Unleashing Japan’s Artistic Legacy: Early Manga and Its Historical Significance

1. The Origins of Japanese Comics
Discover the rich history of early manga, dating back as far as the 12th century.

2. The Art of Storytelling
Explore how manga artists have been able to convey complex stories through their unique visual style.

3. Samurai Tales
Learn about the influence of samurai culture on early manga, featuring epic battles and tales of honor and duty.

4. Mythical Creatures and Folklore
Discover the incorporation of mythical creatures and folklore in early manga, including demons, yokai, and gods.

5. A Shōjo Revolution
Uncover the emergence of shōjo manga in the 1950s, featuring romantic stories targeted towards young girls.

6. Gekiga: A New Style Emerges
Witness the introduction of gekiga, a darker and more sophisticated style of manga that emerged in the 1960s.

7. The Golden Age of Manga
Experience the boom of manga in the 1970s, featuring popular titles such as Doraemon, Lupin III, and Kaiji.

8. Off the Page: The Rise of Anime
Explore the evolution of early manga into anime, featuring iconic titles such as Astro Boy and Dragon Ball.

9. Manga Goes Global
Follow the spread of manga beyond Japan, gaining popularity across the world through translation and adaptation.

10. Future of Manga
Speculate on the future of manga, with new technology and storytelling techniques opening up endless possibilities for the medium.

Early manga, dating back to the 12th century, were handscrolls depicting everyday life and animals. They evolved into comic book format in the 20th century.

Early manga, with its distinct style and storytelling techniques, has become a staple in the world of Japanese popular culture. From its humble beginnings in the 12th century, where scrolls depicted humorous scenes and caricatures, to the modern-day graphic novels that are read worldwide, manga has come a long way. This art form has been able to capture the essence of Japanese culture and society, showcasing everything from samurai battles to everyday life in Tokyo. With its unique blend of art and literature, manga has captivated audiences for centuries, and its influence can be seen in everything from anime to video games.


The Origins of Early Manga

Manga is a Japanese word that refers to both comics and cartoons. The early stages of manga can be traced back to the 12th century, where scrolls with humorous drawings were produced. These scrolls are known as Choju-jinbutsu-giga, which translates to Scrolls of Frolicking Animals and Humans. It is believed that these scrolls were created by Toba Sojo, a Buddhist monk, and painter. These scrolls are considered to be the first examples of manga in Japan.

The Emergence of Modern Manga

Modern manga began to take shape in the late 19th century with the introduction of Western-style cartoons. The first modern manga was created by Rakuten Kitazawa, who was inspired by the works of American cartoonist Frederick Burr Opper. Kitazawa’s work focused on social satire and political commentary and was published in various newspapers and magazines in Japan.


The Father of Manga: Osamu Tezuka

Osamu Tezuka is widely regarded as the father of modern manga. He was a prolific artist and created many of the iconic characters that are still popular today, such as Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion. Tezuka’s manga were known for their intricate plots and elaborate artwork, which helped to elevate manga to an art form in Japan.

The Golden Age of Manga

The 1960s and 1970s are considered to be the golden age of manga. During this time, many of the most popular and influential manga were created, such as Akira, Dragon Ball, and Sailor Moon. Manga became a mainstream form of entertainment in Japan, with millions of copies sold each week.


Manga Goes Global

In the 1980s, manga began to gain popularity outside of Japan. The first manga to be translated into English was Barefoot Gen, a story about the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Other popular manga that were translated into English include Akira, Dragon Ball, and Sailor Moon. Today, manga is read and enjoyed by millions of people all over the world.

The Impact of Manga on Japanese Culture

Manga has had a profound impact on Japanese culture. It has influenced everything from fashion to music to technology. Manga has also helped to foster a sense of community among its fans, who gather together at conventions and events to celebrate their shared love of the medium. Manga has become an integral part of Japanese culture and will continue to be so for generations to come.


