From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
The first comic books in Japan appeared during the 18th century in the form of woodblock- printed booklets containing short stories drawn from folk tales, legends, and historical accounts, told in a simple visual-verbal idiom. Known as Template:Nihongo, Template:Nihongo, and Template:Nihongo, these were written primarily for less literate readers. However, with the publication in 1775 of Koikawa Harumachi's comic book Template:Nihongo, an adult form of comic book originated, which required greater literacy and cultural sophistication. This was known as the Template:Nihongo3. Published in thousands (possibly tens of thousands) of copies, the kibyōshi may have been the earliest fully realized comic book for adults in world literary history. Approximately 2000 titles remain extant.
Modern comic books in Japan developed from a mixture of these earlier comic books and woodblock prints Template:Nihongo with Western styles of drawing. They took their Template:As of form shortly after World War II. They are usually published in black and white, except for the covers, which are usually printed in four colors, although occasionally, the first few pages may also be printed in full color. The term manga means "random (or whimsical) pictures", and first came into common usage in the late eighteenth century with the publication of such works as Santō Kyōden's picturebook Template:Nihongo (1798) and Aikawa Minwa's Comic Sketches of a Hundred Women (1798).
Development of this form occurred as a result of Japan's attempts to modernize itself, a desire awakened by trade with the United StatesTemplate:Fact. Western artists were brought over to teach their students such concepts as line, form, and color, things which had not been regarded as conceptually important in ukiyo-e, as the idea behind the picture was of paramount importance. Manga at this time was referred to as Ponchi-e (Punch-picture) and, like its British counterpart Punch magazine, mainly depicted humour and political satire in short one- or four-picture format.
Dr. Osamu Tezuka (1928-1989), widely acknowledgedTemplate:By whom as the father of narrative manga, further developed this form. Tezuka was inspired to become a comic artist upon seeing an animation war propaganda film, titled Template:Nihongo. Tezuka introduced episodic storytelling and character development in comic format, in which each story is part of larger story arc. The only text in Tezuka's comics was the characters' dialogue and this further lent his comics a cinematic quality. Inspired by the work of Walt Disney, Tezuka also adopted a style of drawing facial features in which a character's eyes, nose, and mouth are drawn in an extremely exaggerated manner. This style created immediately recognizable expressions using very few lines, and the simplicity of this style allowed Tezuka to be prolific. Tezuka’s work generated new interest in the ukiyo-e tradition, in which the image is a representation of an idea, rather than a depiction of reality.
Though a close equivalent to the American comic book, manga has historically held a more important place in Japanese culture than comics have in American culture. Japanese society shows a wide respect for manga: both as an art form and as a form of popular literature. Many manga become TV shows or shorter movies. As with its American counterpart, some manga has been criticized for its sexuality and violence, although in the absence of official or even industry restrictions on content, artists have been free to create manga for every age group and for every topic.
Manga magazines — also known as "anthologies", or colloquially, "phone books"Template:Fact — often run several series concurrently, with approximately 20 to 40 pages allocated to each series per issue. These magazines are usually printed on low-quality newsprint and range from 200 to more than 850 pages each. Manga magazines also contain one-shot comics and a variety of four-panel yonkoma (equivalent to comic strips). Manga series may continue for many years if they are successful, with stories often collected and reprinted in book-sized volumes called Template:Nihongo3, the equivalent of the American trade paperbacks. These volumes use higher-quality paper and are useful to readers who want to be brought up to date with a series, or to readers who find the cost of the weekly or monthly publications to be prohibitive. Deluxe versions are printed, as commemorative or collectible editions. Conversely, old manga titles are also reprinted using lower-quality paper and sold for 120 ¥ (approximately $1 USD) each.
Genres of manga
Manga titles are primarily classifiedTemplate:By whom by the demographics of their intended audience. The most popular forms of manga target the markets of young boys (shōnen manga) and young girls (shōjo manga). Other categories include adult comics (seinen manga) and "businessman" comics. All of these receive their own shelves in most Japanese bookstores. Comics with adult content (ero manga) are usually sold in doujinshi stores rather than normal bookstores.