While Manga seems to be growing ever more popular, which often leads many to believe that it’s a relatively modern creation it’s actually been around (in its early form) for over a thousand years.
The tradition of telling stories with a series of sequential images has been a part of Japanese culture long before what we now know as present day Manga ever came about. In fact Toba Sojo, an 11th century painter-priest, has been attributed with the earliest examples of pre-manga art with his animal scroll paintings which satirised the Buddhist priesthood.
Over the years the religious world refined the art, even as the nation was torn apart by warfare.
Another credited for development of modern Manga is Katsushika Hokusai, the famous 19th century artist and printmaker while his woodblock print images of 36 views of Mount Fuji are known the world over, his manga sketches are some of the best examples of humour in Japanese art. Hokusai was also the first to use the term Manga to describe his sketches though he didn’t invent the word himself.
Adult storybooks – text surrounding ink brush illustrations became popular within the middle class Japanese population. Printed with woodblocks these books were similar to modern manga in that they covered a wide variety of subjects from fantasy and drama to humour and even pornography. Shunga (Erotic Art) and Yokai (Ghosts and Monsters) are other forms of popular Japanese Art that have influenced modern manga
By the 19th century the art became influenced by western culture and the illustrated story books became a mix of Japanese and Western Cartoons.
As it progressed many say that Osamu Tezuka was the father of Modern Manga, his most popular creation was Mighty Atom (or Astro Boy). His Manga debut came in 1947 with his New Treasure Island a comic that was produced cheaply and sold 400,000 copies with this success he was able to develop a following of young manga artists eagre to continue with what he had started. These would soon broaden and from here the young adults that started reading those earlier comics would continue to read manga as adults and with that is it said that modern manga was born.