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Manga (in kanji, 漫画; in hiragana, まんが; in katakana マンガ) is the Japanese word for print cartoons and comics (komikku コミック).[1][2] Manga are immensely popular in Japan[3][4][5] and, in the past two decades, have become popular worldwide. In the United States, 2008 manga sales exceeded $200 million and have been growing steadily since 2002.[6] Manga have changed the face of the US comics industry, with nearly half (46%) of all US graphic novel sales being manga.[7]

Manga and magazines on sale in Japan.

Manga are usually drawn in black-and-white, and cover a wide variety of topics, from adventure, romance, and horror to sports, science fiction, and explicit sexuality.[2][8][9][10] Readers include people of all ages, from children, to girls and boys, to adult men and women, and drawing styles vary considerably, from intricate and complex page layouts to simple line drawings.[2][8] In Japan, manga are typically published first in magazines and then in paperback books called tankōbon, and, if popular enough, then animated.[11]

Artists outside Japan have adopted many manga techniques.[12][13] Manga-influenced comics include not only work by US artists,[14] but also Korean manhwa[15] and Chinese manhua[16][17] as well as "la nouvelle manga" by Frédèric Boilet and his collaborators.[18] Since May 2007, the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs recognizes excellence for non-Japanese manga in its annual International Manga Award.[19]

Definitions of Manga Genres in Japan and the U.S.

In Japan, manga is classified in ways whose cultural and marketing meanings and implications do not necessarily remain intact after their transpacific voyage. Above all, in Japan, manga are classified by the intended audience or demographic of the magazine where the manga originally appeared.[20][21] These demographics include shōnen, shōjo, seinen, and other manga magazines marketed to boys, girls and young women, and older men. However, for non-Japanese, who are not familiar with Japanese manga magazines and who read manga in translated, graphic novel format, the Japanese system means little.

This fact has not been lost on publishers marketing manga to Anglophone audiences, like the U.S. The large manga publisher Viz Media[22] ignores, perhaps even denies, Japanese criteria for shōjo manga when they define the genre as "Shôjo (sho'jo) n. 1. Manga appealing to both female and male readers. 2. Exciting stories with true-to-life characters and the thrill of exotic locales. 3. Connecting the heart and mind through real human relationships." This "definition", printed on the inside covers of all Viz shōjo manga, is clearly motivated by marketing decisions about manga made for an Anglophone audience, rather than by adherence to preserving original Japanese meanings. In this kind of marketing transnationalism (see below), meanings are adapted to local conditions.

Likewise, U.S. librarians and reviewers, who must classify manga for U.S. readers, often label manga simply by its content, unrelated to magazine-of-origin. Action-adventure involving male heroes, slapstick humor, themes of honor, and sometimes explicit sexuality may be labeled as shōnen manga written for and read by for boys and men. By contrast, romance stories centering on the life and loves of high school girls and adventures of girls and women are usually labeled shōjo manga.[23] Another U.S. classification system is by the age of its intended audience: boys up to 18 years old (shōnen manga) and young men 18- to 30-years old (seinen manga).[24] In Japan, seinen manga are marketed to young men (for whom the kanji are 青年, meaning "youth, young man", roughly "lad") whereas seijin manga are marketed to adult men (from the kanji 成人, meaning "adult") and are frequently sexually explicit.[25][26] U.S. readers would be likely to call such sexually explicit manga for men hentai (変態 , or へんたい).[27] However, despite these terminological niceties, and although they differ in many ways, shōnen, seinen, seijin, and shōjo manga have a great deal in common with each other and with the previous history of Japanese art.

Tradition and Innovation, Continuity and Change

Aren't manga just copies and imitations of U.S. comics? That's easy -- the answer is No. But, still, aren't manga a recent invention? The answer is more complex: Yes and No, as we explain next.

Post-World War II manga are assuredly modern in design, manufacture, and distribution within Japan and, in translation, to the world.[28][29] But even so, the word "manga" itself dates to the late 18th century[30] and was used by the great 18-19th century Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai for some of his drawings and sketches.[31] So the history of manga combines modern innovation rooted in a long history of Japanese cultural and aesthetic traditions.

We begin in modernity. Japanese and non-Japanese scholars have been interested in Japan-U.S. transpacific transnationalism. For Takayumi Tatsumi, transnationalism (or globalization) refers to the flow of cultural and subcultural material from one nation to another and to how artistic, aesthetic, and intellectual traditions influence each other across national boundaries.[32] An example of cultural transnationalism is the creation of Star Wars films in the United States, their transformation into manga by Japanese artists, and the marketing of Star Wars manga to the United States.[33] Another example is the transfer of hip-hop culture from the United States to Japan.[34] Wong also sees a major role for transnationalism in the recent history of manga.[17]

But such cultural flows interact with older local traditions and history ("glocalization," a word combining "globalization" and "local").[17][35] For the years following the war, Schodt sees a particularly significant role for kamishibai, a form of street theater where itinerant artists displayed pictures in a light box while narrating the story to audiences in the street.[2] Kinko Ito roots manga in pre-war art, but sees its history as partly driven by post-World War II consumer enthusiasm for its rich imagery and narrative. She describes how this tradition steadily produced new genres and markets, e.g., for girls' (shōjo) manga in the late 1960s and for Ladies Comics in the 1980s (in Japanese, also called redisu レディース, redikomi レヂィーコミ, and josei 女性 じょせい manga; see below).[36]

These historical processes are not new. From 1862-1887, Briton Charles Wirgman published a Japanese edition of Punch magazine, whose humorous cartoons (ponchi-e) were widely admired and imitated into the early 20th century when Rakuten Kitazawa edited the illustrated humor and satire magazine Tokyo Puck.[37] Katayori Mitsugu, a pioneer manga artist and scholar born in 1921, remembers how the word manga changed over the decades, first referring to Hokusai's work, then to ponchi-e cartoons, and only eventually to modern manga.[38] Likewise, Richard Torrance sees similarities between modern manga and the Osaka popular novel between the 1890s and 1940, and argues that the development of widespread literacy in Meiji and post-Meiji Japan helped create audiences for stories told in words and pictures.[39]

These roots run deeper than the late 19th century. Adam Kern has suggested that kibyōshi, picture books from the late 1700s, may have been the world's first comic books.[30] These graphical narratives, which contain images, dialogue, and text, share with modern manga humorous, satirical, and romantic themes.[30] Although Kern does not believe that kibyōshi were a direct forerunner of manga, for Kern the existence of kibyōshi nonetheless points to a Japanese willingness to mix words and pictures in a popular story-telling medium.[40][41] The first recorded use of the term "manga" to mean "whimsical or impromptu pictures" comes from the kibyōshi tradition in 1798, predating Katsushika Hokusai's better known usage by several decades.[31] Schodt stresses continuities of aesthetic style and vision between Edo-period ukiyo-e and shunga woodblock prints and modern manga[2] (all three fulfill Will Eisner's criteria for sequential art).[42] Schodt points to the existence in the 1200s of illustrated picture scrolls like the Toba-e scrolls that told stories in sequential images with humor and wit.[2] Brigitte Koyama-Richard has analyzed these historical connections in detail, with many illustrations.[10]

Finally, Charles Shirō Inoue sees manga as being a mixture of image- and word-centered elements, each long pre-dating the U.S. occupation of Japan. In his view, Japanese image-centered or "pictocentric" art ultimately derives from Japan's long history of engagement with Chinese graphic art. On the other hand, word-centered or "logocentric" art, like the novel, was stimulated by social and economic needs of Meiji and pre-War Japanese nationalism for a populace unified by a common written language. Both fuse in what Inoue sees as a symbiosis in manga.[43]

So the history of manga is not simple, and it is certainly not a matter of the Japanese copying comics from the G.I.s who occupied Japan or from Walt Disney and other U.S. master comics artists. Instead, the history of manga involves continuities and discontinuities between the Japan's aesthetic and cultural past as it interacted with Meiji, post-Meiji, and post-World War II innovation and transnationalism.

