A Beginner’s Guide To Understanding Manga

Swetha Bhatnagar
2 min readFeb 3, 2022

Manga, or Japanese comics, have been around for a long time and have become increasingly popular in the Western world in recent years. While they may seem like light-hearted entertainment, manga can actually offer a lot of insight into Japanese culture and society. In this article, we’ll take a look at what manga are, some of their most popular genres and themes, and how they’ve evolved over the years.

Manga are comics created by Japanese artists and writers. They usually tell stories that are set in contemporary Japan, and often deal with issues and themes that are relevant to Japanese culture and society. Some of the most popular genres of manga include action, romance, mystery, and science fiction.

One of the things that make manga so interesting and accessible is that most of them are serialized, or published in chapters for a set period of time. Manga also tend to be read from right to left instead of the more common left to right style seen in many Western comics.

Manga was first introduced into the United States by acclaimed American comic book artist and writer Stan Lee when he worked with Japanese artist and writer Shustu Araki in the mid-1960s. However, it wasn’t until later in the decade when other American artists began to adapt manga into their own work that manga really started to become popular in North America.

Manga evolved quite a bit over time, reaching its peak in the mid-1990s. Since then, manga has become more and more commercially driven and formulaic, and is now targeted mainly at teenagers and young adults.

Manga’s roots can be traced all the way back to ancient China where they were written by hand or inscribed on stones for spiritual or political practices. In Japan, these early works were called “chōkan”, and were written in narrative prose instead of with sequential illustrations.

Manga as we know it today started to take shape in the 20th century when Rakuten Kitazawa began drawing comics that drew inspiration from Western styles such as Töpffer, and comics like those by English artist Randolph Caldecott.

The word “manga” is often said to mean “whimsical pictures”, but the word actually comes from two Japanese words: “kan” (箱) and “e” (絵), which together means “box of images”. This term was used to distinguish what was then a new art form from older, more traditional art forms.

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Swetha Bhatnagar

I am Shweta Bhatnagar. I work as a freelance writer on Lifestyle, Entertainment, Humor, Women, Foods, Travel, Technology and Politics.