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rec.arts.manga: Frequently Asked Questions

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Archive-name: manga/faq

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                             Usenet manga Glossary

                                  version 1.2
                                   January 1998

              originally compiled by Iain Sinclair (
                       Copyright (C) 1995 Iain Sinclair

This FAQ, as well as the other anime/manga newsgroup FAQs and info
articles written by Steve Pearl, are available from the Official
Anime/Manga FAQ page at
The FAQs on that page are always the most recent version (The monthly
posts are posted directly from that directory!)

This is a monthly list of questions that have been frequently asked in this
newsgroup.  This article can be freely distributed for non-commercial use, as
long as all credits and notices remain intact. If this is used in any
publication, including APAs & CD-Rom Collections, a copy must be sent to:

Steve Pearl
PO Box 11044
New Brunswick, NJ 08906

Please send all additions/corrections/comments to:

Steve Pearl
PO Box 11044
New Brunswick, NJ 08906

This glossary lists important terms relating to manga and the manga industry.
It was compiled as a bare-minimum reference for Usenet, intended to resolve a
large number of questions and repetitive discussions. While it is not by any
means an exhaustive reference, those subjects most often discussed on the net
are dealt with in reasonable detail.

Entries are listed in alphabetical order, and JIS code is given for most
Sino-Japanese words. The glossary can be read sequentially, or browsed
randomly; if you can't find a specific term, try the index, listed at the end.
Many entries provide background information and pointers to other sources.

Some good general net references for those interested in manga terminology:

   * Jim Breen's Japanese page lists many links to electronic Japanese-language
     resources. Jim Breen is the compiler of the on-line Japanese-English
     dictionary EDICT and the kanji dictionary KANJIDIC, both of which are
     comprehensive, useful, and in the public domain.
   * The sci.lang Japan FAQ briefly deals with colloquial Japanese used in
   * A Guide to Japanese Culture for Role Playing Games contains several
     introductory articles on subjects that are found often enough in manga:
     Japanese mythology, religion, history, traditional weapons, and the
     yakuza. <>
   * The Internet and Unix Dictionary is a simple reference for computing
     terms, which often crop up in manga discussion on the 'net.


amecomi ^[$@%"%a%3%_^[(B
     Contraction of "American comics". The term variously describes any comic
     originating in the West; the short 20-40 page booklet or "comic book"
     format of Western comics; and the styles and graphic devices popularly
     ascribed to them. The word "manga" is never used to describe any of these.

     Some amecomi are known to the Japanese public, mainly classic titles such
     as Superman, Spiderman and Peanuts - the Japanese editions of the latter
     exceed 100 volumes. Parts of X-Men and Ghost Rider have been translated
     into Japanese by Shougakukan Productions and Take Shobou, and manga using
     X-Men characters has been published. Original English editions of some
     lesser-known amecomi, such as Marshal Law, also enjoy a very small cult

     However, despite the limited awareness of some titles, it should be
     understood that amecomi are regarded as a very minor cultural curiosity,
     at most. The world of manga and American comics has been totally dysjunct
     for several decades. Japanese audiences regard amecomi as ugly, cliched
     and difficult to follow (with manga, the reader is not supposed to take
     more than about 15-20 seconds per page). The proportion of manga
     personalities who know anything about amecomi, or who want to, is

     One of a handful of exceptions is Ono Kosei, a well-known Japanese critic
     and amecomi authority. As a child, Ono read American comics left behind by
     the post-WWII US Occupation forces. (Most amecomi fans in Japan were also
     exposed to amecomi in this way, and few have appeared since this era.) He
     has contributed English-language articles to digests such as Raw and
     translated many amecomi titles, including Fritz the Cat, The Fantastic
     Four, Mighty Thor, Incredible Hulk, Spider-man, Doonesbury, and Maus. (Ono
     regarded Yiddish-accented English as a translation challenge.) Such
     translations have found only miniscule readerships in Japan; Ono believes
     this is because Japanese readers, who are used to the fluid storytelling
     of manga, regard amecomi as unreadable.

     See also: Comics 'n' Stuff

anime ^[$@%"%K%a^[(B
     Animation. The word "anime", NOT "manga", is now used to describe any type
     of cel-based animation. (Before the 70s, the term "TV manga" or "manga
     eiga" ^[$BL!2h1G2h^[(B was sometimes used.) Manga (and novels, to a lesser
     extent) have traditionally been the source material for nearly all of the
     Japanese animation industry's output since the early '70s. Most animes
     take considerable liberties with characters and storylines, and often
     assume some knowledge of the original manga.