Modern Manga

Modern manga originates in the Occupation (1945-1952) and post-Occupation years (1952-early 1960s), when a previously militaristic and ultranationalist Japan was rebuilding its political and economic infrastructure.[2][44] Although U.S. Occupation censorship policies specifically prohibited art and writing that glorified war and Japanese militarism,[2] those policies did not prevent the publication of other kinds of material, including manga. Furthermore, the 1947 Japanese Constitution (Article 21) prohibited all forms of censorship.[45] One result was an explosion of artistic creativity in this period.[2]

In the forefront of this period are two manga series and characters that influenced much of the future history of manga. These are Osamu Tezuka's Mighty Atom (Astro Boy in the United States; begun in 1951) and Machiko Hasegawa's Sazae-san (begun in 1946).

Astro Boy was both a superpowered robot and a naive little boy.[46] Tezuka never explained why Astro Boy had such a highly developed social conscience nor what kind of robot programming could make him so deeply affiliative.[46] Both seem innate to Astro Boy, and represent a Japanese sociality and community-oriented masculinity differing very much from the Emperor-worship and militaristic obedience enforced during the previous period of Japanese imperialism.[46] Astro Boy quickly became (and remains) immensely popular in Japan and elsewhere as an icon and hero of a new world of peace and the renunciation of war, as also seen in Article 9 of the Japanese constitution.[45][46] Similar themes occur in Tezuka's New World and Metropolis.[2][46]

By contrast, Sazae-san (meaning "Ms. Sazae") was drawn starting in 1946 by Machiko Hasegawa, a young woman artist who made her heroine a stand-in for millions of Japanese men and especially women rendered homeless by the war.[2][8] Sazae-san does not face an easy or simple life, but, like Astro Boy, she too is highly affiliative and is deeply involved with her immediate and extended family. She is also a very strong character, in striking contrast to the officially sanctioned Neo-Confucianist principles of feminine meekness and obedience to the "good wife, wise mother" (ryōsai kenbo, りょうさいけんぼ; 良妻賢母) ideal taught by the previous military regime.[47][48][49] Sazae-san faces the world with cheerful resilience,[8][50] what Hayao Kawai calls a "woman of endurance."[51] Sazae-san sold more than 62 million copies over the next half century.[52]

Although Tezuka and Hasegawa both drew extensively from illustrative and cartoon traditions in Japan, they were also both stylistic innovators. In particular, Tezuka's "cinematographic" technique became very well known.[53] Natsu Onoda[53] suggests that Tezuka's use of film techniques was systematic and thorough-going, involving quotations from film, e.g., from Orson Welles' Citizen Kane and William Wyler's The Best Years of Our Lives; making use of an imaginary camera for framing shots (that is, panels), for establishing movement, and for mimicking the effects of deep focus cinematography[54]; and in the use of a "star system" in which certain manga characters appear in different roles in different stories.[55] Whether by these techniques or the skillful use of existing techniques or both, Tezuka's work has a cinematic dynamism that occurs widely in later manga.[56] Hasegawa's focus on women's daily life and experience also came to characterize later shōjo manga.[8][57][58] Her intense narrative focus on everyday feelings and experience portrayed women's lives as being the dramatic equal of the adventures of male heroes who slay enemies and found empires.

Between 1950 and 1969, increasingly large audiences for manga emerged in Japan with the solidification of its two main marketing genres, shōnen manga aimed at boys and shōjo manga aimed at girls.[2][59][60] Up to 1969, shōjo manga was drawn primarily by adult men for young female readers.[2][59]

Two very popular and influential male-authored manga for girls from this period were Tezuka's 1953-1956 Ribon no Kishi (Princess Knight or Knight in Ribbons) and Matsuteru Yokoyama's 1966 Mahōtsukai Sarii (Little Witch Sally).[2] Ribon no Kishi dealt with the adventures of Princess Sapphire, who had been born in a fantasy kingdom with male and female souls, and whose sword-swinging battles and romances blurred the boundaries of otherwise rigid gender roles.[61] Sarii, the pre-teen princess heroine of Mahōtsukai Sarii,[62][63] came from her home in the magical lands to live on Earth, go to school, and perform a variety of magical good deeds for her friends and schoolmates.[64] Although some U.S. writers feel that Yokoyama's Mahōtsukai Sarii was influenced by the U.S. TV sitcom Bewitched,[65] Sarii is a very different character than Samantha, the protagonist of Bewitched. Samantha is a married woman with her own daughter, but Sarii is a pre-teenager who faces the problems of growing up and mastering the responsibilities of forthcoming adulthood. Mahōtsukai Sarii helped create the now very popular mahō shōjo or "magical girl" subgenre of later manga.[64] Both series were and still are very popular.[2][64]

Shōjo Manga

In 1969, a group of women manga artists later called the Year 24 Group (also known as Magnificent 24s) made their shōjo manga debut (year 24 comes from the Japanese name for 1949, when many of these artists were born).[66][67] The group included Hagio Moto, Riyoko Ikeda, Yumiko Oshima, Keiko Takemiya, and Ryoko Yamagishi[8] and they marked the first major entry of women artists into manga.[2][8] Thereafter, shōjo manga would be drawn primarily by women artists for an audience of girls and young women.[2][59][60]

In 1971, Ikeda began her immensely popular shōjo manga Berusaiyu no Bara (The Rose of Versailles), a story of Oscar François de Jarjayes, a cross-dressing woman who was a Captain in Marie Antoinette's Palace Guards in pre-Revolutionary France.[68][69] In the end, Oscar dies as a revolutionary leading a charge of her troops against the Bastille. Likewise, Hagio Moto's work challenged Neo-Confucianist limits on women's roles and activities [47][48][49] as in her 1975 They Were Eleven, a shōjo science fiction story about a young woman cadet in a future space academy.[70]

These women artists also created considerable stylistic innovations. In its focus on the heroine's inner experiences and feelings, shōjo manga are "picture poems"[71] with delicate and complex designs that often eliminate panel borders completely to create prolonged, non-narrative extensions of time.[2][8][59][60][72] All of these innovations – strong and independent female characters, intense emotionality, and complex design – remain characteristic of shōjo manga up to the present day.[58][73]

Shōjo Manga and Ladies' Comics from 1975 to Today

In the following decades (1975-present), shōjo manga continued to develop stylistically while simultaneously evolving different but overlapping subgenres.[74] Major subgenres have included romance, superheroines, and "Ladies Comics", whose boundaries are sometimes indistinguishable from each other and from shōnen manga.[2][8]

In modern shōjo manga romance, love is a major theme set into emotionally intense narratives of self-realization.[75] Japanese manga/anime critic Eri Izawa defines romance as symbolizing "the emotional, the grand, the epic; the taste of heroism, fantastic adventure, and the melancholy; passionate love, personal struggle, and eternal longing" set into imaginative, individualistic, and passionate narrative frameworks.[76] These romances are sometimes long narratives that can deal with distinguishing between false and true love, coping with sexual intercourse, and growing up in a complex world, themes inherited by subsequent animated versions of the story.[60][75][77] These "coming of age" or bildungsroman[78] themes occur in both shōjo and shōnen manga.[79]

In the bildungsroman, the protagonist must deal with adversity and conflict,[78] and examples in shōjo manga of romantic conflict are common. They include Miwa Ueda's Peach Girl,[80]Mars, by Fuyumi Soryo's Mars,[81] and, for mature readers, Moyoco Anno's Happy Mania,[82] Yayoi Ogawa's Tramps Like Us,[83] and Ai Yazawa's Nana.[84]

