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Manga: 60 Years of Japanese Comics

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Japan's output of manga is massive, accounting for a staggering forty percent of everything published each year in the country.Outside Japan, there has been a global boom in sales, with the manga aesthetic spreading from comics into all areas of Western youth culture through film, computer games, advertising, and design. Manga: Sixty Years of Japanese Comics presents an acc Japan's output of manga is massive, accounting for a staggering forty percent of everything published each year in the country.Outside Japan, there has been a global boom in sales, with the manga aesthetic spreading from comics into all areas of Western youth culture through film, computer games, advertising, and design. Manga: Sixty Years of Japanese Comics presents an accessible, entertaining, and highly-illustrated introduction to the development and diversity of Japanese comics from 1945 to the present. Featuring striking graphics and extracts from a wide range of manga, the book covers such themes as the specific attributes of manga in contrast to American and European comics; the life and career of Osamu Tezuka, creator of Astro Boy and originator of story manga; boys' comics from the 1960s to the present; the genres and genders of girls' and women's comics; the darker, more realistic themes of gekiga -- violent samurai, disturbing horror and apocalyptic science fiction; issues of censorship and protest; and manga's role as a major Japanese export and global influence.


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Japan's output of manga is massive, accounting for a staggering forty percent of everything published each year in the country.Outside Japan, there has been a global boom in sales, with the manga aesthetic spreading from comics into all areas of Western youth culture through film, computer games, advertising, and design. Manga: Sixty Years of Japanese Comics presents an acc Japan's output of manga is massive, accounting for a staggering forty percent of everything published each year in the country.Outside Japan, there has been a global boom in sales, with the manga aesthetic spreading from comics into all areas of Western youth culture through film, computer games, advertising, and design. Manga: Sixty Years of Japanese Comics presents an accessible, entertaining, and highly-illustrated introduction to the development and diversity of Japanese comics from 1945 to the present. Featuring striking graphics and extracts from a wide range of manga, the book covers such themes as the specific attributes of manga in contrast to American and European comics; the life and career of Osamu Tezuka, creator of Astro Boy and originator of story manga; boys' comics from the 1960s to the present; the genres and genders of girls' and women's comics; the darker, more realistic themes of gekiga -- violent samurai, disturbing horror and apocalyptic science fiction; issues of censorship and protest; and manga's role as a major Japanese export and global influence.

