Home » history of design » Manga


Manga developed over hundreds of years.  A series of drawings of animals in the 12th and 13th century is believed to be the first sign of the manga style in Japan.  It started with drawings on temple walls, on wooden blocks and finally on woodblock prints that were collected in forms of books.  In time the captions of the books became stories and the art became part of the depiction of the story that was told.  By the early 20th century, manga became the main form of literature in most of the Japanese society. As a result of this literature Manga started to produce different types of stories such as fiction and non-fiction, science fiction, love stories and sport.

Manga is defined as a Japanese genre that consists of comic books and graphic novels mostly just in black and white with stylized characters and big doe like eyes.  Manga’s literal meaning is “humorous picture” originating from the humorous pictures of birds and animals in the 12th century.  The techniques used such as how to draw a character’s legs, still appear in the same place in contemporary comics.

From my point of view, manga is still seen in today’s designs.  We are still aware of comic books collected by children and even adults that have an interest in comics. Even movies starts with comic strips or the idea of a story that follows frame by frame.  In the 20th Century comic strips was used by newspapers and magazines to gain readership, but the main contributor to the development of manga is the monthly or weekly comic magazines.  Comic strips are used mostly for entertainment through story telling.


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