In another shōjo manga bildungsroman narrative device, the young heroine is transported to an alien place or time where she meets strangers and must survive on her own. Examples include Hagio Moto's They Were Eleven,[70] Kyoko Hikawa's From Far Away,[85] Yû Watase's Fushigi Yûgi: The Mysterious Play,[86] and Chiho Saitō's The World Exists For Me.[87]

Yet another such device involves meeting unusual or strange people and beings, for example, Natsuki Takaya's Fruits Basket,[88] whose orphaned heroine Tohru must survive living in the woods in a house filled with people who can transform into the animals of the Chinese zodiac. In Harako Iida's Crescent Moon, heroine Mahiru meets a group of supernatural beings, finally to discover that she herself too has a supernatural ancestry when she and a young tengu demon fall in love.[89]

Sugar Sugar Rune, by Moyoco Anno[90] is a good example of an elegantly drawn shōjo manga that combines a number of these techniques. It centers on the life of two best friends, both young teenage girls, the heroine Chocolat [sic], and her best friend Vanilla, who become competing candidates for Queen of the Magical Realm, where Vanilla's mother is already queen. The girls must travel to Earth and to the Dark Realms, where each must battle demons, ogres, giant spiders, and other monsters while Chocolat falls in love with Pierre (a prince of the Dark Realms), tries to find her mother and father, attempts to remain best friends with her rival, Vanilla, and determine if Pierre is actually her brother (he isn't). Throughout, both girls must learn to be self-reliant, courageous, and true to themselves and those they love.

These narratives all stress the value for women and girls of independence, self-confidence, determination, and a steadfast loyalty to friends and family. These are not stories of isolated, alienated young women or girls who live in depression and anomie, but neither are they stories of dreamy happy endings marrying Prince Charming. They display women and girls as active agents of their own destinies, not as pawns of state or masculine power.

With the superheroines, shōjo manga broke away even further from neo-Confucianist norms of female meekness and obedience.[25][60] Naoko Takeuchi's Sailor Moon (Bishōjo Senshi Sēramūn: "Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon")[91] is a sustained, 18-volume narrative about a group of young heroines simultaneously heroic and introspective, active and emotional, dutiful and ambitious.[92][93] The combination proved extremely successful, and Sailor Moon became internationally popular in both manga and anime formats.[92][94] Another example is CLAMP's Magic Knight Rayearth, whose three young heroines, Hikaru, Umi, and Fuu, are magically transported to the world of Cephiro to become armed magical warriors in the service of saving Cephiro from internal and external enemies.[95] They too are active, self-reliant, and loyal to each other and those they love.

The superheroine subgenre also extensively developed the notion of teams (sentai) of girls working together,[96] like the Sailor Senshi in Sailor Moon, the Magic Knights in Magic Knight Rayearth, and the Mew Mew girls from Mia Ikumi's Tokyo Mew Mew.[97] By today, the superheroine narrative template has been widely used (and sometimes parodied) within the shōjo manga tradition, e.g., Nao Yazawa's Wedding Peach[98] and Hyper Rune by Tamayo Akiyama[99] and in bishōjo comedies like Kanan's Galaxy Angel.[100]

In the mid-1980s and thereafter, as girls who had read shōjo manga as teenagers matured and entered the job market, shōjo manga elaborated subgenres directed at women in their 20s and 30s.[74] These "Ladies Comic" or redisu-josei subgenres have dealt with themes of young adulthood: jobs, the emotions and problems of sexual intercourse, and friendships or love among women.[74][101][102][103][104]

Redisu manga retains many of the narrative stylistics of shōjo manga but has been drawn by and written for adult women.[105] Redisu manga and art has been often, but not always, sexually explicit, but sexuality is characteristically set into complex narratives of pleasure and erotic arousal combined with emotional risk.[25][101][102] Examples include Ryō Ramiya's Luminous Girls,[106] Masako Watanabe's Kinpeibai,[107] and the work of Shungicu Uchida.[108][109] Another subgenre of shōjo-redisu manga deals with emotional and sexual relationships among women (akogare and yuri),[110] in work by Erica Sakurazawa,[111] Ebine Yamaji,[112] and Chiho Saito.[113][114][115]

Other subgenres of shōjo-redisu manga have also developed, e.g., fashion (oshare) manga, like Ai Yazawa's Paradise Kiss[116] and horror-vampire-gothic manga, like Matsuri Hino's Vampire Knight,[117] Kaori Yuki's Cain Saga,[118] and Mitsukazu Mihara's DOLL,[119] which interact with street fashions, costume play ("cosplay"), J-Pop music, and goth subcultures in complex ways.[120][121][122]

By the start of the 21st century, manga for women and girls thus represented a broad spectrum of material for pre- and early teenagers to material for adult women. Throughout, women are characteristically portrayed as confronting and overcoming obstacles, thereby to create independent lives for themselves subject to no state rule over them and obeisant to no man. Nor does shōjo manga consign women to domesticity or to love suicide in the manner of Chikamatsu's tragedies.[123] Instead, the heroines of shōjo manga make every effort to follow their own paths and desires. The great power of shōjo manga is not that the heroine finally succeeds, but that the reader sees, step-by-step, how she becomes the independent person she wants to be.

Stylistic Evolution of Girls' and Women's Manga

A comprehensive history of stylistic evolution of shōjo and related manga has yet to be written in English. Nonetheless, certain trends are apparent that, as with all aspects of manga history, combine tradition and innovation.

One trend concerns the fluidity and dissolution of panel borders. Early shōjo manga, like Ribon no Kishi[61] and Mahōtsukai Sarii,[62] were composed of a regular series of rectangular panels with sharply defined borders, a style familiar to U.S. readers from newspaper comic strips and comic books.[72] The great U.S. comics artist Frank Miller, is quoted as saying that "The natural way to read comics is horizontally"[124] while commenting on his own 1998 comic 300.[125] For Christopher Murray, when a viewer reads horizontal panels with clearly defined borders, she or he then perceives a fractured narrative that emerges from an atomized set of individual images as if they had been reflected in a broken mirror.[126][127] The spaces between panels -- called "gutters" -- then act as boundaries interpolated between moments of narrative. For Scott McCloud, the viewer's mental processes fill in motion between panels, a process he calls "closure," to simulate continuity of time and action.[128] For Murray, it follows that "Comics can be said to suture an illusion of continuous reality or narrative sequence by simultaneously drawing together and holding apart the panels."[129] Murray concludes that comics present an "inherently" flawed narrative because although the viewer mentally joins the panels together, such panels do not, and cannot, depict continuous reality.[130]

With the emergence of women-drawn shōjo manga from the late 1960s onwards, images were no longer separated by distinct borders, and what borders did exist were often non-rectangular.[131] Because borders are absent, the same character may appear more than once in the same image, thereby to create a sense not that the character has been reduplicated but that she remains the same no matter where she is. Time is not atomized into distinct frames but becomes continuous, and psychological unity and continuity of apparent movement are created not by a regular succession of film-like images projected onto a rectangular panel or screen, but by showing different aspects of a unitary character as she stops to think, feel, or interact with her world. She remains the same person, because no borders or barriers separate her from her former and future self.

Another evolution was the extensive use of decorative motifs in the drawing. These include flowers, feathers, stars, sparkles, and swirls shared by a multiplicity of images on a single page that cause them to fuse into a coherent visual and psychological statement. Likewise, the heroine's figure can be superimposed over smaller drawings that carry the narrative,[73] thereby making her the common denominator and focus of the smaller drawings and hence centering the narrative on her.

Complementing this focus on the heroine, shōjo manga also frequently employs a rapid alternation of viewpoints between heroine and a man, sometimes within a single image that lacks panel borders. Although alternation of viewpoints occurs in other manga genres and is ultimately a cinematic technique, it is especially striking in shōjo manga, a situation analyzed by manga critic Setsu Shigematsu.[132]

  1. First, we see the heroine looking out of the page towards us. We know that in the story he too sees her, just as we see her -- so we identify with him because we share with him what he sees (= her). We have become a surrogate for him and his gaze resting on her.
  1. Next, we see him. He too is looking directly out of the page, and we know that in the story she sees him. Now our identification switches to her because we share with her what she sees (= him). So we have become a surrogate for her and her gaze resting on him.