     Contrary to the belief of some Western fans, most anime is intended for
     children or teenagers, where the marketing dollar lies. The anime industry
     has always been more or less a merchandising subsidiary of the manga
     industry. A few animes have been been targeted at college-age fans, but by
     and large, manga's large adult readership is unconcerned with anime. Anime
     seems to have reached the height of its economic viability in the late
     80s; the popularity of manga and anime are now losing ground to video

     See also:
        o  rec.arts.anime FAQs
        o  Anime & Stuff @ Berkeley <>

assistant ^[$B%"%8%9%?%s%H^[(B
     Generally, manga-kas have a team of one or more assistants to help with
     the production of their manga. Assistants are usually responsible for
     drafting, inking, screentone, sound effects, cutting and pasting,
     typesetting dialogue, taking photographs, and doing research.

     In the manga industry, potential assistants are frequently asked to submit
     their own manga first. Once selected, skills are passed onto the assistant
     over a number of years, not unlike the master-apprentice relationship to
     traditional Japanese art. After learning the ropes from a pro, many
     assistants go on to create their own manga, and their styles often
     resemble that of their mentor. However, some assistants of a highly
     proficient level present themselves as a "studio", which denotes
     "consultants" more than "assistants" or "apprentices".

bukyou (wuxia ^[$BIp6"^[(B)
     A Chinese word roughly translatable as "chivalrous knight" or "martial
     wanderer", describing a genre of adventurous martial arts fiction. The
     wuxia genre is relatively unknown in Japan, except indirectly, through
     some Chinese classics. But in Taiwan and Hongkong, the growth of local
     manga and comics industries has been stimulated by wuxia literature,
     especially the work of popular novelists like Jin Yong ^[$B6bMG^[(B and Gu
     Long. At least twenty or so wuxia-inspired manga titles are published
     weekly, in 40-page "comic books" with spectacular color covers. While the
     quality remains generally low, the scene is fiercely competitive, and most
     titles have been running for years. At one stage, Jademan Comics were
     regularly translating their bestsellers into English.

     Japanese readers have had some limited exposure to the wuxia manga style
     via the work of Taiwanese artist Chen Wen (Toushuu Eiyuuden)
     ^[$@El<~1QM:EA^[(B and Korean artist I Jie-Hak ^[$BM{:\U\^[(B (Ryuugin
     Houmei ^[$BN66cK1LD^[(B, who now both draw specifically for Kodansha. At
     one time, there was also a possibility that the work of famous Hongkong
     artist Mah Wing-Shing (Tien Ha ^[$BE72<^[(B) would be translated into
     Japanese. But generally speaking, Chinese martial arts mangas are usually
     a totally different world to their Japanese counterparts, despite the
     influence and popularity of Japanese manga-kas such as Hara Tetsuo,
     Ikegami Ryouichi and Houjou Tsukasa.

     Acronym for "Computer Graphics". In the manga context, it refers to
     computer-assisted illustration or animation of any kind. In recent years,
     computer-generated halftone patterns and computer painting software have
     become almost standard tools for manga-kas. The former technique was
     popularised by manga-kas such as Tetsuya Saruwatari and Inoue Noriyoshi,
     while pioneers of the latter include Kia Asamiya, Terasawa Buichi and
     Tsudzuki Kazuhiko ^[$BETC[OBI'^[(B. Macintoshes seem to be the computer of
     choice among manga-kas.

     See also:
        o  Silicon Graphics Gallery <>
        o  Siggraph Artist's Connection

circle ^[$B%5!<%/%k^[(B
     A group of doujinshi artists or writers. Many circles have been
     established for years, and have a large number of loyal readers. A small
     proportion of circles do business by mail order, and will send their
     catalog on request. For those enquiring from outside Japan, the following
     should be enclosed to maximise the chances of a reply:
        o at least two International Reply Coupons, or the equivalent in
          current Japanese stamps;
        o self-addressed envelope or adhesive label;
        o a letter written in Japanese.

comiket ^[$@%3%_%1%C%H^[(B
     Short for "comic market". Comiket is Japan's largest market for manga
     doujinshi, established since the late 70s, and held twice per year over
     two days. It is a gathering of epic proportions, now featuring nearly
     20,000 doujinshi sellers at each event. Its current character and success
     has largely been due to the efforts of Yonezawa Yasuhiro.

