the perspective of Japonism , so that he was at times also considered the inventor of the word manga.
Another part of Edo culture were the Kusazōshi (all sorts of books), which tell stories in a mixture of pictures and texts and, depending on the color of their cover, were called Akahon (red), Aohon (green) and Kurohon (black), as well as the Kibyōshi (writings with yellow envelopes), which are widespread in large editions . They addressed contemporary life and developed into a popular mass medium. Image and text were closely interlinked in them and some forms of speech bubbles and similar integrations of text in images have already appeared. There were also so-called Toba-e, which now mainly showed caricatures and satires from everyday life.
Western influence and first half of the 20th century
After the end of the closure of Japan and the associated increasing opening of the country, the western publishing industry gained influence in the second half of the 19th century. In addition to new, improved printing techniques, the style of European caricatures was inspired by the satirical magazines The Japan Punch (1862–1887, founded by Charles Wirgman ) and Tôbaé (from 1887, founded by Georges Bigot , named after the monk Sōjō ) to spread it in Japan Toba ), as well as the comic strips emerging in the US in the newspapers. More cartoon magazines based on their model followed, and some of the emerging Japanese newspapers had comic supplements. These had a satirical character and were aimed exclusively at adults; some of the publications and artists were constantly threatened by censorship and arrests. The first magazines for children were created around 1900, already separated by gender: The Shōnen Sekai for boys in 1895 and Shōjo kai for girls in 1902 . However, these initially only contained a few comics or caricatures.
The story Tagosaku to Mokubē no Tōkyō Kembutsu ("Tagosakus and Mokubes Tour of Tokyo"), drawn by Rakuten Kitazawa (1876–1955) in 1902, is considered the first forerunner of Manga in today's sense . Kitazawa took up "Manga" again, used it to differentiate it from the older art forms and finally established it as a name for the stories in pictures. In 1905 he founded the satirical magazine Tōkyō Puck - named after the British (later American) satirical magazine Puck - and in 1932 the first Japanese school for cartoonists. In 1935, Manga no Kuni, the first specialist magazine for draftsmen, started. Rakuten's publications for adults were soon followed by the first magazines with mangas for children and young people, such as the Shōnen Puck in 1907 and the Shōjo no Tomo for girls in 1908, as well as many others. In the 1920s, more and more American comic strips appeared in Japan, which became models for Japanese artists. As a result, the speech bubble is also used much more frequently than before. The Yonkoma manga, a comic strip made up of four pictures, which was created during this period , is still widespread in Japan today. With ero-guro-Nansensu ( ero table, large tesk, nonsense ), enter the experiments in other art and life Feels 1920s was appropriate genre for adults.
In the 1930s, and especially during World War II , the manga was also used by the government for propaganda. Drawers were forced to produce harmless everyday stories, perseverance and heroic stories or direct propaganda for use in the army or with the enemy. Instructions or explanations in the form of mangas also appeared more frequently. The pressure led to the fact that some draftsmen switched to stories for children and, in contrast to the strips of up to eight panels from the time before, for the first time stories were created in many chapters and with a total length of over 100 pages. These appeared in magazines that were more devoted to comics, such as the Yōnen Club , which reached its highest circulation of nearly 1 million in 1931. In 1940, the Japanese government initiated the state umbrella organization Shin Nippon Mangaka Kyōkai ("New Association of Japanese Manga Artists"). However, complete control of the medium, which was widespread until the end of the war, did not succeed and the handling of popular characters such as Mickey Mouse , who were assigned to the enemy, remained ambivalent: sometimes they were symbols of the enemy in the stories, sometimes welcome guests. The most successful series in the increasingly militaristic society were Norakuro about the military career of a soldier in dog form and tank Tankuro , stories about a tank with any weapons, other equipment and transformation possibilities. Both series were accompanied by the successful marketing of toys and the like. In the last years of the war, publications were increasingly restricted due to the scarcity of raw materials and mangas were discredited as a waste of time.
post war period
After the Japanese surrender during the occupation, the Japanese publishing industry was initially subject to strict requirements from the United States, which aimed to put an end to militarism in Japan - but their requirements were looser than those of the Japanese government during the war. At the same time, light and affordable entertainment that offered an escape from the dreary everyday life was in great demand. Numerous new small publishers were founded, mangas reappeared in the newspapers and in their own magazines, but many also in the form of very cheaply produced Akahon Manga ("red book manga" after the red cover). The most influential pioneer of modern manga was Osamu Tezuka . Influenced by the style of the early Disney cartoons and by expressionist German and French films, he created Shintakarajima after his first newspaper trips in 1947 . For the first time, the story based on Treasure Island was a long narrative with a cinematic staging that established the story manga . This trend was formative for the modern manga and makes up the majority of the internationally successful works. Osamu Tezuka shaped the development of the medium through further successful series and his influence on other artists. In the same decade he published Astro Boy and Kimba, the white lion , who influenced the boys' segment, and Ribbon no Kishi, the first adventure series for girls. From the 1960s onwards, he was also formative for the anime with the film adaptations of his series, in the production of which he played a major role. Later, Tezuka devoted herself to an older audience with more serious, socially critical series. By his death in 1989 he had created over 700 stories in a wide variety of genres. About 70 percent of the manga publications of his time are based on the presentation criteria popularized by Tezuka, according to an estimate by Megumi Maderdonner.
The medium manga, redesigned by Tezuka and other young post-war artists, achieved great popularity in the 1950s, supported by the economic boom. Everyday topics as well as science fiction and classic adventure stories were predominant, alongside the emerging range of romantic to adventurous stories for girls. At the same time, a flourishing lending library market developed , since the purchase of books was still too expensive for many, and in this a segment of violent and sex-containing, narrative experimental comics. The Japanese paper theater Kamishibai , which died out in the 1950s with the advent of television, also had an influence on this trend. The movement distinguished itself from the manga of magazines aimed at children and formed in 1959 as Gekiga . Its climax was in the 1960s, when, in the context of student protests, socially critical, violent but also everyday stories for adults found a larger audience. These topics also came more into the big magazines. Sports manga , some with socially critical plot, became more popular and in 1968 the first erotic manga came out with Harenchi Gakuen - in Shōnen Jump , a large magazine for male adolescents. With the decline of the lending library market in the early 1960s, the artists who remained there went to the big publishers or founded new magazines aimed at adult audiences. His manga emerged from the Gekiga and the magazine series aimed at adult male audiences , characterized by crime or adventure stories and angular, more realistic drawing styles. At the same time, crude humor and generally more depictions of sex and violence became widespread in the early 1970s.
Development into a cultural export good
After a female readership had grown up almost exclusively with stories by male artists in the post-war period, women increasingly pushed into the manga in the 1970s. The group of the 24ers and others took up elements from already successful stories like those of Tezuka as well as from Kabuki and Takarazuka theater, created new narrative and creative means and dedicated their stories to adventure, love and sexuality. Stories often played in exotic locations with authentic or current Japanese fashion. Even homosexuality is first treated and the genre Shonen-ai founded, is in the love between men at the center. A little later, Josei was also a genre for adult women. The now settled series for girls and women more strongly in Japanese society, the stories became more critical and took greater liberties. At the same time, the first magazines for erotic manga developed. In the magazines aimed at young people, science fiction became more popular again in the 1970s, above all mecha series with giant robots that are controlled by people sitting in them, and space operas . Significant series of this development were Mazinger Z by Go Nagai and the works of Leiji Matsumoto . At the same time, an organized fan scene began to develop with its own events and publications, which in turn had an impact on the professional scene. In the 1980s, science fiction series became deeper, more related to the world of their readers, and more philosophical questions asked. Among these were Akira and Ghost in the Shell , who, together with their anime adaptations, were the first manga to achieve success in the western world. The most successful manga of the decade, however, was Dragon Ball , which came to Europe and North America a little later, but all the more successfully. The popularity of both entertaining and sophisticated manga in these countries was quickly followed by a fan scene there in the 1990s. After the medium became more popular and sexualised and violent content also appeared in publications for young people and children in the 1980s, social criticism grew in Japan. The case of the so-called otaku killer Tsutomu Miyazaki , who killed four girls in 1989 and was an anime and manga fan, was followed by a social debate about a connection between media and violence. It initially led to the temporary stigmatization of Mang readers as generally dangerous to the public and in 1991 to the arrests of editors, publishers and draftsmen. As a result, self-censorship by the large publishers developed and a stronger differentiation of content according to age groups as well as corresponding markings of publications for adults, but also a movement of artists against the restriction of their freedom.
