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Manga Comics Themes & Popularity

July17/ 2016

Manga comics are considered one of many iconic and modern Japanese art form of expression and visualization. Manga is a Japanese term, which related to creating cartoons, comics or story board. Manga comics have their roots, back to complex traditional Japanese art, of bold expression techniques and symbolism. Manga plays a primary role in every Japanese life. The are read by people of all age groups, largely because marketeers are smart enough to target audience by carefully classifying them in age groups, gender and area of interest.

Manga series cover every aspect of modern and cultural Japanese life. It provides story boards for different aspects of life, like morality, gender, sexuality, child upbringing, religion, science fiction, literature, magical fiction, historical fiction, historical realism, thriller, domestic issues, business principles, law and order and much more.

Manga’s concepts have a strong link to Japanese history. Most of this art form flourished in Occupation and Post-Occupation era. The prior one deals with a hyper militaristic approach and an insecure mind setup, whereas the later one is about ultra-nationalist approach when Japan flourished politically and economically. Modern manga has been shaped by catering these two broad time periods mostly.

The era of Occupation, from period 1945-1952, has large American content to it. It throws light on how America culture affected Japanese cultural psyche and way of life. Manga produced during this period also depicts images and stills of American films, comics and Disney cartoons. In pre-war manga period, tradition and aesthetics of Meiji and pre-Meiji is stressed upon. Most common manga writers of pre-war genre include Adam L. Kern, Frederik L. Schodt and Kinko Ito.

Artistic innovation surely started with post-occupation era of manga production. Using cinematographer techniques, various scenes are expressed as if they are stills of motion picture. The visual dynamism of intermixing zoomed shots and distant shots has been adopted many many modern mangakas (manga artists). Female manga artists have also contributed a lot in innovative visual communication. A female manga group, called Year 24 Group, made a tremendous manga debut in 1969, which gained worldwide popularity. These days, modern female mangakas usually come up with series about women empowerment and shōjo drawings commonly known as ‘Ladies Comics’. Topics usually revolve around super-heroines catering with competent world, understanding of romance and sexuality, etc.

Manga for male targeted audience have different categories and sub-categories. Manga topics usually include space traveling, sports, supernatural fiction, archetypal boy theme, technology, male sexuality, etc. For young boys, numerous manga series have been published with characters like batman, superman and spider-man. Due to freedom of explicit content according to Japanese law, many nude contents have also been a part of manga series, targeted mainly for male audience.

Every year, various exhibitions are organized for manga publicity, not only in Japan but worldwide. United States is one of major manga art promoters. Famous J-pop Summit is organized in San Francisco, which exhibits modern aspects of Japanese culture, manga being prime of them. In 2015, more than 120,000 people attended the summit. It has now become a multi-venue event with different exciting activities, like concerts and film screenings which have dramatically promoted manga art overseas.

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