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A Brief History of Manga and Anime

Updated on August 13, 2013

Manga vs. Anime

Anime vs. Manga
Anime vs. Manga | Source

First Off, Let's Get an Idea of What These Are


~ According to the definition given about Manga at, Manga are basically Japanese comic books.The art in Manga is unique, and very recognizable. Manga usually incorporates black and white like other types of comics, and characters with big, bright, eyes. Of course, artistic style tends to change with the author.


~ The definition given about anime at is the following: "Japanese word for cartoon and animation. In Japan, "anime" refers to any and all animation or cartoon - regardless of the genre, style, or nation of origin." Anime shares the same characteristics of Manga, except that it is animated.

Painting by Toba Sojo
Painting by Toba Sojo | Source

The History Behind Manga

The earliest examples of manga-like artwork that appeared are commonly attributed to Toba Sojo, a painter/ priest of the 11th century. His works are considered influences of modern Japanese comics, or manga.

During the 18th century, Toba’s influence on manga was acknowledged with the introduction of Toba-e or “Toba pictures,” created by Shimoboku Ooka, These were humorous images that were put into books.

Several themes for manga appeared in later centuries, including Shunga, Yokai, Political Satire, and East meets West, the lastest being the beginning of modern manga.

Beginning the 20th century, manga reflected modern society. This was when Japanese artists began to merge Western ideas with their own. With the strange new ideas that came from the West, and the new developments being made in modern society, manga began this new era.

From the 1990s and on, manga had it's big debut, becoming wildly popular in the United States. It's success can be owed to Kurt Hassler, who introduced the Japanese comics to major bookstores.

Magazines about Mangas began popping up all over the place, bringing in loads of readers from their targeted audiences. Sadly, with the advances made in computers and the Internet, some magazines had to say goodbye to their fans, including Anime+, Kawaii, and the smash hit Shojo Beat magazine.

Now sites like Mangafox and Mangareader are the prime premises for reading manga. Manga can also still be found in libraries and local bookstores.

Picture of original Astro Boy
Picture of original Astro Boy | Source

The History Behind Anime

Anime doesn't have as much history as Manga, only being starting to be developed within the last century or so. When film-making reached Japan, movies and shows incorporating manga became instantly popular as well.

And so was the birth of Anime.

Anime being used in television was inevitable, considering that Manga was already a widely excepted form of entertainment in Japan.

Like Manga, Anime was produced for people of all ages to enjoy, also covering a variety of topics. Anime's were and still are often based on Mangas.

The animations were introduced to the United States, the first being "Astro Boy." Astro Boy was a hit, and so other Animes were introduced. There was a period during the 1900s where Anime was not produced in the United States, because of complaints that it was too violent. However, it resurfaced during the 1970s.

Currently Popular Manga/Anime Titles

Masashi Kimimoto
Tite Kubo
One Piece
Eiichiro Oda
Fairy Tail
Hiro Mashima
Attack on Titan
Hajime Isayama
Tamura Ryuuhei
Sword Art Online
Kawahara Reki

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