Up until the 1990s, series on hobbies such as pachinko and for otaku or boys love also occupied niche markets in Japan . From the variety of genres developed in the previous two decades, an increasing variety of titles has now been released worldwide after an initial success in Japan. Alternative or underground manga also came out in western countries. Outside of Japan, the publications inspired local illustrators to emulate the stylistic devices and themes, also by mixing them with traditional American genres and characters such as superheroes . The big publishers DC and Marvel at times brought out manga versions of some of their heroes. In 2001, the Nouvelle Manga movement was proclaimed in France, which aims to combine Franco-Belgian and Japanese comic traditions. In Japan itself, the pirate adventure One Piece appeared in 1997, the most commercially successful series, which also became internationally popular - similar to other adventure and action series aimed at young people, including Naruto and Bleach . At the same time, the manga magazine sales have been falling since 1995. The tradition of the Japanese comic strips experienced a new direction in the 1990s through so-called Moe-Yonkoma, who devote themselves to the everyday life of beautiful young girls in a humorous way. After 2000, web manga appeared, also as comic strips, but not necessarily in the classic four-picture scheme. At the same time, both illegal and legal digital distribution channels for manga emerged, in particular platforms for reading on cell phones were developed. The consumption of series via unlicensed scanlations is perceived as an economic threat.
During the 1990s, the manga gained increasing recognition as a general medium and art form. In the fall of 2000, the Japanese government officially recognized Manga and Anime as an independent art form worthy of funding and the medium became compulsory in art classes, with emphasis on portraying the Manga as traditional Japanese art. In order to strengthen the popularity of Japanese culture internationally and to use it economically and politically, support measures in the form of scholarships and awards were created especially from 2008 onwards. The term Cool Japan was coined for this approach . However, both in 2002 and from 2010 there were government efforts to restrict sexual representations of under 19-year-olds and to reinterpret the youth protection laws more strictly, which led to major protests in parts of the cartoonist and fan scene. Debates about the effect of depictions of violence on young people and children also kept coming up after violent acts. In 2015 there was criticism of sexual representations, especially of minors in some mangas, now mainly from outside with the motivation to take international action against child pornography . In the same year there was an initiative by Japanese MPs to promote the medium even more strongly as an important cultural export with a national manga center.
Narrative forms and style elements
Mangas are mostly in black and white and are read from "back" to "front" and from right to left in accordance with the traditional Japanese reading direction . The best-known form of manga outside of Japan are the story manga , which tell a long, often detailed story and can comprise many thousands of pages. There are also comic strips, so-called Yonkoma (four-picture comic). In addition, there is the term Koma-Manga for comic strips that do not adhere to the classic form, which is closed in four pictures.
For the story manga - and thus for the image of manga outside of Japan in general - a cinematic, i.e. content-based narrative style is formative. Movements, actions and scenery are shown in great detail, with only a little text on many images. The narrative rhythm is geared towards a match between narration time and narrated time, so that the feeling of “being there” is promoted. Both the composition of the individual images, the chosen viewing angles and the overall composition of the pages are used to create a rhythm. In the manga, in contrast to other comic cultures, a narrative medium often used is the representation of movements in small steps. Together with the heavy use of onomatopoeia , which are integrated into the picture compositions, and symbols, this enables a quick reading flow. Due to the extensive narrative style, the stories are often hundreds or thousands of pages long and offer space for depth of content and differentiated characterization. Scenes are often put together piece by piece in several images of individual details and there are comparatively many images without an immediate action or acting figure. The overall design of a page, i.e. the interaction of the panels to form a metapanel, is also of great importance. Accordingly, compared to American comics, close-ups and individual people are shown more frequently in a panel than groups of people. The comparison also shows that Japanese comics contain less text and concentrate more on the visual implementation of the narrative.
As a form of the comic, the manga initially has all the stylistic devices of the comic at its disposal. This includes the simplification and exaggeration of figures, movements and poses, the use of symbols, onomatopoeia and typography . Some elements are particularly important for the manga, such as the use of poses, which can also be explained by the influence of the kabuki theater. Movement lines and dissolves are not only used for moving objects, but also in the form of “subjective movement” for the static environment, seen from the perspective of movement. Emotions are primarily conveyed through the eyes, which are also symbolically distorted. Since the shōjo manga of the 1970s, particularly large eyes and abstract backgrounds have been used to convey emotions and moods. For the first time, Osamu Tezuka used larger eyes, especially in the pupils, to depict the characters' characters and feelings. An increase in stylization is Super Deformed , where a figure spontaneously slips into a child-like shape that shows an outburst of emotion or a comical situation, only to change back to its normal, more realistic appearance. The character design sometimes, but not necessarily, corresponds to the Japanese cuteness concept kawaii , other aesthetic concepts for the representation of beauty and attractiveness are Bishōjo (female) and Bishōnen (male). Neil Cohn mentions “big eyes, big hairstyles, small mouths and a pointed chin and small noses” as defining characteristics. From the 1990s onwards, many Manga drawing instructions, which always reproduced this style, also contributed to the spread and awareness of these characteristics.
Frederik Schodt suspects the origin of the oversized eyes in an ideal of beauty that arose during the opening of Japan to the west around 1900, namely to look European. This has become independent, at the same time is particularly suitable for conveying emotions. The situation is similar with the seemingly “white” exteriors of Japanese figures, especially the light hair and eyes. Another origin of these stylistic devices is the usually missing color and the simplified face shapes, so that different hair and eye colors are used to distinguish the characters.
Due to the manga's own history, an independent, extensive vocabulary of symbols could develop, which at first sight can be difficult for non-Japanese readers to understand. The situation is similar with the use of typography and onomatopoeia, although these are usually easier to understand. Neil Cohn calls the sum of this vocabulary together with the narrative style of the story manga as grammar "Japanese Visual Language" (JVL), "Japanese visual language". Their appearances, perceived as typical, are like a “standard dialect”, next to which there are many different and derived “dialects” - in Japan as well as internationally - and which change over time. The established stylistic devices and symbols used, as well as the possibility of detailed presentation of the content over several pages instead of tightly packed panels, enable the pages to be received very quickly - as Frederik Schodt noted as early as 1983. According to the editors of Shōnen Magazine , readers spend an average of 3.75 seconds per page. The high symbolic content of the pages, however, enables a comparatively large amount of information to be conveyed and at the same time requires a high level of reading skills.