     The bulk of doujinshis are devoted to whatever manga and anime is popular
     at the time, but a vast range of tastes are catered for, with doujinshis
     devoted to video games, pop music, animals, machines, novels, movies,
     RPGs, and much more. A comprehensive catalogue of attendees goes on sale
     some months before each event.

     Japan has many other comic markets, which are generally tolerated by
     publishers because they are thought to increase sales of manga and anime,
     not decrease them. But this tolerance is not without limits - in one major
     incident, Japan's second biggest comic market, Comic City, was cancelled
     in August 1994 after official warnings that Chiba police would check
     doujinshis for breaches of censorship laws.

doujinshi ^[$BF1?M;o^[(B
     Literally "same people publication", where "same people" refers to a group
     of people who are interested in the same field. The word "doujinshi" came
     into use among literary groups that wrote in the style of a particular
     author or classic work, and is not specific to the world of anime and
     manga. A group of doujinshi artists or writers is called a "circle". In
     the manga world, "doujinshi" today refers to any amateur, self-published
     manga, especially those based on existing manga or anime.

     There is a large fan culture associated with the contemporary doujinshi
     scene. Manga doujinshis are advertised and reviewed in some magazines, and
     sold en masse at "comic markets". Most manga doujinshis are at the level
     of Western fanzines, though a significant proportion are of remarkably
     high quality. These sell thousands of copies, and some people can make a
     living drawing doujinshi alone. Popular doujinshi artists often go on to
     become professional manga-kas (eg. Sonoda Kenichi, Ozaki Minami). On the
     other hand, some professional manga-kas have been known to publish
     doujinshis, often under assumed names, parodying their own work (eg.
     Hagiwara Kazushi, Ueshiba Reach).

     See also: List of Internet Manga Creators (in Japanese)

     G-pens are distinctively shaped ink pen nibs, held in wooden shafts. Their
     name comes from the small "G"-shaped indentation at the base of the nib.
     G-pens are bought by the dozen, since they wear out fairly quickly. They
     produce a variety of line widths and effects, and are an essential tool
     for most manga artists. Other popular types are kabura pens and maru pens.

     Story writer; someone who writes a story or synopsis to be drawn by a
     manga-ka. By far the most prolific gensaku-sha is Koike Kazuo, who has
     penned stories for hundreds of mangas. Royalties are usually split 50/50
     between gensaku-sha and manga-ka.

gekiga ^[$B7`2h^[(B
     "Drama pictures". As its name implies, gekiga is straight, serious
     storytelling much like traditional theatre and cinema. It is characterised
     by direct, literal narrative, pictorial realism, and uncomplicated
     character drawing. Artists such as Shirato Sampei and Saito Takao, the
     latter influenced by Kurosawa films, popularised gekiga in the 1960s.
     Subsequently, even Tezuka introduced gekiga elements into some of his
     stories (eg. Eulogy to Kirihito). However, gekiga is now in decline, and
     is regarded as a subset of manga. It hardly ever appears in today's
     shounen manga magazines, although the style still sells to readers in
     their 40s and above.

H-manga (H, ecchi, hentai) ^[$@%(%C%A!$JQBV^[(B
     "Hentai" means "abnormal/perverted" and lately, just "pervert" or
     "perverted sex". "H" or "ecchi" is a slang abbreviation for "hentai", and
     refers to sexual activity of any kind. Mangas featuring explicit sex or
     other erotic content are called "ero-manga", or "H-manga". The degree of
     sexual perversion in any manga is sometimes described as its "H-factor".

     Pornographic mangas account for a staggering 25% of the manga industry's
     output. They are as available to the consumer as any other type of manga,
     though they are technically age-restricted and are often wrapped in
     plastic. H-manga boasts a large fandom; there are several sub-genres of
     H-manga, and the degree of artistry varies widely. Exceptional H-manga
     artists sometimes, but not always, move to mainstream publishers. Many
     minor publishers specialise in H-manga and are closely associated with
     pornographic game software, CDROMs and the doujinshi scene.

     See also:
        o  H Manga homepage - ambitious.
        o  Team H's CD-ROM directory <>
        o  Evil in Your Mind - contains lots of links to other H sites.

     "et al", "and others". Used to denote that the author is a contributor to
     an anthology.

     "Illustration collection", a deluxe-format book of illustrations by a
     particular artist (or on a particular theme). Their price usually ranges
     between Y1000-Y4000.

image album
     A CD of "mood music" for a particular manga (or novel, video game, etc).
     Hundreds of image albums are released every year. Image albums based on
     mangas are also known as "manga CDs" or "drama CDs".