Manga and Anime

Manga and anime are often closely linked. Anime is the animated version of manga and is often based on popular manga series. Many anime series have become just as popular as their manga counterparts, such as Naruto, Attack on Titan, and Death Note. Manga and anime have become major industries in Japan, generating billions of dollars each year.

The Future of Manga

The future of manga looks bright. With the rise of digital technology, manga is becoming more accessible than ever before. Manga can now be read on smartphones, tablets, and computers, with new chapters released each week. Manga has also become more diverse, with more stories being told from the perspective of women and minorities. As manga continues to evolve, it will undoubtedly continue to shape and influence Japanese culture for years to come.


Manga as an Art Form

Manga is not just a form of entertainment, it is also considered to be an art form. Many manga artists are revered for their intricate artwork and storytelling abilities. The manga industry in Japan has even established awards to recognize outstanding manga artists, such as the Shogakukan Manga Award and the Kodansha Manga Award. Manga has also inspired other forms of art, such as cosplay and fan art.


Early manga may have started as humorous drawings on scrolls, but it has since evolved into a major cultural phenomenon in Japan and around the world. From its origins in the 12th century to its current status as a beloved art form, manga has had a profound impact on Japanese culture and will continue to do so for generations to come.

The Origins of Japanese Comics

Manga, the Japanese term for comics, has become a global phenomenon in recent years. But the roots of manga can be traced back to as early as the 12th century, with the emergence of scroll paintings known as emakimono. These paintings depicted stories of battles, romance, and everyday life, using sequential art to tell a narrative. Over time, emakimono evolved into illustrated books known as kibyōshi, which were read by a wider audience and featured comedic and satirical stories.

The Art of Storytelling

One of the defining features of manga is its unique visual style, which has allowed artists to convey complex stories without relying on narration or dialogue. This style includes the use of exaggerated facial expressions, dynamic action scenes, and intricate backgrounds. Manga artists also utilize page layouts and panel transitions to create a sense of movement and flow, enhancing the reader’s experience.

Samurai Tales

Samurai culture has had a significant influence on early manga, with many stories featuring epic battles and tales of honor and duty. One of the most famous samurai manga is Lone Wolf and Cub, which follows the journey of a ronin (masterless samurai) and his young son as they seek revenge against those who wronged them. The series is known for its visceral violence and detailed depictions of feudal Japan.

Mythical Creatures and Folklore

Another common theme in early manga is the incorporation of mythical creatures and folklore. Demons, yokai, and gods are often featured in stories, adding a supernatural element to the narrative. One popular manga based on folklore is GeGeGe no Kitaro, which follows a boy who is half-human, half-yokai and defends his town from evil spirits.

A Shōjo Revolution

In the 1950s, a new genre of manga emerged targeted towards young girls known as shōjo manga. These stories focused on romance and relationships, often featuring female protagonists navigating their way through adolescence. One of the most popular shōjo manga is Sailor Moon, which follows a teenage girl who transforms into a superhero to protect the world from evil forces.

Gekiga: A New Style Emerges

In the 1960s, a new style of manga known as gekiga emerged, which was darker and more sophisticated than previous genres. Gekiga stories tackled mature themes such as politics, sexuality, and crime, and were aimed at an older audience. One notable gekiga manga is Golgo 13, which follows an assassin for hire as he carries out his missions.

The Golden Age of Manga

The 1970s marked the beginning of the golden age of manga, with an explosion of titles and genres. Popular manga of this era include Doraemon, Lupin III, and Kaiji. These stories ranged from lighthearted comedies to intense dramas, and were widely read by audiences of all ages.

Off the Page: The Rise of Anime

As manga grew in popularity, it began to evolve beyond the pages of the comic book. In the 1960s, manga artist Osamu Tezuka adapted his popular manga Astro Boy into an anime series, which became a huge success. This paved the way for other manga-to-anime adaptations, including Dragon Ball and Naruto. Today, anime has become a global phenomenon, with fans around the world tuning in to watch their favorite shows.