This technique places the viewer into the imaginary world of the heroine and the man, where our identifications with him and with her fluctuate rapidly between them.[133] Or she may be looking at another woman -- for example, in the shōjo manga Sugar Sugar Rune, when after many adventures the two heroines are reunited in the final volume.[134] But no matter who is looking at whom, the result is the same: a strikingly increased sense of psychological and emotional reality shared among the protagonists and the viewer.

Shōjo manga has deployed a variety of techniques for telling stories about girls and women and for bringing the viewer into close, sometimes quite intimate understanding of the heroine. Whereas these techniques are used in film, in other manga and have precedents in older Japanese art, they have also evolved extensively during the history of manga for girls and women.

Shōnen, Seinen, and Seijin Manga

Boys and young men were among the earliest readers of manga after World War II.[135] From the 1950s on, shōnen manga focused on topics thought to interest the archetypical boy: sci-tech subjects like robots and space travel, and heroic action-adventure.[136] Shōnen and seinen manga narratives often portray challenges to the protagonist’s abilities, skills, and maturity, stressing self-perfection, austere self-discipline, sacrifice in the cause of duty, and honorable service to society, community, family, and friends.[135][137]

Manga with solitary costumed superheroes like Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man did not become popular as a shōnen genre.[135] An exception is Kia Asamiya's Batman: Child of Dreams, released in the U.S. by DC Comics and in Japan by Kodansha.[138] However, lone heroes occur in Takao Saito's Golgo 13[139] and Koike and Kojima's Lone Wolf and Cub.[140] Golgo 13 is about an assassin who puts his skills to the service of world peace and other social goals, and Ogami Itto, the swordsman-hero of Lone Wolf and Cub, is a widower caring for his son Daigoro while he seeks vengeance against his wife's murderers. However, Golgo and Itto remain men throughout and neither hero ever displays superpowers. Instead, these stories "journey into the hearts and minds of men" by remaining on the plane of human psychology and motivation.[141]

Many shōnen manga have science fiction and technology themes. Early examples in the robot subgenre included Tezuka’s Astro Boy and Fujiko F. Fujio’s 1969 Doraemon, about a robot cat and the boy he lives with.[142] The robot theme evolved extensively, starting with Mitsuteru Yokoyama's 1956 Gigantor to the elaborate robots and mecha of stories like Gundam.[143] Schodt shows a 1943 Japanese propaganda drawing with a robot stamping on an enemy city.[144] The battle-robot theme frequently appears in post-war manga like Neon Genesis Evangelion and live-action films like Casshern. These robot/mecha stories can be quite complex because the protagonist must not merely defeat enemies, but also learn to master himself and cooperate with the mecha he controls. Part of the tragedy of Neon Genesis Evangelion is that Shinji struggles -- and fails -- against the enemy, against his own mecha, and against his own hatreds for his father.[145] These narratives are not mere technology, but explore, sometimes deeply, the psychology of the human-robot interface.

Sports themes are also popular in manga for male readers.[135] These stories stress self-discipline, depicting not only the excitement of sports competition but also character traits the hero needs to transcend his limitations and to triumph.[135] Examples include boxing, e.g., Tetsuya Chiba’s 1968-1973 Tomorrow's Joe[146] and Rumiko Takahashi's 1987 One-Pound Gospel,[147] and basketball, e.g., Takehiko Inoue’s 1990 Slam Dunk.[148][149]

Supernatural settings have been another source of action-adventure plots in shõnen and some shõjo manga in which the hero must master challenges. Sometimes the protagonist fails, as in Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata's Death Note, where protagonist Light Yagami receives a notebook from a Death God (shinigami) that kills anyone whose name is written in it,[150] and, in a shōjo manga example, Hakase Mizuki's The Demon Ororon, whose protagonist abandons his demonic kingship of Hell to live and die on earth.[151] Sometimes the protagonist himself is supernatural, like Kohta Hirano's Hellsing, whose vampire hero Alucard battles reborn Nazis hellbent on conquering England,[152] but the hero may also be (or was) human, battling an ever-escalating series of supernatural enemies. Examples include Hiromu Arakawa's Fullmetal [sic] Alchemist,[153] Nobuyuki Anzai's Flame of Recca,[154] and Tite Kubo's Bleach.[155]

Military action-adventure stories set in the modern world, for example, about World War II, remained under suspicion of glorifying Japan’s Imperial history[135] and have not become a significant part of the shōnen manga repertoire.[135] Nonetheless, stories about fantasy or historical military adventure were not stigmatized, and manga about heroic warriors and martial artists have been extremely popular.[135] Some are serious dramas, like Sanpei Shirato's The Legend of Kamui[156] and Rurouni Kenshin by Nobuhiro Watsuki.[157] but others contain strongly humorous elements, like Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball.[158]

Although stories about modern war and its weapons do exist, they deal as much or more with the psychological and moral problems of war as they do with sheer shoot-'em-up adventure.[135] Examples include Seiho Takizawa's Heart of Darkness, a retelling of Joseph Conrad's story but about a renegade Japanese colonel set in World War II Burma,[159] Kaiji Kawaguchi's The Silent Service, about a Japanese nuclear submarine,[160] and Motofumi Kobayashi's Apocalypse Meow, about the Vietnam War told in talking animal format.[161] Other battle and fight-oriented manga are complex stories of criminal and espionage conspiracies to be overcome by the protagonist, such as City Hunter by Hojo Tsukasa,[162] Fist of the North Star by Buronson,[163] and a shōjo example, From Eroica with Love by Yasuko Aoike, a long-running crime-espionage story combining adventure, action, and humor.[164]

For manga critics Koji Aihara and Kentaro Takekuma,[165] such battle stories endlessly repeat the same mindless themes of violence, which they sardonically label the "Shonen Manga Plot Shish Kebob", where fights follow fights like meat skewered on a stick.[166] Other commentators suggest that fight sequences and violence in comics serve as a social outlet for otherwise dangerous impulses.[167] Shōnen manga and its extreme warriorship have been parodied, for example, in Mine Yoshizaki's screwball comedy Sergeant Frog (Keroro Gunso), about a platoon of slacker alien frogs who invade the Earth and end up free-loading off the Hinata family in Tokyo.[168]


Gekiga literally means "drama pictures" and refers to a form of aesthetic realism in manga.[169][170] Gekiga style drawing is emotionally dark, often starkly realistic, sometimes very violent, and focuses on the day-in, day-out grim realities of life, often drawn in gritty and unpretty fashions.[169][171] Gekiga arose in the late 1950s and 1960s partly from left-wing student and working class political activism[169][172] and partly from the aesthetic dissatisfaction of young manga artists like Yoshihiro Tatsumi with existing manga.[173][174] Examples include Sampei Shirato's 1959-1962 Chronicles of a Ninja's Military Accomplishments (Ninja Bugeichō), the story of Kagemaru, the leader of a peasant rebellion in the 1500s, which dealt directly with oppression and class struggle,[175] and Hiroshi Hirata's Satsuma Gishiden, about uprisings against the Tokugawa shogunate.[176]

As the social protest of these early years waned, gekiga shifted in meaning towards socially conscious, mature drama and towards the avant-garde.[171][174][177] Examples include Koike and Kojima's Lone Wolf and Cub[140][178] and Akira, an apocalyptic tale of motorcycle gangs, street war, and inexplicable transformations of the children of a future Tokyo.[179] Another example is Osamu Tezuka's 1976 manga MW, a bitter story of the aftermath of the storage and possibly deliberate release of poison gas by U.S. armed forces based in Okinawa years after World War II.[180] The social consciousness embodied in gekiga remains alive in modern-day manga. An example is IWGP: Ikebukuro West Gate Park from 2001 by Ira Ishida and Sena Aritou, a story of street thugs, rape, and vengeance set on the social margins of the wealthy Ikebukuro district of Tokyo.[181]


(CC) Image: Timothy Perper
Coffee mug from 2001 "YAOI Con" convention.

