History Of Manga

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The Japanese word manga literally meaning “moving pictures” represents a form of comic or cartoon published and created in Japan. It was late 18th century when the earliest form of manga was published.  

The idea was realized during the late 18th the century when printed illustrations were popular among consumers. Books printed using woodblock technology, which contained texts, positioned beside pictures were thus created. Similar to modern manga, these books also depicted themes associated with humor, fantasy and romance. However, due to government censorship, these books had vanished. Although it has many striking resemblances, it is believed that American style comics and cartoons in the 19th century were the direct ancestors of the modern Astro Boymanga.


Modern day manga began during the Occupation and Post-Occupation years, which lasted from mid 1940s to early 1960s. During the rebuilding of Japan’s economy there was no publication censorship; therefore, it resulted in an outburst of manga creativity.


Known as the “God of manga”, Osamu Tezuka created one of the most popular manga series at that time, Mighty Atom (Astro Boy) in 1951. Astro Boy quickly gained fame as a representation and hero of peace and eradication of war.


Following Tezuka’s footsteps, many young artistes started imitating his style and this had led to an expansion of the manga market. Contrasting from past consumers, the new batch of readers continued reading manga after they got to high school, or even college.


Amid 1950s to late 1960s, there were escalating numbers of audiences in Japan particularly for the shonen and shojo genres. Shonen manga, literally meaning “young boy”, are manga targeting young male readers. Shojo manga, literally meaning “young girl” are manga targeting young female readers. Up to 1969, shojo manga are drawn mostly by adult men.