Content and genres
In Japan, the manga medium is highly differentiated in terms of content and covers every age group and every literary genre. Over time, several subgroups have emerged for Manga in Japan, each addressing a demographic target group. This stems in particular from the magazines, each of which is dedicated to a target group. These are:
- Kodomo for young children
- Shon for male adolescents
- Shōjo for female adolescents
- His for (young) men
- Josei or "Ladies Comic" for (young) women
Part is also Kazoku manga for children and families and Silver Manga spoken for the older audience. However, all of these target-group-oriented genres cannot be equated with the actual readership. This is often diverse for each of the genera. The genres instead give a reference to the content: Shōnen manga are more action-packed, while shōjo series focus on romance. The origins of the division of the genres by gender lie in the strong separation of the areas of life of men and women in Japan since the Middle Ages, especially in the cultural area. In addition, there is the classic division into genres such as thriller , science fiction and romance, which reflect the diversity of the medium's content. Genres have also emerged which are specific to the medium or to Japan and which do not exist in other comic cultures. These include stories about games, hobbies or other leisure activities, for example series that introduce young people to traditional Japanese culture such as calligraphy and tea ceremonies , series of the sports genre , pachinko and mah-jongg manga . Rekishi manga and especially Jidai-geki deal with Japanese history . Some genres deal with aspects of everyday life, for example Ikuji manga is about raising children and the gourmet genre is about food and cooking. Salaryman manga , in the form of comedies and dramas, deal with the everyday working life of the average Japanese, who is also the target group of the genre, and a group of other series is similarly dedicated to craft, traditional or unusual professions. Often, as with stories about hobbies, the focus is on the career of a beginner and competition with colleagues and competitors. In the fantastic genres, specific sub-genres such as Magical Girl about girls (groups) who can transform themselves into fighters against evil, or Mecha as a sub-genre of science fiction with a focus on giant combat robots have emerged. Fantasy series are often influenced by the Japanese Shinto religion with its countless gods and demons, but also by the mythologies and legends of other Asian countries and Europe. Elements such as those found in adventure and role-playing games are also common.
The field of erotic stories is divided into pornographic hentai and more erotic etchi manga, although the use of the terms in Japan and abroad is different. Erotic stories and the relatively permissive treatment of sexuality in popular culture have a long tradition in Japan, so there were many such ukiyo-e, called shunga , in the Edo period . However, there were also times when such topics did not appear in the manga, which only changed from the 1950s, so that no direct connection can be made between Shunga and modern erotic manga. Special sub-genres are Yaoi and Yuri with homoerotic stories with men and women, respectively. Yaoi also forms the Boys Love Manga together with the romantic Shōnen Ai , the latter being the term used in Japan, while the other two have survived in the western market. The target group of homoerotic stories are usually not homosexual readers, but the opposite sex. In hentai as well as in etchi manga, as is common in Japanese eroticism, sex scenes are often embedded in a humorous or parodic narrative. Sexual violence and fetishes are discussed relatively often. Erotic and pornographic stories in Japan are strongly influenced by the legislation that arose under the American occupation, which made the representation of the adult genital area and other “offensive” content a criminal offense (Section 175 of the Japanese Criminal Code). This has been circumvented by many artists by showing the figures and their genitals in a childlike manner. Together with an ideal of desirable youth, naivety and innocence ( kawaii ), this promoted the emergence of many erotic and pornographic stories with childlike characters and the establishment of the Lolicon and Shotacon genres . Even when the interpretation of the law was relaxed, this tendency remained. Other ways to circumvent the censorship legislation are the use of bars or pixelation as in the film, omissions or symbolic images with fruits, animals and other things.
In addition to the series published in major magazines, there have also been alternative manga since the Second World War , in which styles, narrative means and topics are tried out that do not find a large audience. Yoshihiro Tatsumi founded the Gekiga at the end of the 1950s , which was aimed at an adult readership. This later went into the larger genre of his own. From the 1960s the magazines Garo and COM were platforms for independent artists, but only Garo was able to hold out for a long time - until 2002. There are also works similar to the underground comix in the West. However, the boundaries between “underground” and “mainstream” are becoming more blurred in Japan because the market is very large and unusual works and artists can also enable commercial success.
In addition to the purely fictional stories, there are mangas with factual stories as well as fictional narratives with educational and educational content, for example in the form of inserted explanations. In everyday Japanese life there are even manga as instructions for use or as information in public spaces. Mangas also repeatedly take up current social and political issues and events. This is how many artists and publishers reacted to the Kobe earthquake in 1995 and the Tōhoku earthquake in 2011 , the tsunami that followed and the reactor disaster . Old series on earthquakes and nuclear disasters have been reissued and new ones created that deal with the suddenly changed everyday life and the dangers of disaster. The preoccupation with politics and especially with the military - for which a separate genre has been established - is ambivalent. While several series around 1970 also had an impact on political discourse, concrete political criticism in mangas beyond general pacifist or ecological messages is rare today. Some series, however, follow the career path of politicians, as happens when portraying other professions. And while some mangas are critical of war and the military, there are also magazines whose series are devoted to technical or strategic perspectives and serve an audience of technology and military fans.
Artists and creation processes
Manga authors are called mangaka . The term was coined by Kitazawa Rakuten in 1909 . It is estimated that there are around 2,500 mangaka in Japan. Of these, however, only around 20% can make a living as professional draftsmen. In addition, there are a large number of amateur artists who publish outside of the publishers. While up until the 1960s almost exclusively men worked as manga artists, today many women are also active in the profession and are just as successful as their male colleagues. More often women create mangas for female audiences and men for male audiences. Editorial offices in all branches are mainly occupied by men. The entry barriers for an artist are low compared to other media, as they can work alone, without formal training and with little material expenditure. The way to work often leads through competitions and submissions to the magazines or artists are known enough through dōjinshi - self-published fan publications - that a publisher is aware of them. Working as an assistant for established mangaka also provides experience and practice in order to then create your own series. Quite a few of the assistants stay with this activity for a lifetime. The payment is usually linked to the page number. In the 1980s, an artist was paid $ 15 to $ 250 per page, with men and women paid roughly the same. During this time, some illustrators with an annual income of over 1 million dollars were among the best-earning Japanese: Shinji Mizushima , Fujio Fujiko and Akira Toriyama . The artists generate additional income from the sale of rights, since, unlike US comic artists, they usually retain the rights and do not sell them to publishers, as well as through commissioned work and, in the case of particularly well-known, advertising. The retention of the rights with the artists also means that a series is rarely continued by other artists and that most authors create many series and characters in the course of their careers.
Most draftsmen's work takes place under great time pressure and pressure to succeed, as the magazines appear in a fixed, sometimes weekly, rhythm and a new chapter has to be completed for each issue. Since the magazine quickly and a lot of feedback from readers reaches the publisher, the publisher can also decide promptly about the cancellation of a series. It is customary for a decision to continue the series 10 weeks after the start of the series. Some of the artists accept major personal and health restrictions. Long breaks in work are hardly possible. Successful artists often work on several series, through the weekends and only sleep four or five hours a day. If appointments have to be kept, nights are also worked through. In addition to the pressure from publishers, the general social pressure leads to high work ethics in Japan and the prestige of publishing as many series as possible at the same time, to this workload. As a rule, an artist therefore employs several assistants who carry out auxiliary work such as drawing backgrounds, inking the drawings or using grid foils. However, the interaction or involvement of the assistants varies greatly: while some draftsmen only let them do the post-processing and detailed work and do all the creative work themselves, others work, similar to film productions, with a team whose ideas flow into the work and which takes on parts independently. The assistants are not always employed draftsmen, but sometimes also friends or family members of the artists. In addition to often ten or more assistants, successful artists also employ a manager. Due to the required working speed, the use of aids such as raster film for area filling or prefabricated backgrounds is common.
The division of the main work into a draftsman (mangaka) and a scenarioist ( (manga) gensakusha ) is rare, but occurs more in series for young people. The scenarioists rarely achieve the same popularity as the illustrators. They are mainly hired by artists who, after an initial success, are expected to create more popular series. Younger artists in particular, however, lack the wealth of experience so that they can fall back on scenarios or other ideas. It is not uncommon for them to be the editors of the magazines for which the artists work. They select the content - topics, moods and styles - of the stories for the magazine and look for appropriate artists in order to achieve the desired mix in the magazine and thus address the target group. In addition, it is not uncommon for the editors to intervene in the development of the stories, maintain close contact with the draftsmen and ensure that deadlines are met. The magazine and its editors often have a significant influence on the content of a manga series that appears in it.
