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A Brief Introduction to Manga

Manga is the Japanese word for comics in general. Outside of Japan, the term manga is used exclusively used to refer to the Japanese comics.

Manga covers a wide variety of genres, and reaches audiences in many different and diverse spectrums of ages. Manga is a very important part of the publishing industry of Japan and it motivates many adaptations to different formats: animated series, known as Anime, movies, video games and novels.

Note: Tagosaku to Mokube Tokyo Kenbutsu (1902) is considered the first manga.


Hokusai Katsushika, a representative of the ukiyo-e, coined the term مانجا العرب by combining the kanji corresponding to informal (man) and drawing (ga). It translates literally as “Informal Drawing” or “doodles”. The Japanese call it ‘insignificant images’, also in the manga because they buy annually more than 1 billion volumes in black and white, printed on cheap paper. The professional to write or draw manga is known as a manga artist.

The manga industry

The manga in Japan is a true mass phenomenon. A single fact serves to illustrate the magnitude of this phenomenon: In the year of 1989, 38% of all books and magazines published in Japan were manga.

As you can guess by this figure, the manga is not just a fad for young people. In Japan there are manga for all ages and social status, including homemakers, clerks, teenagers, office workers, etc. Erotic manga also known as hentai is a quarter of total sales.

Manga Magazines

Manga magazines are one of the most popular distribution forms of manga in Japan selling millions of copies every week. Shonen Jump Magazine, the most popular manga magazine in Japan sells around 6 million copies every week. Shonen Magazine follows with around 4 million copies.

Manga magazines are weekly or monthly publications of between 200 and 900 pages in which there are many different manga series that consist of between 20 to 40 pages of the magazine. These magazines are usually printed in black and white low quality paper with the exception of the cover and usually some pages from the beginning. If a series turn out to be successful they tend to be published for several years within the magazine.

Another variant that has emerged as a result of the proliferation of file sharing over the Internet is the digital format called e-comic. The most use formats of e-comics are the.cbr and.cbz, which its basically really is a set of compressed files (rar and zip, respectively) with images in formats such as jpeg or gif inside.


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