     A term used to describe the influence of Japanese culture on the West.
     Rutgers University hosts the International Center on Japonisme at the
     Zimmerli Art Museum in New Brunswick, NJ.

kara-settei ^[$@%-%c%i@_Dj^[(B
     "Character design", the construction of personalities for manga, anime,
     movies, games or anything else. This usually includes costume design, and
     significant physical and psychological traits. The balance or overall
     quality of a character sketch is known as "dessin" ^[$B%G%C%5%s^[(B, after
     the French for "sketch".

ketsuekigata ^[$B7l1U7?^[(B
     "Blood type". In Japanese pop culture, blood type is thought to be related
     to personality. This belief became popular in the early '80s. Profiles of
     manga artists or characters from manga will often include blood type along
     with other statistics like age and place of birth. A very rough guide to
     blood types:

      A nervous, introverted, honest, loyal
      B  outgoing, optimistic, adventurous
      AB proud, diplomatic, discriminating
      O   workaholic, insecure, emotional

kakioroshi ^[$B=q$-2<$7^[(B
     Describes manga which were never serialized on magazines, but instead were
     published first in tankoubon form.

kodomo-manga ^[$B;R6!L!2h^[(B
     Children's manga. The bulk of kodomo-manga is simple and unpretentious,
     aimed at 6-11 year olds. Stories with robots and fantasy settings are
     popular; there can sometimes be unusual levels of violence, by Western
     standards. Successful kodomo-mangas are almost always made into anime and
     merchandised to the hilt. The really popular kodomo-mangas, such as
     Doraemon, retain readers well into adulthood. Kodomo-manga styles and
     cliches are sometimes used for comic effect in other manga genres. The two
     monthly magazines are Korokoro Comic and Comic Bonbon.

lady's comic/josei ^[$B=w@-^[(B
     Manga aimed at the over-20s female market, particularly housewives and OLs
     (office ladies). They fulfil a similar role to Western pulp romance
     novels. A proportion of lady's comics are fairly racy.

lolicom/rorikon ^[$B%m%j%3%s^[(B
     Contraction of "Lolita complex". A Lolita complex (named after the
     character in Nabokov's novel) is an unhealthy desire for very young girls;
     the Japanese word is more slang and less clinical, but means more or less
     the same thing. The sub-genre of H manga featuring young-looking girls is
     known as "loli-manga". In the world of H-manga, the words "Lolita" and
     "bishoujo" ^[$BH~>/=w^[(B (pretty girl) are often used interchangeably.

mah-jong ^[$BKc?}^[(B (maajan)
     A whole sub-genre of manga centres around the Chinese tile game of
     mah-jong, which became popular in Japan about a century ago. Mah-jong
     mangas appeared in the late '70s, and their growth was propelled mainly by
     the work of artist Kitano Eimei ^[$@KLLn1QL@^[(B. The readers of mah-jong
     mangas are mostly in the 18-25 age group, and the market currently
     sustains about four magazines. One of the most popular mah-jong mangas of
     recent times is Naki no Ryuu ^[$@S-$-$NN5^[(B (by Nojou Jun'ichi
     ^[$@G=[j=c0l^[(B, serialized on Bessatsu Kindai Mahjong 1986-91, 9

manga ^[$BL!2h^[(B
     "Manga" is loosely translatable as "cartoon" or "caricature", or
     literally, "involuntary pictures". The term was coined in 1814 by the
     famous artist Katsushika Hokusai, and conveys a sense of free-flowing
     composition and quirky style. In Chinese and Korean, it is pronounced
     "manhwa", but is written with the same characters. First applied to
     scrolls and illustrations, the word "manga" does not mean "comic" or
     "comic books" any more than "karate" (lit. "empty hand") means "boxing".
     And it does not mean "sequential art" (for which there are many other
     words, such as "renga"), or "graphic novel" (a great deal of manga is
     neither fictional nor in novel format).

     The "man" character ^[$BL!^[(B in "manga" is composed of the radicals for
     "water" and "expansive" ^[$BRX^[(B. It previously meant "flooding", and
     later, "inexorably" or "indiscriminately". By association, it came to mean
     "involuntary" and "random". Publicity material from Western companies with
     "Manga" in their names (who distribute translated anime, not manga) states
     that "manga" means "irresponsible pictures"; this is utter, misleading

     A 12th-century drawing, the choujuu giga ^[$BD;=C5:2h^[(B ("birds & beasts
     frolicking pictures"), is conventionally regarded as the first work in the
     Japanese manga tradition. It was drawn by the Buddhist monk Toba, and
     light-heartedly depicts animals behaving like humans. Nowadays, it is
     regarded as a cliche and has been frequently satirised.