30 review for Manga: 60 Years of Japanese Comics

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tim Pendry

    (A Warning To Parents: This book is a serious introduction to Manga and includes a few references to and examples of graphic sexual and violent works. It is almost certainly not suitable for children under the age of 15) I cannot recommend this book highly enough and on many levels. It explains Manga in almost every conceivable way that might be of interest - its context in Japanese cultural and political history, its social role, its development and growth as a business, its sheer scale and its (A Warning To Parents: This book is a serious introduction to Manga and includes a few references to and examples of graphic sexual and violent works. It is almost certainly not suitable for children under the age of 15) I cannot recommend this book highly enough and on many levels. It explains Manga in almost every conceivable way that might be of interest - its context in Japanese cultural and political history, its social role, its development and growth as a business, its sheer scale and its influence overseas. It does this with a profusion of examples to illustrate almost every major stylistic aspect of Manga's development. It is, in short, an essential basic reference text from an expert author totally confident in his subject matter. Most of my reviews on GoodReads take seriously the site's injunction to say something of what I have learned from a text. In this case, I am tempted to skip that part and just refer you to the book itself - by the time that you have finished it, you will have a good grounding in the subject and be able to make some sensible choices and aesthetic judgements of your own. But I cannot resist a few pointers. There is the debt owed by Manga to American comic book art from its inception. The idea that it is a wholly indigenous creation that somehow blossoms late out of pre-Meiji Floating World print-making is just not tenable. It would not exist if General Douglas MacArthur had not turned Japan upside down after its defeat in 1945. Manga is uniquely Japanese but it is also uniquely liberal-capitalist. Its context is the creation of a Japan that was forced to live or die by the market as it tried to preserve the best of its traditional values. The ruthless corporate creation and management of the Manga market is a constant theme of the book. Most Manga writers and draughtsman operate in a high pressure factory environment that is no different from the rest of Japanese corporate culture. There is little of that free and easy spirit of letting the artist wonder off and ponder his navel while the marketing men wait for the fruits of his genius. This is a business with a brutally direct relationship with a demanding public, part of whom is so engaged with this world that it will compete to be the next generation of 'auteurs' under conditions that would break the spirit of most Westerners. The fact is that the whole European comic market is only 10% of the size of the Japanese Manga market and it is brutally competitive. But what of the psychological function of Manga to its readers. Japan is a culture that is both sex-positive and yet concerned to keep its non-Christian world-view operating within bounds that cannot rely on some external force such as God or Kantian flummery. Japan has to appeal to tradition values without encouraging anyone to return to the dark side of Bushido. This leads to some strange ambiguities in regulation and misunderstandings by Westerners who come into contact with it. The explicit sexual and violent content of Manga is vastly exaggerated in the West. The norm is, in fact, a wide range of more or less intense explorations of human interaction and feeling geared to every age range's innermost drives as they move through life. Manga socialises but accepts the human condition for what it is - and this will leave some space for the darker shores of sex and violence at the margins of Manga as at the margins of any society. The Japanese simply have the courage not to pretend the dark side is not present or that it can be wished away by appeal to the pulpit, including the pulpit that has been set up inside most Westerners' heads. Watching Manga's effect on my children, I see the effect as wholly positive. It explores themes and ideas that are difficult to talk about with peers and parents, exploring fears and desires in dreamscapes of considerable sophistication. The Gibli anime series exemplifies the fantasy non-linear side of Japanese culture but the tpical Manga is a tale of people who can be identified with in all their human complexity. Japan may use discipline and ritual to restrain and constrain desire and fear but it does not wish away these feelings and drives or give them negative or positive moral value in themselves. The leitmotif of the Westerner is 'guilt' at failing to meet the standards of some internal policeman whereas the Japanese will feel 'shame' for failing to meet obligations that are social if equally internalised. This difference between guilt and shame is fundamental and Manga plays a major role in allowing an outlet for feelings that must not be denied but only so that they may be evaluated and appropriate action considered. If my children have constructed independently a high moral code of a rather conservative nature (which they seem to have done) then I am sure that I can put this very much down to their reading of Manga from an early age. The closing chapters of the book move from the mass market to the almost anarchic artistic fringe of Manga and then to its export overseas, driven and transformed by market considerations on the back of anime exports to children's television. What is most interesting is that the Japanese business community treats export markets in culture much as it does export markets in consumer durables - as a challenge in which the best of foreign technology is to be stripped down, analysed and imported back into Japan to see if it can be systematised. Westerners, especially the current late teenage generation, have taken to Manga in a big way, in part perhaps because it is unique to their generation, a foreign import that most parents simply cannot understand. Reading Manga is a learned skill, counter-intuitive to a mass popular culture that privileged first the word on the page and then the moving image but was dismissive (until recently) of the comic, now privileged as the 'graphic novel'. Manga is positively Wagnerian without the music. It merges visuals and language in storyboards that are played out in the mind. The Western separation of text, music and image/sound, of book, of music and of film, means that the mind leaps from the pure internalisation of reading and listening to the passive intake of spectacle without finding space for Manga's half-way house of word and image being internalised as a tale that can immediately relate to social concerns and feelings. Manga is at its best when it raises serious questions about what it is to be a boy or girl at such-and-such a time of life. It means that one is neither solipsistically engaged in great literature nor lost in the collective will of the movie or the opera. Kids today like this. Their concerns are social and internal, not just internal OR social - and Manga works for them at this level. Part of this younger generation of Westerners has not only taken Manga to its heart but is beginning to transform it in a direct dialogue with the Japanese publishing houses. What the book brings out is the degree to which, creatively, Japanese-American and Japanese-French ('bandes dessines') influences are creating new themes and new works for the more sophisticated end of the Japanese market, as well as for the American and European markets, alongside the mainstream offers of Tokyo Pop. Bit by bit, other related Japanese cultural phenomenon, such as Cosplay, are likely to merge with Western fandom into new cultural forms. No doubt, the big Japanese brands and digitalisation will give us new Western-style blockbusters that are as showy as the Marvel-inspired productions that now emerge every year. This is globalisation driven by the market, but it is not one that creates some standard universal pap. The complexity and intensity of the Manga community's response to the market is not resentful but fertile - a frenetic creativity that matches the inner core of human fears and desires with a very high level of sensitivity and artistic creation. One can only hope that priests and 'moral guardians' in the West do not get their ignorant, restrictive and grubby paws on this surge of creativity and force it into tramlines that will reduce it to mere brain fodder - as the Hays Code managed to do to the creative glory that was Hollywood from the 1930s to the 1960s and as waves of censors have done in the West since time immemorial. Worse, I fear that the growth of the importance of the 'three faiths' markets for Manga may come to infect Japan itself with Western neurosis. This would be a tragedy for Japan and for the West.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Veronika KaoruSaionji

