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Learn Japanese Manga

Updated on March 15, 2013

About Japanese Manga

Have you ever heard of Japanese Manga? Maybe not. But I bet you have all heard of Japanese anime. The funny thing is there is a very high probability that you have seen both and maybe more of Manga than anime from Japan but you thought it was all anime. There may be no clear difference between the anime and the Manga but believe it or not the two are quite different. As you read on you are going to discover that the two are totally different but they have inspired one another all along. Let us first define the two terms before we get down to the differences between the two.

What is Japanese Manga & anime?

Japanese Manga is a term that is broadly used to refer to comics that originate from Japan which are created by the Japanese creators purely in the Japanese language and always adhere to a cultural style that was developed in the 19th century. They are pictures in form of cartoons and they cater for all age groups as everyone can read Manga. On the other hand, Japanese anime is a term that is used to refer to the short cartoon films created by Japanese film makers and can be compared to the Walt Disney works. Wondering which of the two came first? Manga came first while the anime later. In fact, the anime started in the early 20th century and grew as technological advances in the film industry grew and more features could be added into the anime.

Manga covers pretty much every genre there is to cover. Ranging from romance, science fiction, adventure, comedy, business, horror, homosexuality, sports, games, you name it. There is everything for everyone. Manga is so rooted in the Japanese culture that it is part of them completely and defines the Japanese people as it is used to portray all kinds of vices and virtues in the society and all kinds of activities the Japanese are into. The Manga artists, known as Mangaka in Japan, strive to improve their innovativeness and appeal to the public and so far they are doing a commendable job given the market the Manga commands and how much revenue the Manga is responsible for in the Japanese economy.

Manga History

By the 1950s the Japanese Manga had become a major industry in Japan and the works were published far and wide in Japan. The growth of the industry has been steady since then and recent statistics estimate the revenues received from the industry alone to go into billions of dollars. In 2009, the Manga industry was worth about 6 billion dollars and this was in Japan alone. The Manga also has international markets courtesy of the influence Japan has had in the international economy for quite some time. Northern America and the Canadian markets account for close to 130 million dollars while the figure is the same in Europe.

Manga is developed in form of a series of stories. They are published in magazines and newspapers in the Japanese media in continuing episodes. The readers follow the stories and have to buy the magazines to keep up with new episodes. The popular episodes normally are rerun and published in full in books for readers who we didn't get to enjoy the first round of the series who are willing to repeat it. The popular Manga series are normally animated after the series is over or even during the series.

The content in each of the Manga series differs and is determined by the audience to which it is targeted-gender and age being the main factors. In Japan it is common to find a café -known as a Manga café-where people drink coffee while reading the Manga, a favorite past time for most Japanese people. Web Manga- online Manga publications- is another popular category of Manga available for online Japanese users. The Manga is responsible for the growth of the anime industry in Japan. When the anime industry started in the early 20th century, most of the anime was adapted from the American Walt Disney anime intended for the Japanese market. As the artists' creativity grew and so did the anime industry. The industry experienced the most growth in the post war periods and slowly but steadily became a household item in Japan. The industry, even though dominated by male artists, has seen its fair share of the female artists who specialize in the feminine market for the young girls and the women too.

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