     Related traditions include "zenga" ^[$BA52h^[(B, caricatures of Zen monks
     used as aids to enlightenment; Shumboku Ouka created "Toba-e" (c.1702);
     there were "Ootsu-e" ^[$BBgDE3(^[(B, popular comical drawings, named after
     the place of their origin; "kyouga" ^[$B682h^[(B ("crazy pictures"),
     single-panel scenes of strange events; and explicit, erotic woodblock
     prints, called "shunga" ^[$B=U2h^[(B ("spring pictures"). (The latter are
     well known to the West, but due to censorship laws, cannot be fully
     reprinted in the country of their origin.)

     The 19th century saw the re-emergence of ukiyo-e and the appearance of
     satirical drawings such as "tanuki-e" and "namazu-e" ^[$BrP3(^[(B
     ("catfish pictures"); the catfish being associated with social upheaval.
     The magazine Punch came to be particularly influential, with a Japanese
     version appearing in 1862. The word "ponchi-e" subsequently came to
     describe European-style caricatures. In the same style, but more local and
     innovative, was the Marumaru Chinbun ^[$BT%T%DAJ9^[(B, released in 1877.
     It used speech balloons and some Western drawing techniques. The first
     4-panel strip, featuring typeset speech, was published in 1902. The
     American comics explosion of the 1920s influenced many Japanese
     cartoonists and had some impact at the popular level, although most titles
     had to be re-drawn for Japanese audiences.

     Manga did not enjoy widespread popularity until after WWII, when Tezuka
     Osamu began his experiments in the early 50s. Tezuka drew on many artistic
     traditions from Japan and elsewhere, searching for the most effective
     techniques. He was particularly interested in cinema, and all his manga
     have a highly developed cinematic quality. Tezuka was also interested in
     animation, and eventually studied at Disney studios in the late 60s.
     (Ironically, Disney's 1994 movie, The Lion King, is widely believed to
     have copied Tezuka's 1960s manga Jungle Emperor.) But rather than
     slavishly copying Disney's aesthetic, Tezuka strived to understand the
     relationship between character drawing and economical storytelling. His
     success led to a new, distinctly Japanese form of graphic narrative, and
     paved the way for the rapid growth of the manga industry. Many prominent
     artists in the 60s and 70s were former assistants of Tezuka.

     Outside Japan
     In Taiwan, translated Japanese manga and anime have been popular for many
     years. This growth was in part made possible by the proliferation of
     bootleg translated mangas, which were very cheap, widely available and
     closely resembled the originals. Their crude translations and
     correction-fluid censorship did nothing to dampen buyers' enthusiasm. The
     1992 crackdown on manga piracy in Taiwan (and other Asian countries, where
     the situation was similar) catalysed the pirates into quickly buying
     translation rights and "legitimising" themselves. (The translation quality
     of the official versions is said to be variable, but generally better.)
     Today, manga in Taiwan is booming, with many dedicated bookstores and
     libraries. Shoujo manga, doujinshi and Japanese cult artists (such as
     CLAMP) have considerable followings. Seinen-manga is said to be less
     popular because of compulsory military service. The local manga scene has
     produced some accomplished manga-kas, such as Tsai Chih Chung and Chen
     Wen, who have both had their work translated into Japanese; some Taiwanese
     manga-kas now draw exclusively for Japanese magazines.

     The weekly Hong Kong magazine Family Comics, which for years carried
     informed manga news, reviews, and translations of several cult titles,
     ceased publication in 1993; a mad scrabble for Japanese manga rights
     ensued. Today, the price and quality of manga translations has increased
     markedly, and manga translation has become big, legitimate business.
     Shounen mangas such as Dragonball and Slam Dunk, which are well-known
     throughout Asia, are especially popular in Hong Kong.

     Japanese manga and magazines are becoming increasingly widespread in South
     Korea. Korean manga pirates have also disappeared recently, with royalties
     being paid for all translations of Japanese manga. The Korean market
     currently has about twice as many shoujo-manga magazines than
     shounen-manga magazines. Martial arts mangas are also popular. and Korean
     manga-ka I Jie-Hak ^[$BM{:\U\^[(B was commissioned to draw the wuxia manga
     Ryuugin Houmei ^[$BN66cK1LD^[(B for Kodansha.

