top of page

The History of Manga: From the Edo Period to Modern Day

Manga, which means "comic" or "cartoon" in Japanese, has a long and fascinating history that dates back to the Edo period (1603-1868). Manga has become a global phenomenon, with millions of fans worldwide, and has had a significant impact on popular culture, including anime, gaming, and cosplay. Edo Period (1603-1868) During the Edo period, artists created narrative scrolls called "Choju-jinbutsu-giga," which are considered the earliest form of manga. These scrolls depicted animals and humans in various situations, and the storytelling was done through pictures rather than words. These scrolls were created by artists such as Toba Sojo, who is considered one of the pioneers of manga. In the mid-18th century, a new form of manga called "Kibyoshi" emerged. Kibyoshi were illustrated books that featured stories about samurai, romance, and humor. These books were popular among the common people, and their illustrations were often colorful and expressive. Meiji Period (1868-1912) During the Meiji period, Japan underwent significant modernization and westernization. This period saw the introduction of new printing techniques, such as lithography and woodblock printing, which made it easier to mass-produce manga. This led to the rise of "Jidai-geki" manga, which were stories set in the historical period, and "Gekiga," which were more serious and realistic stories aimed at adult readers. Taisho Period (1912-1926) The Taisho period saw the rise of "Shonen Manga," which were comics aimed at young boys. The first shonen manga magazine, "Shonen Club," was published in 1914. These magazines featured stories about heroes and adventure, and their popularity led to the creation of other magazines such as "Shonen Jump," which is still in publication today. Post-World War II (1945-1952) After World War II, manga became a popular form of entertainment among young people. Manga artists such as Osamu Tezuka, known as the "Godfather of Manga," created iconic characters such as Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion. Tezuka's manga were not only popular in Japan but also in the United States, where they were known as "Mighty Atom" and "Leo the Lion." 1960s-1970s The 1960s and 1970s saw the rise of "Gekiga," a more serious and mature form of manga. Gekiga addressed social issues such as poverty, crime, and corruption and featured more complex characters and storylines. Manga artists such as Yoshihiro Tatsumi and Shigeru Mizuki were pioneers of this genre. 1980s-Present Day The 1980s saw the rise of "Shojo Manga," which are comics aimed at young girls. Shojo manga often feature romantic storylines and are known for their expressive and emotional artwork. Popular shojo manga series include "Sailor Moon" and "Cardcaptor Sakura." Manga's popularity continued to grow in the 1990s and 2000s, and it became a global phenomenon. Manga has influenced popular culture in numerous ways, including anime adaptations, video games, and cosplay. In conclusion, manga has a rich and diverse history that spans several centuries. From its humble beginnings as narrative scrolls to its modern-day global popularity, manga has evolved and adapted to suit the tastes of each generation. Manga has had a significant impact on popular culture, and its influence will continue to be felt for generations to come.


bottom of page