Forms of publication
In Japan, mangas appear in different forms:
- In newspapers and magazines, Yonkoma and similar comic strips appear among the other content .
- Manga magazines , the size of a telephone book, appear predominantly on a weekly or monthly basis , in which individual chapters of several series are summarized on 400 to 1000 pages. They are available for the equivalent of around three to five euros at the newsstand, have poor paper and print quality and are usually thrown away or given away after reading. The magazines are used by the publishers to determine the popularity of the new series or chapters with the public and other trends. In addition, questionnaires are enclosed that the reader can send back. Completed short stories or comic strips also appear between the chapters of the serial series. In addition, there are magazines that are primarily or exclusively devoted to these short narrative forms.
- Every several months paperbacks with dust jackets ( tankōbon ) appear , in which several chapters of a successful series that have previously appeared in the magazines are reissued in very good print quality for collection and storage. The books hold about 200 to 300 pages. They often contain bonus chapters that were not previously printed in the magazines. In addition to the normal edition, limited special editions are also published, which are enclosed with exclusive figures or merchandising articles for the respective series.
- Since the early 2000s, there has been an increasing possibility of reading manga in digital form on mobile devices for a fee. For this purpose, the image sequences are divided up to suit the screen and in some cases also prepared using technical effects (e.g. use of the pager function in action scenes); some manga series are offered exclusively for mobile phones. Due to the low download costs of 40 to 60 yen (about 25 to 40 cents) per story and the constant availability, the market developed quickly. In 2009 one of the providers already sold over 10 million individual chapters per month and since then the offers have also been expanded to markets outside of Japan.
Selling points are kiosks as well as bookshops and specialty shops as well as Konbini open around the clock . There are also machines that sell magazines. Manga Kissa cafés with mangas available for reading have existed since the early 1990s .
As dōjinshi or Dojin is called by fans drawn unofficial sequels or alternative stories about famous anime or manga or games. In Japan they are often published by specialist small publishers or on their own initiative. Although they almost always violate copyrights by exploiting the protected original material, publishers and artists almost never take action against it. Instead, the interaction of fans with the works is an essential part of media use. In addition, many of his own creations are published on the dojinshi market.
While fewer than 50 manga magazines sold a total of 78 million copies in Japan in 1967, there were 1,890 million copies of 260 manga magazines in 1994 and 1,260 million copies sold in 2006. Shōnen Jump , the most successful magazine, has, like most others, experienced a steady decline in sales since 1997: In the mid-1990s it was still six million copies per week - in 2015 it was 2.4 million. In previous years, the major magazines more frequently lost 10% or more of their circulation per year. In second place after Shōnen Jump is the Weekly Shōnen Magazine with around 1 million copies sold per week. In 2017, the children's magazine CoroCoro Comic (780,000), the Seinen magazines Young Jump and Big Comic (around 500,000 each), the Shōjo magazine Ciao (450,000) and the Josei magazines For Mrs. and Elegance Eva ( 150,000).
Individual volumes of successful series usually have first editions of 300,000 to 500,000. Volume 56 of the One Piece series currently holds the record : at the beginning of December 2009, a first edition of 2.85 million copies was delivered, for which the Shueisha- Verlag advertised with a nine-page newspaper advertisement. By 2017, the following series had sold over 100 million copies in Japan (sum of sales of all volumes):
- One Piece (ongoing): 360 million copies
- Detective Conan (ongoing): 200 million copies
- Golgo 13 (ongoing): 200 million copies
- Dragon Ball (completed, 42 volumes): 157 million copies
- Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari-kōen Mae Hashutsujo (short form Kochikame , completed, 200 volumes): 156 million copies
- Naruto (completed, 72 volumes): 135 million copies
- Oishimbo (ongoing): 130 million copies
- Slam Dunk (completed, 31 volumes): 120 million copies
- Doraemon (completed, 45 volumes): 100 million copies
- Astro Boy (completed, 23 volumes): 100 million copies
- JoJo no Kimyō na Bōken (ongoing): 100 million copies
- Touch (completed, 26 volumes): 100 million copies
Golgo 13 (started 1968) and Kochikame (1976-2016) are also among the longest uninterrupted manga series and among those with the largest number of edited volumes.
Interaction with other media
Manga is often marketed in conjunction with anime series and movies , video games , toys , radio plays and other media. A successful manga series can gain reach and thus further popularity through the adaptations or even be changed in terms of content in order to support other parts of the media network that were more successful. Manga also appear as adaptations of other media. The interactions in the marketing chain enable publishers to reduce risks. At the same time, they urge conformity and can slow down innovations because they have not yet been tested on the market. In successful series, the adaptation chain is sometimes repeated several times, i.e. both re-adapted and the adaptations re-implemented as a manga - for example as a spin-off - which in turn is followed by implementations in other media. In the course of time the marketing got faster and faster. When the first films were made in the 1960s, years passed between the first publication of the manga and the adaptation. Already with Dr. Slump 1980 was only six months between the first chapter of the manga and the premiere of the first film. Due to the numerous adaptations, mangas have had a significant impact on Japanese cinema and television.
Comparable to American comic book adaptations, there have been increasing efforts in the Japanese film industry since the turn of the millennium to implement mangas as real films or series; Examples are Touch , Ichi the Killer , Oldboy or Uzumaki . More and more Japanese directors grew up with manga, and the progress in trick technology now enables the adaptation of even the most complex scenes. In addition, with a manga implementation, the fans of the original work can also be reached without much advertising effort. The most successful live-action films of Manga include the television series for Great Teacher Onizuka (1998), the last episode of which had the highest ratings ever achieved in a series finals on Japanese television, and the film for Nana (2005), which had grossed approximately 29 million euros came fifth among the most successful Japanese films of the year. With Death Note (2006), a manga implementation was designed for the first time as a two-part theatrical version.
Beyond adaptations, mangas also had an impact on the Japanese game industry. Many games take up style elements from the manga and text-based adventure games are usually provided with illustrations similar to a manga, so that they can be understood as a technical further development of the graphic narrative medium. In terms of content and genre, Japanese games often borrow from the manga.
Since the 1990s, contemporary Japanese art has increasingly grappled with the aesthetics of mangas, also reinforced by their continued international popularity. At the beginning of the 2000s there was a temporary boom in this dispute, which dominated the Japanese art scene, large exhibitions and catalogs. References to well-known manga series or their characters, typical designs, simplification and cuteness or sequential elements are taken up. In this context, also appeared Superflat Manifesto of Takashi Murakami in which it is a tradition "flattened" Japanese pop art with roots in the postulated Edo period. This manga-related trend replaced the previous engagement with Zen minimalism, abstraction and action art in Japanese art.
There are also connections to other media among the artists. Many mangaka are enthusiastic about films or watch many films to gather inspiration. Some of them also say that they wanted to go into the film industry first. In the past, many less successful - and some successful - manga artists have later switched to film or prose. Some are also active in both fields. So Hayao Miyazaki Although known as an anime director, but also created some manga series. Finally, it also happens more often that writers write scenarios for manga or their works are adapted as manga. In addition, mangas have influenced Japanese literature, both in terms of content and style. Finally, the light novel emerged from the mix of manga and prose in Japan : entertainment novels for a young target group with some illustrations in the typical Manga style.
Manga in Japan
Market and economic factor
Manga are one of the main pillars of Japanese publishing. For many years this division has accounted for a third of all print products in Japan. Unlike in other countries, the comic book market in Japan consists almost exclusively of domestic productions. In addition to the market for publishers, there is also a market for fan publications, for which no precise figures can be obtained, but which also generates large sums of money. In contrast, the collector's market is of less importance than in other countries.