YAOI -- pronounced "ya-oh-ee" -- is an acronym for yamanashi, ochinashi, iminashi meaning "no climax, no punchline, no meaning" that refers to manga portraying romantic and often sexual relationships between two men.[182] YAOI and the closely related genres known as "Boy's Love," "BL," and shōnen-ai manga[183] are drawn and read mostly by women, not gay men.[184][185][186][187] The term YAOI was coined around 1980 by Yasuko Sakata and Akiko Hatsu.[188]

Keiko Takemiya's 1976 Kaze to Ki no Uta (A Song of Wind and Trees) was the first commercially drawn manga showing "boy's love," involving strikingly handsome young men living in a French boarding school.[189] Over the next three decades, YAOI and BL manga became extremely popular not only in Japan but elsewhere in the world.[190] YAOI and related subgenres have large fanbases and their own fan conventions,[191] and as of October 4, 2008, a Google search for YAOI returned nearly 15 million hits. Robin Brenner has provided a list of recommended titles in her book for librarians.[192]

YAOI and its related genres have evoked considerable discussion. In May 1992, gay male activist Masaki Satō triggered a long-running debate among YAOI fans and gay male writers about the failure of YAOI to represent accurately the lives of gay men, of promoting instead an idealized but destructive image of gay male life as wealthy and comfortable, and of ignoring anti-gay prejudice, all in the name of providing women with masturbatory fantasy material.[193] Although YAOI fans and artists counterargued that YAOI was intended not as education for gay men, but was essentially harmless entertainment for its readers, the debate continued for some years.[193]

Women writers have commented extensively on YAOI. For example, Kazuko Suzuki sees YAOI as opposing heterosexist male ideals.[194] Yet other writers have proposed that fiction depicting male homosexuality for women readers ("slash" fiction, of which YAOI is one kind[195]) is attractive to women because evolved female psychosexuality creates a desire to root sexual relationships in tested and trustworthy friendships.[196] Thorn has suggested that the complex phenomena of YAOI and slash fiction indicate that women fans are discontented with “the standards of femininity to which they are expected to adhere and a social environment that does not validate or sympathize with that discontent.”[197][198]

Others have likened drawing and reading YAOI to playing with dolls, where the woman can make the dolls do whatever she wants.[199] In this view, reading YAOI is sexy, fun, and powerful.

Sex and Women's Roles in Modern Manga

In early shōnen manga, men and boys played all the major roles, with women and girls having only auxiliary places as sisters, mothers, and occasionally girlfriends. Of the nine cyborgs in Shotaro Ishinomori's 1964 Cyborg 009, only one is female, and she soon vanishes from the action.[200] Some recent shōnen manga virtually omit women, e.g., the martial arts story Baki the Grappler by Itagaki Keisuke[201] and the supernatural fantasy Sand Land by Akira Toriyama.[202] However, by the 1980s, girls and women began to play increasingly important roles in shōnen manga, for example, Toriyama's 1980 Dr. Slump, whose main character is the mischievous and powerful girl robot Arale Norimaki.[203]

The role of girls and women in manga for male readers has evolved considerably since Arale. One class is the pretty girl (bishōjo).[204] Sometimes the woman is unattainable, but she is always an object of the hero's emotional and sexual interest, like Belldandy from Oh My Goddess! by Kosuke Fujishima[205] and Shao-lin from Guardian Angel Getten by Minene Sakurano.[206] In other stories, the hero is surrounded by such girls and women, as in Negima!: Magister Negi by Ken Akamatsu[207] and Hanaukyo Maid Team by Morishige.[208] The male protagonist does not always succeed in forming a relationship with the woman, for example when Bright Honda and Aimi Komori fail to bond in Shadow Lady by Masakazu Katsura.[209] In other cases, a successful couple's sexual activities are depicted or implied, like Outlanders by Johji Manabe.[210] In still other cases, the initially naive and immature hero grows up to become a man by learning how to deal and live with women emotionally and sexually, like Yota in Video Girl Ai by Masakazu Katsura,[211] Train Man in Train Man: Densha Otoko by Hidenori Hara,[212] and Makoto in Manga Sutra (Step Up Love Story: Futari H) by Katsu Aki.[213][214] In poruno- and eromanga (seijin manga), often called hentai manga in the U.S., a sexual relationship is taken for granted and depicted explicitly, as in work by Toshiki Yui [215] and in Were-Slut by Jiro Chiba[216] and Slut Girl by Isutoshi.[217] The result is a wide range of depictions of boys and men from naive to very experienced sexually.

With the relaxation of censorship in Japan after the early 1990s, a wide variety of explicitly drawn sexual themes appeared in manga that correspondingly occur in English translations.[26] These depictions occur in manga for adult men and for adult women, and range from mild partial nudity through implied and explicit sexual intercourse through bondage and sadomasochism (SM), zoophilia (bestiality), incest, and rape.[218] In some cases, rape and lust murder themes came to the forefront, as in Urotsukidoji by Toshio Maeda[219][220] and Blue Catalyst from 1994 by Kei Taniguchi,[221] but these extreme themes are not commonplace in either untranslated or translated manga.[26][222]

Warrior Women

Heavily armed female warriors (bishōjo senshi or sentō bishōjo) represent another class of girls and women in manga for both male and female readers. These women range from sword-swinging superheroines who battle demons, to beautiful, powerful women armed to the teeth and extremely dangerous, to cyborg warrior girls.[223][224][225][226] The superheroines include Sailor Moon[91] and Hikaru, Umi, and Fuu, the heroines of Magic Knight Rayearth[95] mentioned previously. The superheroines share the battle stage not only with cyborg girl warriors like Chise from Saikano[227] and the assassins of Gunslinger Girl,[228] but also with grown women, some human (Attim M-Zak,[229] Karula Olzen[230]) and some cyborg, like Alita from Battle Angel Alita by Yukito Kishiro[231] and Motoko Kusanagi from Masamune Shirow's Ghost in the Shell.[232] Still others are supernatural (Shana, from Shakugan no Shana)[233] but they are all powerful, very competent, and strikingly beautiful.

References and Notes

Please do not change the reference formatting. See Manga/About this Article for an explanation why the styles below are being used.

