日本語版はこちらThe Art of Japanese Manga
One of the earliest known usages of the term manga (illustration art; literally, “whimsical picture”) within Japan is in reference to a 15-volume series of sketchbooks produced in 1814 by the legendary woodblock print designer Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849). The stylistic roots of contemporary manga, however, can be traced back as far as the whimsical frogs and rabbits that populate the Frolicking Animals Handscroll (Chōjū giga emaki, 12th century), attributed to the artist-monk Toba Sōjō (1053–1140).
Beyond a physical work of art, moreover, one might argue that the term manga refers to the way in which an artist communicates his or her ideas to viewers. As described by Will Eisner (1917–2005) and Scott McCloud (b. 1960), the artist deconstructs a story into a series of iconographically refined images arranged into a specific sequence. The viewer then subconsciously uses his or her imagination to embellish each image with visual details and to link the images into a coherent narrative. This collaboration between artist and viewer is a quintessential yet often overlooked feature of various forms of illustrated narrative art, including handscrolls, serialized woodblock prints, and cinematic storyboards.
One quality that distinguishes manga from other forms of narrative art is the variety of ways in which Japanese text (ideograms, phonetic syllables, or Roman letters) can be integrated (vertically or horizontally) into the compositions. Another quality is its massive popularity among adults and its celebration of myriad genres: mystery, fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, horror, romance, and, of course, erotica.