Image by: © Olivia Braddock

Manga is a Japanese word for comics or cartoons. Manga dates back to 12th century.  The very first one is called Choju Jinbutsu Giga (Birds and Animals Play Human) but it really became popular  after the second world war as the film industry developed. Recently manga is becoming ever popular among young people outside Japan.  Manga is translated into many languages but the manga book retains the original format of opening from right to left and is read it from right page to left page. 

What is unique about manga is that it is not drawn by one person.  Normally it is produced by a group of people working together at a studio. The author draws the outline but all the art work is done by the assistants.  Quite often someone writes a story line.

Manga stories range from romance to comedy, detective stories to success stories. Many original manga have been turned into TV dramas.  Some dramas have become so popular that other countries, such as Korea, Taiwan and China have produced their own versions.  Thanks to the internet, we can read manga or watch it as anime, and it is those dramas on-line which have contributed to the popularity of manga and is now well established as a culture in its own right.
The following manga have been adapted into drama in more than one language

  • Hana yori dango (Boys  before flowers)
  • Hanazakari no kimitachi e (Hana Kimi)
  • Tennis no ouji (Prince of Tennis)

Some manga fans wear clothes to look like manga hero/ines such as Haruhi Suzumiya or Naruto.  This look is called Cosplay which is short for Costume and roleplay.    See Young fashion page for more info.

Anime, short for animation is another Japanese word which is widely known for Japanese animated films.  Most notable is Spirited Away which won an Oscar and an Academy Award in 2002, (Have a look at the official trailer on You Tube) but other titles such as My Neighbour Totoro and Ponyo are equally popular and subtitled in many languages.

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