  1. Lent, John A. 2001. "Introduction." In John A. Lent, editor. Illustrating Asia: Comics, Humor Magazines, and Picture Books. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai'i Press. pp. 3-4. ISBN 0-8248-2471-7.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 Schodt, Frederik L. 1986. Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics. Tokyo: Kodansha. ISBN 4-7700-1252-7.
  3. Schodt, 1986, op. cit., Chapter 1, pp. 12-27.
  4. Thorn, Matt September 29, 2008. "Just how much do those Japanese read manga?" (Accessed October 3, 2008)
  5. Thorn, Matt September 29, 2008 "More stats on manga reading in Japan." (Accessed October 3, 2008)
  6. "Manga market growth rate slows." ICv2 Guide to Manga, Sep/Oct. 2008, Number 57, p. 4.
  7. "Graphic novels hit $375 million." ICv2 Guide to Graphic Novels, Fall. 2008, Number 55, p. 4.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 8.8 Gravett, Paul. 2004. Manga: Sixty Years of Japanese Comics. NY: Harper Design. ISBN 1-85669-391-0. p. 8.
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  12. In this article, we use the term manga to refer only to Japanese comics, and will say "manga-like" or "manga-influenced" or "Original English Language manga" ("OEL") for work done outside Japan.
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  21. For a list of magazine demographics, see (Accessed December 25, 2007)
  22. Viz is the U.S. marketing arm of Japanese publishers Shogakukan and Shueisha. Official website:; see also (both accessed October 7, 2008)
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  27. "In English, fans started using it [hentai] as a catchall to describe all adult Japanese anime, games and comics." Quoted from (Accessed October 4, 2008). See also (Accessed October 4, 2008)
  28. Kinsella, 2000, op. cit.
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  54. Deep focus (live-action) cinematography gives effects closely related to animation techniques using the multiplanar camera; see Thomas Lamarre. 2006. "The multiplanar image." Mechademia: An Academic Forum for Anime, Manga, and the Fan Arts, 1:120-143.
  55. Such as the character Rock Home, who appears repeatedly in Tezuka's oeuvre; Onoda, op. cit., 185-189.
  56. Schodt, 1996, op. cit., pp. 22-28, especially the figure on p. 27.
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  62. 62.0 62.1 Mahōtsukai Sarii, by Mitsuteru Yokoyama. Reprint, 2007. Tokyo: Kodansha. ISBN 978-4-06-364685-6.
  63. Sarii is the Japanese spelling and pronunciation of the English-language name "Sally." The word mahōtsukai literally means "magic operator," someone who can use and control magic. It does not mean "witch" or "magical girl" (which is mahō shōjo in Japanese), because tsukai is not a gendered word in Japanese. This use of an English-language name with a Japanese descriptive word is an example of transnationalism in Tatsumi's sense.
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  78. 78.0 78.1 Literally, in German, bildungs = education and roman = novel, hence a novel about the education of the protagonist in "the ways of the world." Franco Moretti. 1987. The Way of the World: The Bildungsroman in European Culture. London: Verso. ISBN 1-85984-298-4.
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  81. Mars, by Fuyumi Soryo. Los Angeles: Tokyopop, 2002-2003. See also (Accessed September 30, 2008)
  82. Happy Mania, by Moyoco Anno. Los Angeles: Tokyopop, Vols. 1-11, 2003-2004. See also (Accessed September 30, 2008)
  83. Tramps Like Us, by Yayoi Ogawa. Los Angeles: Tokyopop, Vols. 1-12, 2004-2007. See also (Accessed September 26, 2007)
  84. Nana, by Ai Yazawa. San Francisco: Viz, Vols. 1-ongoing, 2007. See also (Accessed September 30, 2008)
  85. From Far Away, by Kyoko Hikawa. San Francisco: Viz, Vols. 1-14, 2004-2006. See also (Accessed September 30, 2008)
  86. Fushigi Yûgi: The Mysterious Play, by Yû Watase. San Francisco: Viz, Vols. 1-9, 1999-2001. See also (Accessed September 26, 2007)
  87. The World Exists For Me, by Chiho Saitō and Be-PaPas. Los Angeles: Tokyopop, 2 Vols., 2005-2006. See also (Accessed September 30, 2008)
  88. Fruits Basket, by Natsuki Takaya. Los Angeles: Tokyopop, Vols. 1-20, 2004-2008. See also (Accessed September 30, 2008)
  89. Crescent Moon, by Harako Iida. Los Angeles: Tokyopop, 6 Vols., 2004-2005. See also (Accessed September 30, 2008)
  90. Sugar Sugar Rune, by Moyoco Anno. 8 Vols. NY: Del Rey/Random House. See also (Accessed October 7, 2008)
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  98. Wedding Peach, by Nao Yazawa. San Francisco: Viz, 6 Vols., 2003-2004. See also (Accessed September 30, 2008)
  99. Hyper Rune, by Tamayo Akiyama. Los Angeles: Tokyopop, 4 Vols., 2004-2005. See also (Accessed September 26, 2007)
  100. Galaxy Angel, by Kanan. Los Angeles: Broccoli Books, 5 Vols., 2004-2005. See also (Accessed September 30, 2008)
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  106. Ryō Ramiya. (no date). "Luminous Girls." Tokyo: France Shoin Comic House. ISBN 4-8296-8201-9.
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  108. Schodt, 1996, op. cit., pp. 173-177.
  109. Shamoon, Deborah. 2003. "Focalization and narrative voice in the novels and comics of Uchida Shungicu." International Journal of Comic Art, 5:147-160.
  110. Bando, Kishiji. "Shoujo yuri manga guide." (Accessed October 5, 2008)
  111. Lehmann, Timothy R. 2005. Manga: Masters of the Art. NY: Collins Design. "Sakurazawa Erica," pp. 154-169. ISBN 0-06-08331-9. See also (Accessed September 30, 2008)
  112. For Ebine Yamaji see "Fan translations of Ebine Yamaji's yuri manga." (Accessed September 26, 2007)
  113. For Chiho Saito see (Accessed September 30, 2008)
  114. Kotani, Mari 2006. "Metamorphosis of the Japanese girl: The girl, the hyper-girl, and the battling beauty." Mechademia, An Academic Forum for Anime, Manga, and the Fan Arts, 1:162-169.
  115. Perper, Timothy & Martha Cornog. 2006. "In the sound of the bells: Freedom and revolution in Revolutionary Girl Utena." Mechademia, An Academic Forum for Anime, Manga, and the Fan Arts, 1:183-186.
  116. Paradise Kiss, by Ai Yazawa. Los Angeles: Tokyopop, 5 Vols., 2002-2004. See also (Accessed September 30, 2008)
  117. For Vampire Knight see (Accessed September 26, 2007)
  118. For Cain see (Accessed September 26, 2007)
  119. DOLL, by Mitsukazu Mihara. Los Angeles: Tokyopop, Vols. 1-6, 2004-2005. See also (Accessed October 1, 2008)
  120. Shoichi Aoki. 2001. Fruits. New York: Phaidon Press. ISBN 0-7148-4083-1.
  121. Winge, Theresa. 2006. "Costuming the imagination: Origins of anime and manga cosplay." Mechademia: An Academic Forum for Anime, Manga, and the Fan Arts, 1:65-76.
  122. Macias, Patrick, Izumi Evers and Kazumi Nonaka. 2004. Japanese Schoolgirl Inferno: Tokyo Teen Fashion Subculture Handbook. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books. ISBN 978-0-8118-5690-4.
  123. Shirane, Haruo. 2002. Early Modern Japanese Literature: An Anthology, 1600-1900. NY: Columbia University Press. pp. 241-243. ISBN 978-0-231-10991-1.