     In Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, many 60s-era mangas have been
     translated for local audiences. Original Japanese and Chinese-translated
     manga can be found in all major Malaysian cities. Several children's manga
     (e.g. Doraemon) have been translated into Malay. However, in general, one
     cannot obtain manga containing 'gratuitious sex and graphic violence' in
     Malaysia. The situation in Singapore is similar, but pages are sometimes
     torn out of imported Japanese magazines, in accordance with local
     censorship laws.

     Manga has been slowly gaining a readership in many Western countries. In
     most cases, Westerners have been introduced to manga via anime, which is
     now fairly accessible via mainstream outlets. At the moment, mangas are
     particularly popular in Spain, Italy and France, where a wide range of
     titles have sold well. In the United States, translated manga has been
     trickling into comic shops for the best part of a decade, witht some
     minimal impact. They have been largely released in 30-page comic-book
     format, which most Japanese call "honyaku komikkusu"
     ^[$BK]Lu%3%_%C%/%9^[(B (translated comics) or "eigo-ban" ^[$B1Q8lHG^[(B
     (English version), not "manga". Comic artists such as Adam Warren and Ben
     Dunn have used anime as the main inspiration for their work, the former
     releasing licensed adaptations of the Dirty Pair and Bubblegum Crisis
     animes. (Usually, only titles with an accompanying anime are considered
     for adaptation.) Some American fans have drawn anime doujinshis and sold
     them at Comikets, and a few superficial, cosmetic aspects of manga art are
     now being appropriated by "mainstream" American comics.

     See also:
        o  fj.rec.comics Comic Lists - a hugely useful reference, listing all
          manga titles, artists, publishers and prices since 1987. (in
        o  Database of Manga Bookstore in Japan - (in Japanese).
        o  Tezuka's Jungle King and Disney's Lion King - some images and
          several useful articles.
        o  Index of Anime and Manga information - an index of vaguely
          manga-related links.
        o  The AFS Manga Gallery - a couple of scans from various manga.

manga-ka ^[$BL!2h^[(B^[$B2H^[(B
     Anyone who creates manga; a manga artist. Manga-kas are typically
     responsible for layout, pencilling, character design, and supply
     assistants with "art direction" information. about inking, screentone,
     sound effects and other details. In addition, the great majority of
     manga-kas write their own stories and dialogue. (Those who write stories
     for manga are called "gensaku-sha".) The professionalism of a manga-ka is
     often measured by the number of mangas they have running concurrently.

     In Japan, many manga-kas have celebrity status comparable to popular
     novelists or film directors in the West. They are often household names,
     and can command handsome salaries, especially if their work is animated or
     otherwise merchandised. (For example, Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball was
     licensed by over 70 companies for nearly 700 different kinds of products.
     Toriyama is reportedly paid 50,000 yen for each page.) Publishers stand to
     gain millions of yen if one of their artists' manga becomes a hit - as
     with Takeuchi Naoko's Sailor Moon, which more than doubled the circulation
     of Nakayoshi magazine within a few months of its debut. But until
     recently, even the most successful manga-kas usually had fairly informal,
     trust-based relationships with their publishers. (In 1993, Shougakukan
     paid Takahashi Rumiko a 7 million yen "loyalty" fee.)

     The most prolific manga-kas of recent years, in terms of numbers of
     tankoubons published (including reprints), are: Fujiko Fujio, Mizushima
     Shinji, Tezuka Osamu, Ishinomori Shoutarou, Tachihara Ayumi, Yokoyama
     Mitsuteru, Chiba Tetsuya, and Yagisawa Kimio.

     See also:
        o  Peter Evans' favourite manga-kas
        o  Hiroyuki Hironaga's favourite manga-kas - with pictures.

manga library
     The first dedicated Japanese manga library, located in Kawakami (Okayama
     Prefecture), was opened in May 1988. It boasted about 100,000 mangas,
     exhibits of original mangas, and antique manga magazines.

     There are few manga libraries in Japan, where the price and availability
     of manga makes them mostly unnecessary. However, manga rental libraries
     proliferate in Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong. A handful have also appeared
     in some Western countries. These libraries usually stock thousands of
     tankoubons and the latest issues of best-selling magazines, along with the
     occasional CD or video collection. Most of these can be borrowed overnight
     or read on-site for as little as a few cents, charged by the hour or by
     the tankoubon.

mecha ^[$@%a%+^[(B
     Contraction of "mechanical(s)". A blanket term for any machinery, robots
     or equipment. It particularly refers to "giant robots", probably first
     used in the titles of some Godzilla films. Mecha design seems to have
     reacheda high art for anime productions, but has been less important for
     the success of manga. Contemporary manga-kas noted for their mecha designs
     include Nagai Gou, Nagano Mamoru, and Masamune Shirow.