In 1978, the manga industry had sales of 184.1 billion yen . At the height of the manga magazine market in 1995, the industry turned over 586 billion yen. Statistically, every Japanese person bought 15 manga per year. While magazines generated the majority of sales for a long time - two thirds of sales in 2002 - a new trend emerged from the turn of the millennium: While in 2004 total revenues for magazines were around 255 billion yen and for paperbacks around 250 billion Yen, magazine revenue fell to 242 billion yen in 2005 (about 70% of 1995 revenue), while paperback revenue rose to 260.2 billion yen. In 2016 paperbacks at 194.7 billion yen made up around two thirds of the print manga market of 296.3 billion yen. At the same time, magazines, even those with the highest sales, were never particularly profitable, but always instruments for testing the series. The publishers only make profits with paperbacks and further marketing. This combination of magazines as market openers and paperbacks as profit makers is seen as one reason for the medium's economic success in the second half of the 20th century. The reasons for the decline in sales since the 1990s are the long-lasting economic crisis and competition from new entertainment products such as computer games, the Internet and smartphones. In addition, the Japanese population as a whole is aging and shrinking, reducing the number of children, teenagers and young adults that are particularly important for manga. In addition, more manga are borrowed or bought second-hand than in the 1990s, so that fewer copies are sold for the same number of readers.
Although the print market continues to lose importance, this has been absorbed since 2014 by the rapidly growing digital market such as manga e-books, so that the manga market has stabilized at around 450 billion yen. In 2017, sales of digitally sold series exceeded that of paperbacks for the first time.
Source: The All Japan Magazine and Book Publisher's and Editor's Association (AJPEA), 1978–2011 (data read graphically with an accuracy of ± 1%), 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014–2017. Data for digital before 2014 not shown.
The market is dominated by a few large publishers; Kōdansha , Shōgakukan and Shūeisha (a 50% subsidiary of Shōgakukan) generate around 70% of sales, while many small and medium-sized publishers split the rest. The more important medium-sized publishers include Hakusensha , Akita Shoten , ASCII Media Works (part of Kadokawa since 2013), Square Enix , Kadokawa Shoten , Ōzora Shuppan , Futabasha and Shōnen Gahōsha . Smaller publishers often specialize in certain genres or target groups.
Since the rise of digital distribution in the 2000s, manga have also been distributed more frequently and illegally internationally. Artists and publishers increasingly see this as an economic threat. New business models such as increased offers of legal digital manga as well as free provision in the case of financing through advertising or the sale of merchandising are opposed to this, but without always being able to achieve satisfactory financial results. In contrast to musicians, the artists themselves hardly have the opportunity to earn money through live performances. The digital, illegal distribution is also promoted by readers who scan their manga for better storage for their own use, but then make them accessible to others.
In contrast to many other countries in which comics are regarded as pure children's and young people's literature or only as an entertainment medium, comics in Japan are recognized as a medium and art form with equal rights. They are consumed by people from all social groups. Commuters or business people reading comics are nothing unusual, even politicians up to prime ministers cite Mangalese as a hobby or use Mangas as a medium. The public space is a common place to receive manga magazines or anthologies, especially when driving to work. In addition, there is a large culture of exchange (“mawashiyomi”), so that many volumes pass through several hands, and Manga Kissa - cafés with mangas on display - are popular places for inexpensive reading. Tachiyomi (“reading while standing”) is forbidden by sellers, but is common - reading manga in the shop window without buying them.
Manga in Japan, like other media, also reflect social values and developments. The samurai traditions of Bushidō have found expression in the Shōnen manga. At the same time, the way these values are dealt with is constantly changing - from the glorification of war to the portrayal of personal dramas against a historical background or the transfer of values to sport and work. On the other hand, manga series themselves have had an influence on other media, art forms and Japanese culture for many decades thanks to their general recognition as an art form and widespread use.
The aesthetic of manga is so widely accepted and prevalent in Japanese culture that it is often used not only for manga itself, but also for signs, illustrations, and advertising characters. Both established characters from well-known manga series and characters created especially for advertising serve as advertising media. There are also products that result from the marketing of successful series. The strategy behind the use of the manga aesthetic outside of the series, and especially in instructions and signs, is to use iconic signs and figures to convey orientation and make complicated processes understandable. As a rule, it is not about overcoming language barriers, as the illustrations are almost only viewed by Japanese and are provided with Japanese text.
The success of manga in Japan is often explained by the fact that literacy was high for a long time, that television was introduced relatively late or that there are many commuters in the big cities who read manga on the way. Jason Thompson explains the success more with the ability of the writers to tell very long stories that sweep their readers away and with a greater focus of attention and copyrights on the artists rather than on franchises, which at the same time leads to strong competition among artists. Frederik Schodt sees a reason for the success of the comics in the pressure to perform in Japan from middle school and life in densely populated cities. This leads to the fact that many are looking for a leisure activity that can be consumed quickly and briefly and without disturbance by others, can be taken anywhere and at the same time offers the opportunity to escape from the stressful, less motivating everyday life, like Paul Gravett describes. In contrast to the United States, the comics scene in Japan has also managed to withstand the censorship efforts that have existed since the 1950s - especially from teachers 'and parents' associations - both politically and economically. Others also attribute the success of the medium to Japanese peculiarities: In Japan, for example, the font, which consists of a large number of originally pictorial symbols and the long tradition of stylizing or caricaturing painting, has an affinity for correspondingly symbolic representations and pictorial narration. Immediately after his death in particular, Osamu Tezuka, personally, his commitment and the large scope and diversity of his work, was credited with a large share in the success of the medium. The cultural historian Tomafusa Kure assumed that mangas had taken the place of literature in Japan after literature had become more and more intellectual in the 20th century, had concentrated on psychological states and had thus lost many readers.
There has been criticism of the manga medium in Japan since the 1950s, when comics were at the center of social media criticism in the USA and Europe as well. The widespread criticism in Western countries that mangas prevent children from learning to read correctly was only rarely raised. On the other hand, there is a very high literacy rate of around 99% in Japan. And because of the early distinction between target groups of different ages, criticism from parents and educators in Japan had little echo. Only after sexual representations increased in publications for young people and children in the 1980s did the criticism intensify. It culminated in the debate following the case of the so-called otaku killer Tsutomu Miyazaki , who killed four girls in 1989 and was an anime and manga fan. This led to a discussion about a connection between the media and violence. In this, however, it is also stated that in Japan, with its very high consumption of manga, there is one of the lowest rates of crime, especially violent crime, and therefore no connection between the two is evident. It is also argued that the large availability of sexual and violent content, including through manga, tends to lead to fewer acts of violence being committed. The relationship of the Japanese media and society to sexualized and violent representations, the interpretation of the relevant laws and their balancing with artistic freedom is still unclear. There were similar discussions about the connection of Manga to the sect Ōmu Shinrikyō , which carried out a poison gas attack in Japan and whose founder was influenced in his ideology by science fiction series.
Also in the early 1990s there was a campaign against the stereotypical portrayal of Africans and African-Americans in manga. The stereotypes with origins in colonialism, slavery and racism were barely noticed or used carelessly in a humorous way. These were now perceived more internationally by minority representatives, but partly in a distorted form due to selection and lack of language skills. As a result of the debate, some stories were redrawn or older works were commented on, and editors and draftsmen subsequently became more aware of the problem, but also fear of being exposed to unjustified criticism and therefore the complete avoidance of African or Afro-American characters.
Fan scene and research
Paul Gravett observed several groups in the readership of mangas: in addition to most readers who read only occasionally and only watch a few series, there is a significantly smaller group of fans of the medium and within these the particularly active group of the otaku , as well as particularly obsessed ones Fans are sometimes mentioned. There is also a market for collectors of rare manga editions, which is, however, significantly smaller than the collector scene in the USA - also because most of the series are reissued over and over again. Since the emergence of the scene in the 1980s, otaku have been branded by society and the media as troubled couch potatoes and deliberately set themselves apart from society - also in response to this. For fans who collect a particularly large number of series and can no longer store all the books, a service called jisui is increasingly being offered: a company scans books for customers, which they then only keep as digital copies.
