After World War II, manga-illustrated publications, so-called “story manga,” developed in Japan. At one time, the “baby boomer generation” was the main readership, but as those people got older, a variety of comics emerged. Since then, it has steadily expanded its readership from young people to those in their 30s and 40s.
Manga, which currently accounts for about 30% of the books and magazines sold in Japan, has influenced a variety of arts and cultures. Some of the story cartoons are aimed at small children who are just starting to read, while others are aimed at slightly older boys and girls and general readers. Some gag cartoons specialize in jokes and humorous situations, while others are more experimental in the sense that they seek to express themselves in novel ways. Some of them are non-fiction and cover a wide range of information, from the practical, ready-to-use, to the historical, to the documentary-like.
The emergence of two popular weekly shonen manga magazines established the manga culture that we have today. Both magazines have released one super-popular work after another. At one time, weekly circulation exceeded 6 million copies, and manga magazines linked to marketing systems such as anime and video games were at the center of manga culture for many years. Typically, children’s cartoons feature young characters and show them growing up as they fight enemies and develop friendships with their peers. However, as the readership aged, the readership of these children’s comics magazines declined. Amazingly, the weekly circulation of the shonen manga magazine had fallen to half of its peak. That’s where the popularity of manga magazines targeting the older generation came into play. Originally targeted at young men in their twenties and thirties, it has gained a broader readership with a wide range of styles and themes, including student life, social life, social issues and economic issues. The so-called “moe manga” and “tokimeki manga,” which are about love and romantic feelings, have also become popular genres.” Moe is a Japanese slang term that means to have strong feelings for a particular character. The characters are drawn with rounded lines and exaggeration, and the story revolves around the everyday life of an ordinary high school girl, rather than the combat and fantasy of a children’s manga. Some of the moe manga have been adapted into anime, which has expanded the readership.
Also, the genre of shoujo manga has become more prominent. It was a generation of female cartoonists who grew up reading comics. The girls gradually broadened the range of expression in their manga works. The delicate psychological depiction is done with a special illustration technique not found in the main shonen manga.
In recent years, the export of Japanese manga to the West and other Asian countries has increased significantly. In Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, and other countries once known for piracy, official licensing agreements with major Japanese publishers have resulted in the translation and publication of large numbers of the latest popular Japanese cartoons. In Europe and the United States, interest in manga has increased significantly since Japanese anime began to be broadcast on television. Shelves lined with manga based on famous anime series are now a familiar sight in American bookstores. In addition, major Japanese manga publishers have set up overseas affiliates to sell translated versions of Japanese manga and distribute anime manga.
The manga, whose main character is a ninja boy, has now been made into a single book and distributed in more than 30 countries around the world. The animated version has been broadcast in over 80 countries. He is also serializing a maritime adventure story about a boy who is a pirate. It has been animated for television, made into a movie, and made into a game, and is being distributed in more than 35 countries and territories. Once again, he has produced a globally recognized series. With the publication of the 200th volume of the serial, the gag manga, featuring a number of unique characters, mainly police officers, set a Guinness World Record for the “most volumes published in a single manga series.” It’s clear that Japanese manga and anime have gone beyond their initial hardcore fan base and have become an important part of Western pop culture as a whole.