     See also:
        o  Mechs & Machinery Gallery
        o <>
        o  Mel's Godzilla Page <>

mook ^[$@%`%C%/^[(B
     Contraction of "magazine book". Mooks are books whose text is
     imaginatively typeset, and lavishly illustrated with photographs (mostly
     color) and drawings. "Roman album" is the brand name for anime mooks
     published by Tokuma Shoten.

otaku ^[$@%*%?%/^[(B
     "Fanatic". Slang word for hard-core fans of anything, roughly equating to
     "geek", "nerd", "fanboy", or "freak". Thus, a manga otaku is someone whose
     life revolves around manga to an extreme degree. (In Japan, this would
     probably entail reading or buying well in excess of 2000 pages/week;
     outside Japan, probably about half that.) The word usually has neutral
     connotations within fan culture, but in other contexts, it can carry very
     negative connotations. In Japanese, the word "mania" means much the same
     as "otaku", but has less extreme connotations.

     Literally, "o-taku" ^[$@$*$?$/^[(J is formal speech for "your house",
     which is also a polite, somewhat distant, second-person way of saying
     "you". The word came to be applied to those fans or hobbyists who rarely
     got out and mingled with the rest of society.

     (It is interesting to note that the English "fanatic" derives from the
     Latin "fanum", or temple/house - "fanaticus" being a devoted worshipper.)

     It has been speculated that the slang usage of "otaku" was coined by
     Shinda Mane ^[$@?7ED??;R^[(B, a manga artist active in the early '80s. The
     term was popularised by freelance writer Nakamori Akio in an article for
     the June 1983 issue of Manga Burikko. The otaku entered public
     consciousness in 1989 with the arrest of serial killer Miyazaki Tsutomu, a
     dedicated anime/manga otaku.

     See also:
        o  Anime Otaku: Japanese Animation Fans Outside Japan - a thoughtful
          assessment of Western anime otakus.
        o  [...] Alienated Japanese Zombie Computer Nerds - from Wired
          magazine, a detailed but sobering account of otaku culture.
        o  Are You An Otaku? - a highly romanticised view, from Viz's Trish
          Ledoux. <>
        o Otakus were discussed in Mediamatic Magazine vol.5, #3.

nijikon ^[$BFs$8%3%s^[(B
     "2-dimensional complex". Refers to those who are more interested in
     two-dimensional (ie. anime or manga) girls than real people.

     See also: otaku

     Original Video Animation, or anime created specifically for sale to the
     home market, without TV broadcast or theatrical release. Most OVAs sell
     for around 3000 yen (VHS format) or 6000 yen (laserdisc format).

     See also: Hitoshi Doi's ranking of OAV and anime movies

phonecard ^[$B%F%l%U%)%s%+!<%I^[(B
     A cheap, disposable credit card that can be used to make calls from public
     telephones, usually about 55mm x 80mm in size. They exist in Japan and
     elsewhere, though phone cards of different countries are not normally
     compatible. Manga magazines of all kinds often advertise or give away
     phonecards decorated with images from their most popular mangas. These
     often become collectors' items, like stamps or bubblegum cards.

     See also: Welcome to the world of Telephone Cards

     Western manga fans' word for thick, cheap manga magazines, which resemble
     phonebooks in their size and paper quality.

renga ^[$BO"2h^[(B
     "Sequential art/pictures". Another type of printed, graphic storytelling,
     differentiated from manga by its liberal use of page space (often only one
     panel per page), and sparing use of dialogue. Kodansha has been recently
     using renga to boost the circulation of its seinen-manga magazines. The
     word "renga" is not a contraction of the term "rensai manga"
     ^[$BO":\L!2h^[(B, which means "serialized manga (published regularly in a

screentone ^[$@%9%/%j!<%s%H!<%s^[(B
     Transparent, adhesive plastic film printed with a pattern, usually
     mechanical halftone dots or lines. Illustrators and draughtspeople cut off
     pieces of screentone as a quick, accurate method of shading to artwork.
     (Another type of mechanical tint is rub-down tone, or transfer screens,
     where the pattern is burnished onto the artwork with a blunt implement.)
     There are many hundreds of screentone patterns and colours available. Some
     brands of screentone (usually only available in Japan) can have their
     printed surface scraped off to create highlights. Retail price is around
     500 yen for an A4 sheet.