A strong fan scene has developed since the 1970s, which has significant overlaps with that of anime. Fans are often creative themselves. Popular forms are fanart , fanfiction and dōjinshi , although the publishers in Japan usually tolerate that copyrights are violated in the self-published sequels or alternative stories by fans. Events are also organized by fans: The Comic Market (also known as 'Comiket'), which has taken place in Tokyo twice a year since 1975 , is not only the largest dōjin fair in Japan, but also the largest comic event in Japan with 35,000 exhibitors and over 500,000 visitors World. The creative fan scene, in which not only adaptations of well-known works are created but also own creations and aspiring artists publish their first works, is dominated by young women. This is also due to the fact that in Japanese society there is greater pressure on men to study and get a job quickly, so that they have fewer opportunities for time-consuming hobbies. Cosplay - dressing up as a character from a manga series - is a popular hobby in the fan scene. This extends to cosplay cafes where the waitress is costumed.
Research on the manga and a scene of critics could not develop in spite of widespread dissemination and social recognition until the 1990s. The comic strips alone had received some attention from researchers and critics since the 1960s. The first museum that dealt extensively with manga and specifically collected it was the Kawasaki City Museum , which opened in 1989 . The Japanese Society for Art History held a first symposium on manga in 1998; In 2001, the Japanese Society for Manga Studies (Nihon Manga Gakkai) was established and holds annual conferences. A first course was created in 2006 at the Seika University in Kyoto , others followed. In the same year the Kyōto International Manga Museum opened . So far, the research field has focused on historical considerations of the medium as well as specific aspects of visual language and narration. In addition, sociological topics such as the connection between genres and gender or subcultures were examined.
Prizes and awards
The most important prizes awarded in the manga sector include the oldest award, the Shogakukan Manga Prize for the best manga, established by the publisher of the same name in 1956 , as well as the Kodansha Manga Prize , which has been awarded since 1977, and that of the Asahi Shimbun newspaper since 1997 Osamu Tezuka Culture Prize awarded annually in four categories for outstanding draftsmen and people or institutions who have made a special contribution to the manga.
More recently, awards have also been given by political and cultural institutions. These are the International Manga Award from the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Japan Media Arts Award from the Japanese Department of Culture and the GAIMAN Award given by several museums. In addition, mangas in Japan are repeatedly awarded literary prizes.
General development and effect
The international spread of manga was promoted by the previous success of anime, Japanese animated films. As with the story of the manga itself, Osamu Tezuka played an important role here too, as the film adaptations of his manga series he produced had great success abroad. The proliferation of anime series, particularly in the 1990s, eventually led to the fact that the stylistic features of manga became familiar to a young audience and they became more open to the medium. In addition, these series were closely linked to merchandising products such as toys, in the wake of which the manga series were also marketed. The previous popularization of anime, especially in the 1990s, also had the consequence that after the selective perception of some pornographic anime as "the anime", the prejudice of a sexualized, potentially dangerous medium was also transferred to manga. The use of the Manga aesthetic in advertising for erotic offers in the nightly television program also gave a boost. The prejudice of a medium permeated by violence and sex, and at the same time childish, had existed since the 1960s, when the first reports of Japanese comics in the West took out sensational examples. Paul Gravett also attributes this to the common prejudice of an immature Japan in need of leadership that was widespread in the United States in the post-war period. Even during the beginning of international popularization in the 1990s, prejudices were reinforced by the selective presentation of either particularly child-friendly or avant-garde, disturbing works. Manga was also not very popular among Japanese audiences, as the medium was perceived as a contrast to Japanese high and court culture such as tea ceremonies and garden art, as hedonistic, rebellious pop culture. The perception as a dangerous medium was also favored by the fact that the film adaptations, which appeared internationally and were positively received at an early stage, were not perceived as Japanese or anime by a younger audience. Through synchronization and genre selection - culturally neutral science fiction and fantasy content were preferred - the Japanese origins remained largely hidden. This also contributed to the rapid success of anime, on the other hand, the reading direction for manga was a hurdle. Therefore, the licensed editions were often mirrored at first. The specific dominance of images over text, the archetypal symbolic design of the characters and the cinematic narrative style, on the other hand, make the manga medium easy to understand internationally. The same applies to the highly stylized character designs that are not recognizable as Japanese and the diversity of content, which also offers a large number of works without references to Japanese culture. However, internationally - in contrast to the situation in Japan itself - almost only the story manga is known and widespread.
The success of manga outside of Japan, and especially with the generation of the 1980s and 1990s, is often explained by its otherness, which serves to differentiate it from other cultural products and the parent generation. However, the style of manga was not so alien to this generation, as they had already become familiar with it through anime series. In addition, the series that were successful in the 1990s were created for a younger audience, offer characters with whom readers can easily identify, and invite creative exploration in the form of fanart. The rapidly growing fan scene also contributed to the attractiveness of the medium. With the international popularization of the media, the aesthetics of manga and anime also found dissemination, acceptance and approval beyond the consumers of Japanese works, so that it was also taken up in non-Japanese productions. There was also a greater interest in other aspects of Japanese culture, especially in the fan scene, but also beyond. In some youth cultures, a Japanese fashion has emerged since the 2000s, so that Japan has greater influence here than the United States , which was the role model in the past . Manga, together with Anime, became a cultural ambassador for Japan under the catchphrase Cool Japan , in the context of which other aspects of Japanese culture are to be conveyed and which have become an object and means of Japanese foreign policy. The International Manga Prize launched in 2007 by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs also serves this purpose .
One of the most important means of dissemination was the Internet, through which information about the medium and then increasingly also translated series became easily accessible. These so-called scanlations , like the copies circulating in the fan scene before, were illegal, but this distribution played a major role in the popularization and ultimately also the commercial success of manga outside of Japan. The increasingly easier accessibility and volume of illegal copies in the course of the 2000s is, however, also made responsible for some market fluctuations, such as in the USA, and, unlike in Japan, accounts for a considerable proportion of consumption. On the other hand, many series are only released very late, slowly or never outside of Japan and therefore illegal copies are often the only possible access. Many scanlation groups are also tolerated by the publishers as they withdraw their fan translations and call for purchases as soon as the series is officially released to the target audience. Scanlations have also put pressure on publishers to publish manga as true to the original as possible and were role models, for example, in the unchanged adoption of onomatopoeia and Japanese salutations in translations. This helped give many manga releases in the west a more exotic character rather than being adapted to the domestic audience.
Manga has made comics in the West, which were previously aimed almost exclusively at male readers, attractive to a female audience and thus opened up a much larger readership for the medium. The female part of the fan scene is often much more creative in the form of fanart . In a study in 2002, Timothy Perper and Martha Cornog opposed criticism expressed in part in the West that mangas are sexist, belittle women or glorify rape. After evaluating all the works published in English in three years, they found that mangas were by no means misogynistic, but on the contrary had diverse feminist qualities and had a positive attitude towards sexuality, but exercised resistance to the sexual assault that they depict. The interculturally connectable and transferable style features and narrative strategies of the Manga were taken up in the established international fan scenes, in which works were created that were inspired by the Japanese models. In this way, various international "offshoots" were created, which often identify more strongly with manga than with the respective national comic culture. Aspects of Japanese comics that were closely related to Japanese culture were lost and stylistic features were globalized. This was supported by the success of how-to-draw manga guides that have disseminated and standardized these features outside of Japan.