  124. Page 385 in Frank Verano. 2006. "Spectacular Consumption: Visuality, Production, and the Consumption of the Comics Page." International Journal of Comic Art, 8(1):378-387.
  125. Blackmore, Tim. 2004. "300 AND TWO: Frank Miller and Daniel Ford Interpret Herodotus's Thermopylae Myth." International Journal of Comic Art, 6(2):325-349.
  126. Murray, Christopher. 2006. "Superman vs Imago: Superheroes, Lacan, and Mediated Identity." International Journal of Comic Art, 4(2):186-208. p. 186.
  127. Fracturing refers to the image on paper, and not to the character's disintegration over the course of the story. Julia Round, 2005, discusses such characterological issues in "Fragmented Identity: The Superhero Condition." International Journal of Comic Art, 7(2):358-369.
  128. McCloud, 1993, op. cit., pp. 63-68; 107.
  129. Murray, 2006, op. cit., p. 199. Emphasis added.
  130. Murray, 2006, op. cit., p. 199.
  131. Ikeda's 1972 Rose of Versailles (Berusaiyu no Bara) uses borderless images extensively; see Schodt, 1986, op. cit., pp. 215-237, for examples.
  132. Shigematsu, Setsu. 1999. "Dimensions of Desire: Sex, Fantasy, and Fetish in Japanese comics." In John A. Lent, editor. Themes and Issues in Asian Cartooning: Cute, Cheap, Mad, and Sexy. Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green State University Popular Press. pp. 127-163. ISBN 0-87972-780-2.
  133. See Figure 1 in Shigematsu, 1999, op. cit.
  134. Sugar Sugar Rune, op. cit. Counting backward from the last page, two examples occur at 8, 9, and 10 pages and at 19, 20, and 21 pages from the end of the final volume (volume 8).
  135. 135.0 135.1 135.2 135.3 135.4 135.5 135.6 135.7 135.8 Schodt, 1986, op. cit., chapter 3, pp. 68-87.
  136. Schodt, 1986, op. cit., chapter 3; Gravett, 2004, op. cit., chapter. 5, pp. 52-73.
  137. Brenner, 2007, op. cit., p. 31.
  138. Batman, Child of Dreams, by Kia Asamiya. NY: DC Comics, 1 Vol., 2003; originally published by Kodansha, 2000. See also and (Accessed December 28, 2007)
  139. Golgo 13, by Takao Saito. San Francisco: Viz, 13 Vols., 2006-2008. See also (Accessed October 1, 2008)
  140. 140.0 140.1 Lone Wolf and Cub, by Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima. Milwaukie, OR: Dark Horse, 28 Vols., 2000-2002. See also (Accessed October 1, 2008).
  141. The quoted phrase is from (Accessed December 28, 2007)
  142. Schodt, 1996, op. cit., pp. 216-220.
  143. Schodt, Frederik L. 1988. "Robots of the Imagination." In Inside the Robot Kingdom: Japan, Mechatronics, and the Coming Robotopia. Chapter 4, pp. 73-90. Tokyo: Kodansha International. ISBN 4-7700-1354-X.
  144. Schodt, 1988, op. cit., p. 74.
  145. Shiinji's failed struggle with his father characterizes anime and manga both. Neon Genesis Evangelion, by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto. San Francisco: Viz, Vols. 1-10, 2006. See also (Accessed December 28, 2007)
  146. Schodt, 1986, op. cit., p. 84-85; see also (Accessed December 28, 2007)
  147. One-Pound Gospel, by Rumiko Takahashi. San Francisco: Viz. 3 Vols., 1996-1998. See also (Accessed October 1, 2008)
  148. Slam Dunk, by Inoue Takehiko. Raijin Comics (anthology magazine), Issues 2-39, 2002-2003. See also (Accessed October 1, 2008)
  149. Masanao, 2004, op. cit., pp. 92-95.
  150. Death Note, by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata. San Francisco: Viz, Vols. 1-13, 2005-2007. See also (Accessed September 30, 2008)
  151. The Demon Ororon, by Hakase Mizuki. Los Angeles: Tokyopop, 2004, 4 Vols. See also (Accessed September 30, 2008)
  152. Hellsing, by Kohta Hirano. Milwaukie, OR: Dark Horse, Vols. 1-8, 2003-2007. See also (Accessed September 30, 2008)
  153. Fullmetal Alchemist, by Hiromu Arakawa. San Francisco: Viz, 2005. See also (Accessed September 30, 2008)
  154. Flame of Recca, by Noboyuki Anzai. San Francisco: Viz, 2003-2008. See also (Accessed September 30, 2008)
  155. Bleach, by Tite Kubo. San Francisco: Viz, 2004-2008. See also (Accessed December 28, 2007)
  156. The Legend of Kamui, by Sanpei Shirato. San Francisco: Viz. See also (Accessed December 28, 2007)
  157. Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Swordsman Romantic Story, by Nobuhiro Watsuki. San Francisco: Viz, 2004-on-going. See also (Accessed September 30, 2008)
  158. Dragon Ball, by Akira Toriyama. San Francisco: Viz. See also (Accessed December 28, 2007)
  159. In Who Fighter, by Seiho Takizawa. Milwaukie, OR: Dark Horse, 1 Volume, 2006. See also (Accessed December 28, 2007)
  160. "Silent Service," (Chinmoku no Kantai 沈黙の艦隊) by Kaiji (開治) Kawaguchi (川口).Tokyo: Kodansha, begun in 1989. See (Accessed September 30, 2008)
  161. Apocalypse Meow, by Motofumi Kobayashi. Houston, TX: ADV Manga. 2004-on-going. See also (Accessed December 28, 2007)
  162. City Hunter, by Hojo Tsukasa. Raijin Comics (anthology magazine), issues 0—39, 2002-2003. See also (Accessed December 28, 2007)
  163. Fist of the North Star, by Buronson and Hara Testuo; various volumes published by Viz and by Gutsoon. See (Accessed October 1, 2008)
  164. Eroica is a good example of how these themes occur across genres of manga. From Eroica with Love, by Aoike Yasuko. NY: CMX/DC Comics. See also (Accessed December 28, 2007)
  165. Aihara, Koji and Kentaro Takekuma. 1990/2002. Even a Monkey Can Draw Manga. San Francisco: Viz. pp. 53-63. ISBN 1-56931-863-8.
  166. Aihara & Takekuma, 1990/2002. op. cit., illustration on p. 59.
  167. Berek-Lewis, Jason. July 13, 2005. Comics in an Age of Terror. (Accessed December 25, 2007)
  168. Sergeant Frog, by Mine Yoshizaki. Los Angeles: Tokyopop, 2004-2008. See also (Accessed October 1, 2008)
  169. 169.0 169.1 169.2 Schodt, 1986, op. cit., pp. 68-73.
  170. Gravett, 2004, op. cit., pp. 38-42.
  171. 171.0 171.1 Gravett, Paul. (no date). "Gekiga: The Flipside of Manga." (Accessed December 20, 2007)
  172. Isao, Shimizu. 2001."Red Comic Books: The Origins of Modern Japanese Manga." In John A. Lent, editor Illustrating Asia: Comics, Humor Magazines, and Picture Books. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0-8248-2471-7.
  173. Isao, 2001, op. cit., pp. 147-149.
  174. 174.0 174.1 Nunez, Irma. 2006. "Alternative Comics Heroes: Tracing the Genealogy of Gekiga." The Japan Times, (Accessed December 19, 2007)
  175. Schodt, 1986, op. cit., pp. 70-71.
  176. Satsuma Gishiden, by Hiroshi Hirata. Milwaukie,OR: Dark Horse, 2006. See also and (Accessed December 19, 2007)
  177. Udagawa, Takeo. 2007. "Home Manga Zombie: Manga Zombie - Preface." (Accessed December 19, 2007)
  178. Schodt, 1986, op. cit., p. 72.
  179. Akira, by Katsuhiro Otomo. Milwaukie, OR: Dark Horse, 6 Vols., 2000-2002. See also (Accessed October 2, 2008)
  180. MW, by Osamu Tezuka. NY: Vertical, 1 Volume, 2007. See also (Accessed October 2, 2008)
  181. IWGP: Ikebukuro West Gate Park, by Ira Iishida and Sena Aritou. Gardena, CA: Digital Manga, 2004-2005. See also (Accessed October 2, 2008)
  182. Schodt, 1996, op. cit., p 37.
  183. Fans of these genres make detailed and complex distinctions among them, but in this article we will discuss them together. See for examples. (Accessed October 11, 2008)
  184. Brenner, 2007, op. cit.