    Not good, but maybe the best what we can read now in English about manga. Very chaotic and I missed everywhere many imoortant things. But the worst was chapter about shojo manga - and this is it what I wanted to know! I fear that I know more about shojo manga than author of this book. I understand that shojo is for girls and women, not for men, and the author is man, but why does not write this chapter some woman? Or Matt Thorn, the expert of shojo manga. In this short chapter was about old shojo Not good, but maybe the best what we can read now in English about manga. Very chaotic and I missed everywhere many imoortant things. But the worst was chapter about shojo manga - and this is it what I wanted to know! I fear that I know more about shojo manga than author of this book. I understand that shojo is for girls and women, not for men, and the author is man, but why does not write this chapter some woman? Or Matt Thorn, the expert of shojo manga. In this short chapter was about old shojo romance (het), old BL, old shojo non-romance, new shojo romance (het) and new BL!!!! And none famous new BL (Gravitation, Loveless, Fake, Junjou Romantica and so on). Nothing about yaoi, very little about history of shojo manga or history of BL (about changes during time). Nothing about josei (manga for woman) as genre, only a little about "ladies comics" = harleguinlike stuff, the worst from josei, and in chapter about "economic stuff". Seinen is for author "mature thing" and he write about it in 3 various chapters (about hentai, too). Josei is not "mature thing", but "economic stuff"... I love some good seinen manga, like Legend of Kamui, Domu, Adolf, MW and so on. I will read more from it. And I like shonen manga, I read Ashita no Joe now and I am amazed, I like it very much. Some shonen and seinen manga is good. But some good shojo, josei and BL manga, too! But for the author is it all only pathetic thing. I was very angry because it! But, I am still glad, that I can have something about history of manga. I hope that will be in future much better book about it. Some good book about ALL manga, not only about shonen and seinen plus a few facts about shojo, BL and josei...

  3. 4 out of 5

    GONZA

    A "coffee table" book about the most famous Japanese Manga. Un libro da tavolino sui piú famosi manga Giapponesi. A "coffee table" book about the most famous Japanese Manga. Un libro da tavolino sui piú famosi manga Giapponesi.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Fiona MacDonald

    Really fascinating. I know very little about manga, and really have only scratched the surface when it comes to reading it before. This book sets out manga and its explosion onto the Japanese market from very early on (we are talking 1950s which blows my mind) and then describes in detail how essential it has become over the years to millions of Japanese residents, as well as showing over time how the subjects of manga have altered to cater for a larger audience and continue to do so to stay rel Really fascinating. I know very little about manga, and really have only scratched the surface when it comes to reading it before. This book sets out manga and its explosion onto the Japanese market from very early on (we are talking 1950s which blows my mind) and then describes in detail how essential it has become over the years to millions of Japanese residents, as well as showing over time how the subjects of manga have altered to cater for a larger audience and continue to do so to stay relevant. I found it all so interesting. I must read more manga in 2022 because it's such an important part of daily life for so many people and the talent it takes to create a lot of manga is staggering. My favourite part of this book was probably reading about a creator in 1970s Japan who held a funeral for one of his characters who died in a boxing ring - and thousands of people attended because the character meant such a lot to them and had become a fictional extension of their own family!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bryan

    My knowledge of the magna/anime format or style was very limited, but after reading/watching Sailor Moon my interest is piqued. Although I had never read magna or really watched anime I was always aware of it and was always curious of its distinctive looking style. That’s why I brought this book. This is a “coffee table book”, but totally reads and the overall interior layout reminded me of a college textbook. The chapters are written in an essay format and don’t delve into details on certain arti My knowledge of the magna/anime format or style was very limited, but after reading/watching Sailor Moon my interest is piqued. Although I had never read magna or really watched anime I was always aware of it and was always curious of its distinctive looking style. That’s why I brought this book. This is a “coffee table book”, but totally reads and the overall interior layout reminded me of a college textbook. The chapters are written in an essay format and don’t delve into details on certain artists or key works but tend to be more broad. Several times I had to look up a creator on my iPhone to find out more info about them and their work. The artwork included was great! I very much enjoyed this aspect.