Manga Goes Global

With the rise of the internet and advances in translation technology, manga has become more accessible to international audiences than ever before. Popular manga series such as Attack on Titan and One Piece have been translated into multiple languages and have gained a following across the world. Manga has also influenced Western comics, with artists such as Frank Miller citing Japanese manga as an inspiration for their work.

Future of Manga

As technology continues to evolve, so too does the future of manga. Digital manga has become increasingly popular, with readers able to access titles on their smartphones and tablets. Augmented reality and virtual reality technologies may also provide new opportunities for manga artists to create immersive experiences for their readers. Whatever the future holds, one thing is certain: manga will continue to captivate audiences with its unique blend of storytelling and artistry.

Early manga, also known as pre-modern manga, refers to the comics that were produced in Japan before the Second World War. These comics were vastly different from the modern-day manga that we see today. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of early manga:


  • Early manga served as a foundation for modern-day manga. It paved the way for the development of manga as we know it today.
  • Early manga had a unique art style that was unlike anything else at the time. This art style would later go on to influence the development of manga and anime.
  • Early manga explored a wide range of topics, from romance and adventure to horror and science fiction. This diversity helped to establish manga as a popular form of entertainment that could appeal to a broad audience.
  • Early manga was an important cultural export for Japan. It helped to spread Japanese culture around the world and gave people a glimpse into Japanese life and society.


  • Early manga often contained racist and sexist stereotypes that were prevalent in Japanese society at the time. These stereotypes can be offensive and hurtful to modern readers.
  • Early manga was often produced under strict censorship laws, which limited the freedom of expression of the artists and writers. This censorship resulted in a lack of creativity and innovation in some aspects of early manga.
  • Early manga was often serialized in newspapers and magazines, which meant that the stories were often rushed and lacked depth. This led to a lack of character development and plot complexity in some early manga.
  • Early manga was often aimed at a young male audience, which meant that the stories were often formulaic and predictable. This lack of diversity in the target audience limited the range of topics that were explored in early manga.

In conclusion, early manga played an important role in the development of manga as we know it today. While there were certainly some drawbacks to early manga, it laid the groundwork for a vibrant and diverse form of entertainment that continues to captivate audiences around the world.

Have you ever wondered about the early days of manga? It’s fascinating to dive into the history of this beloved art form and see how it has evolved over time. Although there isn’t a specific title to focus on, we can still explore the beginnings of manga and how it has become such a prominent aspect of Japanese culture.

In the early 20th century, manga was primarily aimed at children and was seen as a form of entertainment. However, as the years went by, manga began to evolve and expand into different genres such as action, romance, horror, comedy, and more. It drew inspiration from both Japanese and Western cultures, creating a unique blend that captured the hearts of people all around the world.

Overall, the early days of manga laid the foundation for what we know today. It’s amazing to see how much it has grown and how it continues to captivate readers of all ages. So next time you pick up a manga, take a moment to appreciate its history and the journey that brought it to where it is today.

Thank you for taking the time to read about the early days of manga. We hope you enjoyed learning about its origins and how it has become such an important aspect of Japanese culture. Keep exploring and discovering new manga titles – who knows what hidden gems you’ll come across!

People also ask about early manga:

  • What is the earliest manga?
  • Who created the first manga?
  • When did manga become popular in Japan?


  1. The earliest manga is believed to be Choju-jinbutsu-giga, a set of scrolls created in the 12th century. However, the modern style of manga that we know today began in the late 19th century.
  2. Katsushika Hokusai is often credited with creating the first modern manga, titled Hokusai Manga. It was published in 1814 and featured various sketches and illustrations.
  3. Manga began to gain popularity in Japan during the post-World War II period. The rise of the mass media industry allowed for manga to be distributed more widely and reach a larger audience. The 1950s and 1960s saw the emergence of many popular manga artists, such as Osamu Tezuka, who helped to establish the modern manga industry.

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