  185. Brenner, Robin. September 15, 2007. "Romance by any other name." Library Journal, 132:44.
  186. McLelland, Mark. 2005."The World of Yaoi: The Internet, Censorship and the Global “Boys’ Love” Fandom." Fulltext pdf available at (accessed October 4, 2008). Originally published by The Australian Feminist Law Journal, 23, 2005, 61-77.
  187. McHarry, Mark. 2003. "Yaoi: Redrawing Male Love." Originally published in The Guide, a Boston-based gay magazine; see (Both accessed October 5, 2008).
  188. Kotani, Mari. 2007. "Introduction" to "Otaku Sexuality" by Tamaki Saitō. pp. 222-224. See p. 223. In Christopher Bolton, Istvan Csicsery-Ronay Jr., and Takayuki Tatsumi, editors. Robot Ghosts and Wired Dreams. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 0-8166-4974-X.
  189. Schodt, 1986, op. cit., pp. 100-103.
  190. Toku, Masami. 2007. "Shojo manga! Girls' Comics! A Mirror of Girls' Dreams." Mechademia: An Academic Forum for Anime, Manga, and the Fan Arts, 2:19-32. p. 27.
  191. See for information about one such annual convention. (Accessed October 10, 2008)
  192. Brenner, 2007, op. cit., pp. 137-139.
  193. 193.0 193.1 Vincent, Keith. 2007. "A Japanese Electra and Her Queer Progeny." Mechademia: An Academic Forum for Anime, Manga, and the Fan Arts, 2:64-79.
  194. Suzuki, Kazuko. 1999. "Pornography or Therapy? Japanese Girls Creating the Yaoi Phenomenon". In Sherrie Inness, Editor. Millennium Girls: Today's Girls Around the World. London: Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 243-267. ISBN 0-8476-9137-3.
  195. "Yaoi is equivalent to 'slash' in English but with certain cultural differences." From, under "Yaoi." (Accessed October 11, 2008)
  196. Salmon, Catherine and Don Symons. 2004. "Slash Fiction and Human Mating Psychology." J. Sex Research, 41:94-100).
  197. Thorn, Matthew. 1993. "Unlikely Explorers: Alternative Narratives of Love, Sex, Gender, and Friendship in Japanese Girls' Comics." New York Conference on Asian Studies, New Paltz, New York, October 16, 1993.
  198. Thorn, Matthew. 2004. "Girls And Women Getting Out Of Hand: The Pleasure And Politics Of Japan's Amateur Comics Community." Available at (Accessed October 5, 2008).
  199. The quote about dolls is attributed to Yoshihiro Yonezawa. See Kat Avila. January 2005. "Boy's Love and Yaoi Revisited." (accessed October 5, 2008).
  200. Cyborg 009, by Shotaro Ishinomori. Los Angeles: Tokyopop, 2003-2004. See also (Accessed December 28, 2007)
  201. Baki the Grappler, by Itagaki Keisuke. Raijin Comics (anthology magazine), Issues 1-39, 2002-2003. See also (Accessed December 28, 2007)
  202. Sand Land, by Akira Toriyama. San Francisco: Viz, 1 Vol., 2003. See also (Accessed December 28, 2007)
  203. Dr. Slump, by Akira Toriyama. San Francisco: Viz, 2006-2008. See also (Accessed December 27, 2007)
  204. For multiple meanings of bishōjo, see Perper & Cornog, 2002, op. cit., pp. 60-63.
  205. Oh My Goddess! by Kosuke Fujishima. Milwaukie, OR: Dark Horse, 1996 on-going. See also (Accessed December 28, 2007)
  206. Guardian Angel Getten, by Sakurano Minene. Raijin Graphic Novels/Gutsoon! Entertainment, Vols. 1-4, 2003-2004. See also (Accessed December 28, 2007)
  207. Negima, by Ken Akamatsu. New York: Del Rey, 2004-2007. See also (Accessed December 28, 2007)
  208. Hanaukyo Maid Team, by Morishige. Fredericksburg, VA: Studio Ironcat, 2003-2004. See also (Accessed December 28, 2007)
  209. Shadow Lady, by Masakazu Katsura. Milwaukie, OR: Dark Horse, 1998-2000. See also (Accessed December 28, 2007)
  210. Outlanders, by Johji Manabe. Milwaukie, OR: Dark Horse, 1996-2000. See also
  211. Video Girl Ai, by Masakazu Katsura. San Francisco: Viz, 13 Vols., 1999-2005. (Accessed December 28, 2007).
  212. Train_Man: Densha Otoko, by Hidenori Hara. Viz, 3 Vols., 2006. See also (Accessed October 1, 2008)
  213. Manga Sutra or Step Up Love Story: Futari H, by Katsu Aki. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. 2007 on-going. See also (Accessed October 1, 2008)
  214. Perper, Timothy and Martha Cornog. 2007. "The education of desire: Futari etchi and the globalization of sexual tolerance." Mechademia: An Annual Forum for Anime, Manga, and Fan Arts, 2:201-214.
  215. For Toshiki Yui see and see (Accessed December 28, 2007)
  216. Were-Slut, by Jiro Chiba. Eros Comix, Nos. 1-8, 2001-2002. See also (Accessed December 28, 2007)
  217. Slut Girl, by Isutoshi. Eros Comix, 2000. See also (Accessed December 28, 2007)
  218. Perper, Timothy and Martha Cornog. 2003. "Sex, love, and women in Japanese comics." In Robert T. Francoeur and Raymond Noonan, editors. The Comprehensive International Encyclopedia of Sexuality. New York: Continuum. Vol. 2, pages 663-671. ISBN 0-8264-0839-7. Section 8D in (Accessed December 28, 2007)
  219. Urotsukidoji: Legend of the Overfiend, by Toshio Maeda. NY: CPM Manga, 1998. See also (Accessed December 28, 2007)
  220. Clements, Jonathan. 1998. "'Tits and Tentacles': Sex, Horror, and the Overfiend." In McCarthy, Helen & Jonathan Clements. 1998. The Erotic Anime Movie Guide. Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press. Chapter 4, pp. 58-81. ISBN 0-87951-705-0.
  221. Taniguchi, Kei. 1994. "Blue Catalyst" in Emblem, San Antonio, TX: Antarctic Press.
  222. Smith, Toren. 1991. "Miso Horny: Sex in Japanese Comics." The Comics Journal, No. 143, pp. 111-115.
  223. Shiokawa, Kanoko. 1999. "Cute but Deadly: Women and Violence in Japanese Comics." In John A. Lent, editor. Themes and Issues in Asian Cartooning: Cute, Cheap, Mad, and Sexy. Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green State University Popular Press. pp. 93-125. ISBN 0-87972-780-2.
  224. Perper, Timothy and Martha Cornog. In Press, 2008. "I Never Said I Was a Boy: Utena, Arita Forland, and the (Non) Phallic Woman." International Journal of Comic Art, in press.
  225. Kotani, Mari. 2006. "Metamorphosis of the Japanese girl: The girl, the hyper-girl, and the battling beauty." Mechademia: An Academic Forum for Anime, Manga and the Fan Arts, 1:162-170.
  226. William O. Gardner. 2003. "Attack of the Phallic Girls: Review of Saitô Tamaki. Sentō bishōjo no seishin bunseki (Fighting Beauties: A Psychoanalysis). Tokyo: Ôta Shuppan, 2000." (Accessed December 28, 2007)
  227. Saikano, by Shin Takahashi. San Francisco: Viz, 7 Vols., 2004-2005. See also (Accessed December 28, 2007)
  228. Gunslinger Girl, by Yu Aida. Houston, TX: ADV Manga, 2003-2007. See also (Accessed October 1, 2008)
  229. From Seraphic Feather by Hiroyuki Utatane (artist) & Yo Morimoto and Toshiya Takeda (writers). Milwaukie, OR; Dark Horse, 2002-2005. See also (Accessed December 28, 2007)
  230. From Drakuun, by Johji Manabe. Milwaukie, OR: Dark Horse. 8 Vols., 1996-2000. See also (Accessed October 1, 2008)
  231. Battle Angel Alita and Battle Angel Alita Last Order, by Yukito Kishiro. San Francisco: Viz, 1998-2006. See also (Accessed December 28, 2007)
  232. Ghost in the Shell, by Masamune Shirow. Kodansha Bilingual Edition, 1 Vol., 2002. See also (Accessed December 28, 2007)
  233. Shakugan no Shana, by Yashichiro Takahashi and Ayato Sasakura. San Francisco, Viz, Vol. 1, 2007. See also (Accessed October 1, 2008)