In general, manga, along with anime, can be seen as an example of cultural globalization that did not come from the West. In the process of the dissemination of manga, both global homogenization and heterogenization become apparent, as parts of Japanese culture have an impact on the world, but are themselves often alienated from their origins and culturally adapted. In a second step, these imported aspects are integrated into local comic cultures. In addition, manga counteracts the cultural dominance of the United States, although this effect hardly extends beyond the cultural realm of comics.
Compared to America and Europe, Japanese comics enjoyed early success in East Asia and quickly spread , particularly in South Korea , Taiwan and Hong Kong . However, many of the publications were initially unlicensed, so no money was paid to the authors. It was only with the decline in sales in Japan that Japanese publishers and the government put pressure in neighboring countries to combat illegal publications and obtain licenses. The series continued to be popular and provided publishers with additional income. The reasons given for the rapid success of manga in neighboring Japan - mostly against the local censorship and social resistance - are the good legibility and superiority of layout and narrative techniques and the cultural proximity. This proximity is accompanied by easier identification with content and characters. Added to this is the often greater freedom of content than with local productions, especially with regard to humor, sex and violence, and thus a higher entertainment value. In addition, the translation is easier, as mirroring is usually not necessary.
Manga are so successful in Taiwan that most of the major Japanese magazines appear here too. At the same time, the country has long been one of the countries with the highest number of illegal copies - the largest of these publishers was Tong Li Publishing , which published over 1,000 works without a license. Manga was politically undesirable because of the Japanese colonial rule over Taiwan and was therefore subject to censorship. However, this was hardly effective because of the illegal copies and, despite the restrictions, Taiwan was a springboard for the further distribution of manga to other countries in East Asia. Mangas have shaped the comic market in Taiwan and the local comic culture since the 1950s. At times this was accepted by the censorship authorities, later anti-Japanese currents were used to promote domestic comics. In the 1990s, a licensing market developed into which most of the previous pirate publishers entered.
Japanese comics had an early influence on Korea, as many Japanese products came to the country during the Japanese colonial rule and there was a lively exchange. After the liberation in 1945, however, Japanese products were outlawed and their import and distribution were prohibited by law for a long time. Nevertheless, from the 1950s onwards, more and more manga series came to South Korea as unlicensed copies, where they were often distributed without an indication of the origin or author or with Korean authors. The copies officially passed through the Korean censorship were often copied from the Japanese original by Korean draftsmen. The unlicensed market reached its peak in the 1980s, before the ban on Japanese products was relaxed and license agreements were concluded in 1990. It was for the first time ever known that many of the popular series were of Japanese origin, which led to nationalist criticism and concerns about too much Japanese influence. Mangas have been criticized for depicting violence and sexuality and portrayed as having a bad influence on Korean children. At the same time, a magazine and paperback market based on the Japanese model developed, on which local artists were increasingly able to gain a foothold. As a result of the criticism of manga, the South Korean government has since been promoting the national comic industry, the Manhwa, more strongly . The strong Japanese influences on these are socially controversial or even denied because of the rejection of Japanese culture.
Mangas came to China via copies from Taiwan and Hong Kong. But the first influences of Japanese comics already existed in the 1920s. These and Japanese influences in Hong Kong in the 1960s gave rise to Manhua , the Chinese comic. The illegal copying market, which was booming in the city at the same time, functioned similarly to Taiwan and Korea and was replaced by a licensing market in the 1990s. At the same time, simple work in the manga industry was outsourced from Japan to cartoonists in China, which led to a renewed influence of the manga on local comic culture, including a greater variety of genres based on the Japanese model. The largest publisher in the market, both for imports and in-house productions, is Jade Dynasty Group. The first manga officially published in China were Astro Boy and Kimba from 1981 . The states of Southeast Asia followed the spread of mangas in China and Taiwan. Mangas were the most popular comics in Singapore in the late 1990s. There, in Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia, as in the neighboring countries of Japan, illegal copies initially spread on a large scale before licensed publications followed. In each of the countries, mangas dominate the comic book markets.
In the United States, manga imports have long had problems with the established comic culture. Not only did it have to develop an understanding of the other styles and narrative styles, but comics were firmly linked to superheroes and the target group of collectors and male youths, and two publishers dominate the market. It took many attempts before successful marketing channels and target groups for manga were found. Japanese comics were therefore initially only known to a small group in the United States from the 1970s: fans of Japanese animated films or people of Japanese origin. The first translated manga published in the USA was Barefoot through Hiroshima , which was privately published in 1978 by a fan-translator group operating in San Francisco and Tokyo, but was discontinued after a short time. Two short stories by Shinobu Kaze found wider circulation soon afterwards : his ten-page story Violence Becomes Tranquility appeared in the comic magazine Heavy Metal in March 1980 , and the six-page story Heart And Steel in February 1982 in the magazine epic . In 1982 there was an attempt to publish the short story I Saw It , also by Barefoot-Through-Hiroshima creator Keiji Nakazawa, and in May 1985 several short stories by artists from the Japanese magazine Garo were published in the avant-garde magazine RAW , published by Art Spiegelman . In the same year, the Mangazine , an American magazine that was devoted to fan comics in the style of manga, was published for the first time. With the increasing popularity of the manga, the OEL Manga (“Original English Language Manga”) developed into its own market segment. Mangas have also had an impact on the American comics scene since the 1980s - Art Spiegelman and Frank Miller were inspired by the medium. From May 1987 First Comics published the manga series Lone Wolf & Cub , the first volumes of which had to be reprinted after a short time due to the great sales success. In the same year Eclipse Comics and Viz brought out the manga series Kamui , Mai the Psychic Girl and Area 88 as bi-weekly comic books. Viz was founded as an offshoot of the Japanese publisher Shogakukan and is still active in the market as Viz Media . In 1988, Marvel Comics followed with the release of Akira , which became a trailblazer for manga and anime worldwide. In the following time Dark Horse became the largest manga publisher in the US alongside Viz.
The first mangas in the USA were enlarged to match the other comic publications on album format and mirrored to the western reading direction. In this phase, most of the manga characters were apparently left-handed and Japanese characters on signs and posters were printed the wrong way round. In the mid-1990s, the first fan and specialist magazines appeared, as well as more and more mangas for those interested in Japan or students, the number of which increased at the same time as anime and manga spread. Sales were still in comic book stores. That only changed with the success of Sailor Moon from 1997, which also led to the publication of more mangas for a female audience. The publisher Mixx Entertainment played a large part in it, under its new name Tokyopop , and became one of the largest manga publishers in the USA. 2004 came Del Rey Manga , which entered into a partnership with Kōdansha . Panorama of Hell was published by Blast Books in 1989 as the first manga volume in the original Japanese reading direction , but it was only Tokyopop that started publishing manga series in 2002 without a mirror. Instead of mirroring, however, other adjustments are made again and again if the representations are too violent or too sexualized according to American ideas. Again and again, this has to do with the fact that the United States is targeting a younger audience than Japan.
In 2005, the North American manga market had sales of approximately € 125 million to € 145 million, and among the top 100 best-selling volumes of comic books in the United States, 80 were manga volumes. Mangas were the fastest growing segment of American publishing. At the end of the 2000s, however, sales in the USA fell again: from 2007 to 2009, the number of sales shrank by 30 to 40%. This is seen as the consolidation of an overused market and the result of an oversupply - the manga medium itself remained popular and did not disappear, and the fan scene has actually grown since then.
