, 14. October 2016
The Japanese Character Art and its Stylistic Elements

Manga Comics

Manga date back to Buddhist monks, who started to draw satirical picture stories on paper rolls early on. Today there are mangas for each situation in Japan: Toddler mangas, silver mangas for seniors, sexual mangas, mangas according to hobbies and areas of specialization, alternative mangas or mainstream manga. The market is huge. We look at the Japanese art of drawing a little bit closer.

x-working Mainly in Japan, there are thousands of animes and mangas.
Mainly in Japan, there are thousands of animes and mangas.

Only since 2000, the Japanese government officially approved manga and anime as an independent, worthy of sponsorship art form. This is surprising, but mangas are one of the main pillars of the Japanese publishing industry. In Japan, it is common to buy the mostly monthly manga magazines for the equivalent of two to five euros from the newsstands. These magazines include the latest chapter of several series. They tend to be made out of a bad paper and printing quality and are usually discarded after reading.

The most famous and most widespread manga character in Japan is the 1969 evolved blue robot cat "Doraemon". In addition, there are many successful manga series like "One Piece", "Dragon Ball", "Kochikame", "Naruto", “Golgo 13" and many others. Golgo 13 (started in 1968) and Kochikame (started in 1977) are among the continuously longest running manga series and to those with the greatest number of anthologies.

Authors of mangas are called "mangaka". To become a mangaka, there are several paths to go. One may win drawing competitions or you do apply at a publishing house. Many Japanese try this. However, most pull back out of this business after short time. Only about 300 artists can live from manga drawing. These run ongoing manga series including large teams. The mangaka often use characteristic style elements having almost all manga. The manga artist “Osamu Tezuka“ introduced many symbols and styles of modern manga. He was essentially involved in the postwar development of the manga scene in a way that he is considered as "Manga no Kami-sama" (god of manga) by many manga fans.

Characteristic of mangas is the western look. The manga characters wear varied hair colours and large, round and coloured designed eyes. The most style-defining feature is the schema of childlike characteristics. The characters are often depicted with a large head and greatly enlarged googly eyes. Concerning productions for children and youth and in the etchi and hentai area (adult stories with sexual content), you can see this stylistic feature most frequently, while the figures are kept rather realistic at mangas with a challenging background story.

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