Fuji In Art Hokusai

The History of Manga

Japan has been making cartoon art for a very long time. Japanese manga (comic) come in all types, for all sorts of people. Also, a major difference is a style, which is distinctive and fairly easy to recognize. Within this broad common stylistic ground, each manga artist’s technic is distinct and unique. The stereotype is of characters with huge hair and large eyes with stars sparking inside, but there are many variations.

Manga has entertained the Japanese for centuries. One narrative picture scroll from the 12th century, the first volume of Choju Jinbutsu Giga, depicts animals acting like people.

The artist’s lines are simple and the imagery is exaggerated, like the artistic expression of today’s manga. These ancient manga-like pictures were drawn by hand, but in the Edo-era (1603-1867) artists developed woodblock techniques for the mass production of illustrated books and prints.

Almost midway through the Edo-era, in 1720, a book of woodblock prints was published in Osaka. It was the first manga book published for commercial purposes.

The Japanese were the first in Asia to enjoy cartoon-like pictures. Simple lines and exaggerated expressions are essential elements of manga, and adding the impression of movement creates an even more expressive medium.

The manga artists of long ago combined these three elements to lay the foundation for today’s animated films (anime). These pages show how they depicted movement.

1. Choju Giga

This has been considered the first Manga (cartoon) in Japan’s art history, supposedly painted by Toba Sojo (Priest Kankkuyu, 1053-1140). A handscroll (Makimono) of frolicking animals and other subjects, only the first chapter, Ko, is thought to be Sojo’s.

This one part is a national treasure. It comprises the most important art in Japan’s history, even though it is believed that different artists painted other parts of this handscroll at different times.

2. Hokusai Manga

In Hokusai Manga, Hokusai depicts animals, plants, landscapes and human figures as historical and supernatural, even demons and monsters, as if his work were a visual encyclopedia.

This amounts to 15 volumes. Hokusai Manga turned out to be very popular among every class of people in Japan and became a long-time bestseller in the Edo-and Meiji-eras.

It spread throughout Japan and flowed into Europe, where it had a striking impact on European artists, among who were the Impressionists, such as Monet and Dégas.

3. Georges Ferdinand Bigot (1860-1927)

With aspirations to learn more about Ukiyo-e, this French artist visited Japan in 1882. He lived there for 17 years. During his stay, he produced manga which was about people’s everyday life, and political events with curiosity and a cynical sense.

4. Marumaru Chinbun (1877)

First weekly manga magazine.

5. Okamoto Ippei:

Okamoto Ippei was born in 1886. He studied under Kubota Beisen in Tokyo. After his studies, Okamoto Ippei became a cartoonist (mangaka) for Asahi Shimbun.

At the same time, he created comics for several magazines. Cartoon art was booming in the 1920s. In 1921, he started traveling around the world. When he returned to Japan, he introduced American comics like Mutt and Jeff and Bringing up Father to the Japanese public.

His book with caricatures, Shin Mizu ya Sora, was very famous.

6. Shojo Manga:

Magazines specifically for girls, known as shojo magazines, first appeared in 1903 with the founding of Shojo kai and continued with others such as Shojo Sekai (1906) and the long-running Shojo-no tomo (1908).

Simple, single-page manga had begun to appear in these magazines by 1910, and by the 1930s more sophisticated humor strips had become an essential feature of most girls’ magazines.

The most popular, Matsumoto Katsuji’s Kurukuru Kurumi-chan, debuted on the pages of Shojo-no tomo in 1938. As World War II progressed, however, “comics, perhaps regarded as frivolous, began to disappear.”

Postwar shojo manga, such as Kurakane Shosuke’s hugely popular Anmitsu Hime, initially followed the pre-war pattern of simple humor strips.

But Tezuka Osamu’s postwar revolution, introducing intense drama and serious themes to children’s manga, spread quickly to shojo manga, particularly after the enormous success of his seminal Ribon-no kishi (“Princess Knight”).

Until the mid-1960s males vastly outnumbered the handful of females (for example Mizuno Hideko, Watanabe Masako, Hanamura Eiko, Maki Miyako) among the artists working on shojo manga.

7. Kamishibai

Literally “paper drama”, is a form of storytelling that originated in Japanese Buddhist temples in the 12th century, where monks used e-maki (picture scrolls) to convey stories with moral lessons to a mostly illiterate audience. It endured as a storytelling method for centuries but is perhaps best known for its revival in the 1920s through the 1950s.

The gaito kamishibaiya, or kamishibai storyteller, rode from village to village on a bicycle equipped with a small stage. On arrival, the storyteller used two wooden clappers, called hyoshigi, to announce his arrival. Children who bought candy from the storyteller got the best seats in front of the stage.

Once an audience assembled, the storyteller told several stories using a set of illustrated boards, inserted into the stage, and withdrawn one by one as the story was told. The stories were often serials and new episodes were told on each visit to the village.

The revival of kamishibai can be tied to the global depression of the late 1920s when it offered a means by which an unemployed man could earn a small income.

The tradition was largely supplanted by the advent of television in the late 1950s but has recently enjoyed a revival in Japanese libraries and elementary schools. Some Americans have translated traditional kamishibai into English and offer them as part of a “Balanced Literacy” teaching philosophy. Some say now that kamishibai is the origin of manga.