As the first manga in Europe, Bushido Muzanden appeared in serial chapters in a French martial arts magazine from 1969 to 1971. From 1978 onwards, the French-language magazine Le Cri Qui Tue from Switzerland was the first European manga magazine to appear. The first manga published in Spanish was the gekiga short story Good-Bye by Yoshihiro Tatsumi in 1980 issue No. 5 of the underground comic magazine "El Víbora". The magazine published more stories by this illustrator over the next few years. The first series in Spanish was Candy Candy Corazón from 1984 , which was also published in Italy with great success. Science fiction series by Go Nagai and Leiji Matsumoto followed in France, Spain and Italy. In general, it was the Italian and Spanish comic markets that were the first in Europe to open up to the manga on a larger scale. Mangas first had success in Spain, where they quickly followed the success of anime television series in the 1980s. Shōnen and his series such as Crying Freeman and City Hunter appeared in rapid succession . Several new publishers and short-lived fan magazines emerged. Today the market is served by three large and several small, highly specialized publishers. Manga sales also picked up speed in Italy during the 1990s. The magazines Mangazine and Zero appeared , which brought out several series, later other magazines followed. Here, too, mangas for the male audience dominated and new, specialized publishers emerged. At the end of the decade, the Japanese paperback format appeared as well as a greater variety of content. Italy was the largest European sales market for manga before it was replaced by France around 2000. 10 to 13 publishers publish manga in Italy and sell up to 150,000 copies ( Dragon Ball ) or 75,000 copies ( Inu Yasha , One Piece ) per volume of bestsellers .
In 1990, Glénat began publishing Akira in French . But in the following years the big publishers held back because there were still reservations in society and in the industry about the manga, which was considered violent. That changed slowly from 1993 onwards, when the demand for the anime series that had been on French television for several years grew. From 1994 and 1995, Édition Tonkam and Pika, as specialized publishers, brought a greater variety to the French manga range. Attempts to establish manga magazines based on the Japanese model failed after a short time. Nevertheless, the manga share in the French comic book market rose from 10% in 2001 to 37% in 2008 and the country became the largest market for manga in Europe with 37 manga publishers at times. The bestseller Naruto sold 220,000 copies per volume. The market in neighboring Belgium has also grown steadily since the 1990s. Similar to France, many more demanding titles for an adult audience, for example by Jirō Taniguchi , are published here. Since 2003, mangas have enjoyed so much acceptance in the Franco-Belgian region that they are regularly awarded comic prizes.
In all Western European countries, the success of Manga went hand in hand with crises in the national comic markets in the 1980s and 1990s, triggered by the emergence of private television or stagnation in terms of content and publishing. The UK manga market developed later than most other European countries. While in 2001 around 100,000 manga volumes were sold with a total turnover of 2 million euros, in 2005 there were almost 600,000 volumes with a total turnover of 7.6 million euros. Most mangas in Great Britain are still imported from the USA, the first British manga publisher was founded in August 2005, the second in 2006. However, Manga Entertainment had been an anime distributor in the UK since 1991 , which also includes mangas published.
Mangas came to Russia as early as the 1980s through Soviet diplomats, and a small fan scene emerged that obtained copies of Japanese comics through often illegal channels. Only in 2005 was released by the publisher Sakura Press with Ranma ½ of the first licensed manga in Russia. In the same year, the first mangas came out in Poland, which were exposed to great social criticism. In 2010 the segment made up 70% of the Polish comic book market and is served by two Polish publishers and Egmont . In the countries of Northern Europe, individual publishers were set up, but not all of them could last long. The markets are therefore also served by international publishers and their local subsidiaries.
From 2000 the artistic influence of the manga on the European cartoonists increased. Frederic Boilet, who had already worked with Japanese draftsmen, proclaimed the Nouvelle Manga movement in 2001 . The exchange with Japanese artists should be intensified, learned from the Japanese storytelling techniques and the diversity of content and target groups, and the differences between the national comic traditions should be eliminated. Since then, many French artists have incorporated Manga stylistic devices into their work. The term Euromanga arose for these works.
The term “Manga” as the name for Hokusai's works has been used in German-language art literature since the end of the 19th century, mostly in the now outdated spelling “Mangwa”. The first and at the same time negative use of the word “Manga” for Japanese comics in German-language media can be found in a special supplement to the magazine stern from 1977: “(…) The“ Mangas ”, strip magazines with sadisms, have the highest editions when they look at them probably even the old Marquis de Sade could have learned something new ”. The first manga publications in Germany, first Barefoot through Hiroshima in 1982 - a picture story against the war by Keiji Nakazawa published by Rowohlt Verlag , had little or no success, although they were adapted to Western reading habits in terms of reading direction, publication form and sometimes also color. Thus Akira indeed mirrored in 1991 and colored in albums released, but was no more than a moderate success.
The breakthrough for Manga in Germany came at the end of 1996 with the unreflected series Dragonball by Carlsen Verlag. Publication in the original reading direction was specified by the licensor, but it turned out to be advantageous and became the standard for manga publications in Germany: The Japanese reading direction emphasizes authenticity, distinguishes it from the rest of the comic book and lowers the costs for publishers who do this pass them on to the reader in the form of lower prices. Since then, most of the volumes have attached short instructions for reading from right to left on the last page or the first page in western reading direction. Meanwhile, the largest German manga publishers Carlsen Manga , Egmont Manga , Tokyopop , Planet Manga and Kazé Germany publish over 800 manga volumes annually.
The development of the manga boom in Germany can be seen, for example, in the turnover figures of Carlsen Verlag: While the publisher sold manga for almost 400,000 euros in 1995, its manga turnover in 2000 was over four million euros and in 2002 over 16 Million Euros. In 2005 the gross manga sales in Germany were 70 million euros. Egmont Manga and Anime (EMA) was the market leader with annual sales of 15 million euros; in 2006, according to GfK figures, Carlsen Comics was just ahead of EMA (38%) with a market share of 41%. The segment comprised around 70% of the German comics market in that year and became the third most important market for manga in Europe. From the 2000s onwards, sales ran not only through specialist and magazine retailers, but also through most bookstores. The offer is often placed close to books for young people and the success also helped other specifically Japanese narrative forms such as light novels to come to Germany. The positive development of the market will continue into 2010 as well. Manga sales rose by almost 15% from 2014 to 2015, while the book market as a whole contracted. The German comic industry is like no other in Western Europe dependent on the manga.
Although the publications are almost always not mirrored, they are sometimes changed in other ways or material that has already been changed is taken from the USA in order to meet other ideas about the representability of sex and violence or to prevent criticism. Swastics , which are a common symbol of good luck in East Asia, are usually removed because they are associated with National Socialism in Germany . Mangas are published in Germany almost exclusively in the form of paperback books (mostly in the Japanese tankōbon format). The attempt to establish monthly manga magazines based on the Japanese model in Germany failed at the beginning of the 21st century after a few years: The magazines Manga Power and Manga Twister became due to insufficient sales and Banzai! discontinued due to licensing problems. Daisuki magazine lasted until May 2012.
According to a large-scale survey from 2005, the Manga readership was essentially between 14 and 25 years old, only 12% older than 25. However, this small section of older fans played a major role in the establishment of the scene, for example in the founding of magazines, Events and platforms. 70% of the respondents were female. Women also make up the vast majority of the self-creative part of the fan scene. Thematic and aesthetic interests are extraordinarily broad, even if fantastic subjects predominate, and respondents named a wide range of favorite works. When asked about the first manga read, Dragonball and Sailor Moon stand out.
After the comic market in Germany recorded declining sales with steadily rising prices since the 1980s, this trend was broken by the success of Manga in the 1990s. The favorable form of publication and the new content appealed to a broader, younger and, for the first time, more female audience. Since the turn of the millennium, manga have had their own exhibition areas at established German literary events such as the Frankfurt Book Fair and the Leipzig Book Fair . The segment became - in connection with cosplay - one of the crowd pullers of the trade fairs and brings them many young visitors. At the Sondermann Prize of the Frankfurt Book Fair, there were at times two categories for manga - national and international - and manga drawing competitions were created looking for German artists inspired by the manga. Since the beginning of the 2000s, a number of German artists who come from the Manga fan scene and who take up Manga-typical styles, narrative strategies, topics and genres in their works, have also established themselves.
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- Virtual Manga Museum ( Memento from May 30, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
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