  6. 4 out of 5

    John

    Great resource for anyone who likes manga and anime (but mostly manga) and wants to know more about it or for people who know nothing about it. Does a great job showing the influence of Japanese culture and American and European aesthetics and how those have evolved to suit the tastes of different genres and mangaka. Also explains how economic forces created different styles of manga from the akobon of the 50's to the 'World Comics' of today that synthesize manga, American and European comic sty Great resource for anyone who likes manga and anime (but mostly manga) and wants to know more about it or for people who know nothing about it. Does a great job showing the influence of Japanese culture and American and European aesthetics and how those have evolved to suit the tastes of different genres and mangaka. Also explains how economic forces created different styles of manga from the akobon of the 50's to the 'World Comics' of today that synthesize manga, American and European comic styles. If you're offended by nudity, there's not a great deal of it in this book but a few pages might make you reluctant to read in public.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ben Zimmerman

    This was a pretty solid overview of manga history and the development of the medium. I kind of wish it were updated since it's over ten years old at this point, but I still found it enjoyable and educational. This was a pretty solid overview of manga history and the development of the medium. I kind of wish it were updated since it's over ten years old at this point, but I still found it enjoyable and educational.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Marcus Gilfert

    Gravett covered the regular ground found in this type of book, using its size to include much appreciated multi page excerpts from several samples of each time period and genre. Other than his dispute of the tie between manga and ancient illustrated scrolls however, I don’t find much unique here.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Alek Sigley

    Good historical overview of manga packed with beautifully illustrated excerpts.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Stella

    Adult content. Probably really useful to Manga collectors and older researchers. Very high level reading with violent and sexual images. So...not what I was looking for to help my middle schooler.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jayne Lamb

    Three and a half stars, because there was a severe lack of shojo manga covered. So Yazawa isn't even mentioned. Three and a half stars, because there was a severe lack of shojo manga covered. So Yazawa isn't even mentioned.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Britt-marie Ingdén-Ringselle

    Även denna bok läste jag som kurslitteratur under Manga studies vid Stockholms stadsbibliotek. Den innehåller många bra exempel på all typ av manga, vilket är mkt praktiskt under en kurs:-)

  13. 5 out of 5

    Madeline Schley

    This book is a 171-page look into a brief and slightly confusing 60 years of manga history, from 1945 to 2004. It starts by explaining what manga is and from there goes into 10 different sections: the medium and the market, its traditional roots and imported cartoon strips, life of Osamu Tezuka, gekiga (or dramatic pictures) as a subject, boys manga, girls manga, development of the mass market, the all-encompassing, individualism of comics subculture, and manga as an exported good and global in This book is a 171-page look into a brief and slightly confusing 60 years of manga history, from 1945 to 2004. It starts by explaining what manga is and from there goes into 10 different sections: the medium and the market, its traditional roots and imported cartoon strips, life of Osamu Tezuka, gekiga (or dramatic pictures) as a subject, boys manga, girls manga, development of the mass market, the all-encompassing, individualism of comics subculture, and manga as an exported good and global influence. In addition to the different sections, this book is littered with many colored comic strips, black-and-white comic strip, and photographs. These made reading the book enjoyable. However, even with the pictures it was very hard for me to fallow. As I read it felt as if I was either reading the same things in different words said over and over again, or it was missing too much information for any of it to make sense. It took me way longer than it should to read 171 pages. In the front of the book, there has been placed a timeline that helps link together the manga with the history of the time. While reading the different sections and strips, I enjoyed flipping back to the timeline to figure out what else was going on in the world, at least what the authors had thought was important. For example, in 1996, US publishers founded Tokyopop (an US Manga company which helped the American manga pop culture boom), then, only a year later, Pokémon was first aired on televisions and One Piece was first published internationally. The timeline has important events in manga publications of books, magazines, and characters, film and television release dates, and key events in Japan and globally. However, the best thing about this book by far is all of the full manga strips included. There are strips from Barefoot Gen., I Saw It, Felix the Cat, Mamga Yonin Shosei (The Four Students Comic), Shin-Takarajima (New Treasure Island), Tezuka’s Crime and Punishment, Astro Boy, Adorufu ni Tsugu (Tell Adolf), comics on Buddha, Deka, Ninja Bugeicho, Hi no Tori (Phoenix), Shameless School, Black Jack: Two fisted Surgeon, Dragon Ball, Yu-Gi-Oh, One Piece, The Tale of HenjiSuzae-san, Sailor Moon, Princes Knight, Oke no Monsho, Bow Wow Wata, The Rose of Versailles, Le Poème du Vent at des Arbres (The Poem if the Wind and Trees), Love from Eroica, Mask of Glass, X-Day, Confidential Confessions, and that’s just in the first 100 pages. There are about 50 more strips in the last 71 pages. I feel as if the strips are the only good things brought together in this book. When looking at the physical development of the cartooning styles, in addition to the massive growth and sudden diversity in topics, it is a lot easier to understand and figure out the history. It’s also just plain fun to read all the comics and being someone who very much enjoys reading manga, I have found some new stories I would like to find and read, such as The Rose of Versailles. For the readers would are looking for a “nice and easy” introduction to manga, like I was, I do not think this is the best book. Its very interesting and set up in a straightforward way, but the text itself is hard to get through. I feel as if I absorbed more by reading the strips and looking at the titles and captions.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mademoiselle