8. Tezuka Osamu and Jungule Taitei

Kimba the White Lion, 1950 for first published, Japanese first color TV animation started in 1965: This manga started and finished long before Lion King by legend Mangaka (manga creator) Tezuka Osamu.

9. Ishinomori Shotaro: King of Manga.

Ishinomori Shotaro was an influential figure in manga, anime, and tokusatsu who created several immensely popular long-running series such as Cyborg 009 and the Kamen Rider Series. He was twice awarded by the Shogakukan Manga Award, in 1968 for Sabu to Ichi Torimono Hikae and in 1988 for Hotel and Manga Nihon Keizai Nyumon.

10. Kyojin-no Hoshi (Star of Giants),

Started 1n 1966: Former professional baseball player father trained his son by training tool (named Major League Training Gips) to become a future baseball player. Bible of sports manga.

11. Harenchi Gakuen (Immoral School), 1968:

The title says everything.

12. Ashita-no Joe (Joe of Tomorrow), started in 1969:

A boxing trainer saw huge potential in a young boy whose name was Joe who lived in a slum town. It sold more than 2 million copies a week for the first time in the 1960s.

13. Ge-ge-ge-no Kitaro (Monster Boy Kitaro), started in the 1960s:

In the beginning, this manga had a very small market. Hit the large market in the 1970s.

14. Doraemon: Started in 1969:

This manga series was created by Fujiko F. Fujio and Fujiko A. Fujio which later became an anime series and Asian franchise. The series is about a robotic cat named Doraemon, who travels back in time from the 22nd century to aid a schoolboy, Nobi Nobita. The series first appeared in December 1969, when it was published simultaneously in six different magazines. In total, 1,344 stories were created in the original series, which are published by Shogakukan under the Tentomushi manga brand, extending to forty-five volumes.

15. Rose of Versailles:

Big hit shojo (girls) manga in 1972-1973. It was the story of Marie Antoinette and the French Revolution; love, hate, jealousy.

16. Ginga Tetsudo 999 (Milky Way Train 999), started in 1977:

To look for the body he believed could live forever, Tetsuro took a train to Milky Way with a woman named Metel.

17. Kacho Shima Kosaku, started in 1983:

Kacho Shima Kosaku (“Section Chief Shima Kosaku”) is the first in a number of Japanese manga series, by Hirokane Kenshi, about a fictional salaryman named Shima Kosaku. The series ran from 1983-1992 under this title, winning the 1991 Kodansha Manga Award in the General category.

It depicts the life of a salaryman, a Japanese white-collar worker who devotes his life to his company. The manga has been translated from Japanese into English, French, and German. At the start of the long-running series, Shima Kosaku is a kacho, or section chief, of a huge conglomerate, Hatsushiba Electric (Hirokane worked at Panasonic for 3 years).

He is later promoted to bucho (division chief) and eventually promoted to manager and executive-director, and with each promotion, the title of the series changed as well. He is now promoted to the president of Hatsushiba Electric. And the title changed “Shacho” Shima Kosaku, which means “President Shima Kosaku”.

18. Dragon Ball:

Dragon Ball is a manga series written and illustrated by Toriyama Akira. It was originally serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump from 1984 through 1995, and later the 519 individual chapters were published into 42 tankobon volumes by Shueisha.

Inspired by the Chinese folk novel Journey to the West, it follows the adventures of Son Goku from his childhood through middle age as he trains in martial arts and explores the world in search of the seven mystical objects known as the Dragon Balls, which can summon a wish-granting dragon.

Along his trip, Goku meets several friends and fights against several villains who also seek the Dragon Balls. The 42 tankobon have been adapted into three anime series produced by Toei Animation: Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, and Dragon Ball GT.

Additionally, Toei has developed seventeen animated feature films and three television specials. During 2009, Toei started rebroadcasting Dragon Ball Z under the name of Dragon Ball Kai which changes the footage from the original anime. Several companies have developed various types of merchandising such as a collectible trading card game, and a large number of video games.

Since its release, Dragon Ball has become one of the most popular manga series of its time in both Japan and North America. It enjoys a high readership, with over 150 million volumes of the series sold by 2007.

Several manga artists have noted that the manga series was the inspiration for their own now popular works, including Naruto and One Piece. The anime is also highly popular, ranking number 12 among the best anime series of all time in 2006. Reviewers praise the art, characterization, and humor of the manga story.

19. Hatsune Miku:

Vocaloid is a singing synthesizer application software developed by the Yamaha Corporation that enables users to synthesize singing by just typing in lyrics and melody. Hatsune Miku is the first installment in the Vocaloid2 Character Vocal Series released on August 31, 2007.

The name of the title and the character of the software was chosen by combining Hatsu (First), Ne (Sound), and Miku (Future). The data for the voice was created by actually sampling the voice of Fujita Saki, a Japanese voice actress.

Unlike general-purpose speech synthesizers, the software is tuned to create J-pop songs commonly heard in anime, but it is possible to create songs from other genres. A Hatsune Miku manga called Maker Hikoshiki Hatsune Mix began serialization in the Japanese manga magazine Comic Rush on November 26, 2007, published by Jive.

The manga is drawn by Kei, the original character designer for Hatsune Miku. A second manga called Hachune Miku no Nichijo Roipara! drawn by Ontama began serialization in the manga magazine Comp Ace on December 26, 2007, published by Kadokawa Shoten.