    Paul Gravetts book embraces the whole history of manga starting with the influence through american comics at time of the occupation through allied powers after world war 2nd. It explains why mangas are created and published in b/w and what influenced the style regarding works by Hokusai and the immense influence and role of Osamu Tezuka. Furthermore it explains why magazines were started and which artists had an important role in the creation of genre like shounen, shoujo, seinen and josei mang Paul Gravetts book embraces the whole history of manga starting with the influence through american comics at time of the occupation through allied powers after world war 2nd. It explains why mangas are created and published in b/w and what influenced the style regarding works by Hokusai and the immense influence and role of Osamu Tezuka. Furthermore it explains why magazines were started and which artists had an important role in the creation of genre like shounen, shoujo, seinen and josei manga. In every chapter the development of manga as art form and industry is explained including japanese history, law and delivers lots of examples for popular or outstanding mangas and artists by including whole pages. The last chapter even explains how manga became popular outside of japan and features e.g. french, american and german artists. Probably the best book I ever read about manga and their long journey to the west.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Clara (aka Kurara)

    Through this book, Gravett outlines the major authors of manga and their influences in the medium over the last century. He explains the origins of manga genres and styles, and the reason behind famous manga titles. Gravett’s goal is to show manga for what it truly is, to reveal its original motives and meanings; his focus is not on correcting American biases against manga, it is to report and describe the medium and how it has grown and changed. His book is a great resource for learning manga’ Through this book, Gravett outlines the major authors of manga and their influences in the medium over the last century. He explains the origins of manga genres and styles, and the reason behind famous manga titles. Gravett’s goal is to show manga for what it truly is, to reveal its original motives and meanings; his focus is not on correcting American biases against manga, it is to report and describe the medium and how it has grown and changed. His book is a great resource for learning manga’s origins, clarifying manga’s messages, and understanding manga’s effects. Lastly, Gravett provides ample amounts of manga pages at the end of each chapter as aids to his assertions.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Andrés

    Como historia de introducción al manga, le falta detalle. También me parece que la traducción deja algo que desear. Sin embargo, es bueno encontrar fuentes de historia de esta forma de arte en nuestro idioma, y las ilustraciones acompañantes son de excelente calidad. Recomendado si lo encuentran a bajo precio, y como una introducción básica al mundo del cómic japonés.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Husti

    Un buen acercamiento a la actualidad e historia del cómic japonés. La edición española tiene algunos errores en la traducción de títulos y nombres de personajes, que se han dejado en inglés por alguna misteriosa razón.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Paul Vromen

    By no means complete but nevertheless a fantastic analysis of the style and with such an extensive overview of different genres and influences back and forth, the book contains a wealth of information and is not to be missed by serious comic fans.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Michael Brooks

    Not always an easy read for the casually curious, but a better than average look at the world of Manga and how it's evolved for those with more than a passing interest. Not always an easy read for the casually curious, but a better than average look at the world of Manga and how it's evolved for those with more than a passing interest.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ilse

    Het must-have referentiewerk voor iedere fan van manga!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Khursten

    A great coffee table book on manga that captures the power of manga with each of its features.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jamil

    Paul Gravett knows his manga too.

  23. 5 out of 5

    April

    My thoughts: http://www.greenmanreview.com/book/bo... My thoughts: http://www.greenmanreview.com/book/bo...

  24. 5 out of 5

    Patty

    A look at the historical rise of manga in Japan and its spread to the rest of the world, with many examples and samples included.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Oyceter

    http://oyceter.livejournal.com/432083... http://oyceter.livejournal.com/432083...

  26. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Heverin

    a decent history and introduction to manga.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Aj

    interesting read with great illustrations

  28. 4 out of 5

    Dbgirl

    A great introduction about the manga and its history. The huge number of picture samples was great. It wasn't perfect but as an introduction it worked very well. A great introduction about the manga and its history. The huge number of picture samples was great. It wasn't perfect but as an introduction it worked very well.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Soobie's scared

    Perfect introduction into the world of Japanese manga. Full of illustrations and examples.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ravenhats

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