     Most recent how-to-draw-manga books cover the basics of screentone use.
     Since the late 80s, many shoujo and shounen mangas are increasingly
     dependent on screentone as an artistic device. Pioneers in the field of
     screentone technique include Asamiya Kia, Hagiwara Kazushi, Katsura
     Masakazu, Kitagawa Shou and many others. However, an even newer trend is
     the use of computer-generated tone, which can be customized for individual

     Screentone is sometimes mistakenly called "letratone", "ziptone",
     "zip-a-tone", "IC tone", etc., which are names of individual brands of

     A style of caricature which stunts the subject's height and simplifies
     their facial features, making them seem child-like. Also "SD" or

seinen-manga (1) ^[$B@DG/^[(B
     "Youth" or "young man". (Manga magazines with "Young" or "Big" in their
     title are all seinen-manga magazines.) Nearly all seinen-manga is aimed
     primarily at 18-25-year-old males, though many readers continue to follow
     seinen-manga into their 30s and 40s.

     Compared to shounen-manga, which is aimed at a younger, broader audience,
     seinen-manga features even more graphic sex and violence, but tends to be
     less comic or outlandish in its depiction. Shounen-manga stories of exams,
     sport, and school life give way to stories about the world of salarymen,
     university students and drop-outs. Dramas and stories with political or
     corporate themes are especially popular, though there are a few
     SF/occult/fantasy seinen-mangas.

     Shuueisha offers Young Jump, the biggest selling seinen-manga magazine;
     Super Jump, for artists (and ostensibly, readers) who have "graduated"
     from Shounen Jump; and Business Jump, whose sex-sex-violence-sex formula
     is aimed at salarymen. Shougakukan's seinen-manga stable includes Big
     Comic Spirits and Big Comic Original; Futabasha's magazine Action has
     hosted many important seinen-manga titles. Kodansha sells Young Magazine,
     more or less aimed at delinquents, plus Morning and Afternoon, aimed at
     salarymen and otakus respectively, and known for their innovative

     Accomplished seinen-manga artists of recent times include Kawaguchi Kaiji,
     Hirokane Kenshi, Egawa Tatsuya and Urasawa Naoki, many of whom were
     disciples of the previous generation of seinen-manga artists.

     In 1992, the biggest-selling seinen mangas were:
      Rank        Title        VolumesNumber of copies sold
      1   Golgo 13             1 - 86 59,000,000
      2   Oishinbo             1 - 38 57,000,000
      3   YAWARA!              1 - 26 32,000,000
      3   Be Bop High School   1 - 21 32,000,000
      5   The Silent Service   1 - 17 15,000,000
      6   Kachou Shima Kousaku 1 - 17 13,000,000
      6   3 x 3 Eyes           1 - 13 13,000,000
      8   Crayon Shinchan      1 - 5  9,000,000
      8   Shonen Ashibe        1 - 6  5.000,000
      10  AKIRA                1 - 6  3,900,000

seinen-manga (2) ^[$B@.G/^[(B
     "Adult", ie., a synonym for H-manga. Warning labels bearing the words
     "seinen komikku" were added to H-manga in January 1991, after the
     much-publicized stir caused by a housewife who found erotic material being
     sold within easy reach of 14-year-olds.

sensei ^[$B@h@8^[(B
     Honorific title roughly equivalent to "Master", "Dr.", "Teacher", bestowed
     upon senior, respected professionals of any kind. These days, most manga
     artists are addressed as "sensei".

shoujo-manga ^[$B>/=w^[(B
     "Girls' manga". Shoujo-manga is the genre targeted at young female manga
     readers between 6 and 18 years of age. The classification is not based on
     storytelling style, artistic style, or even content - if a publisher
     designates a manga as intended for a young female audience, then it is
     shoujo-manga. Full stop. (Of course, girls do not limit themselves to
     shoujo-manga and many are readers of Shounen Jump.)

     A pioneering shoujo-manga was Tezuka's Ribon no Kishi
     ^[$B%j%\%s$N53;N^[(B. Published in a girls' magazine in the mid '50s, it
     inspired other artists to draw for female readers. Many of these were
     women who thought they knew their audience better than male manga-kas, and
     fostered the rapid growth of the shoujo-manga market. Some of the most
     famous names from this era are Ikeda Ryouko ^[$@CSEDM}Be;R^[(B, Hagio Moto
     ^[$@GkHxK>ET^[(B, and Ohshima Yumiko ^[$@BgEg5];R^[(B. Today, there are
     many successful female manga-kas, and most shoujo-manga artists are women.
     Of course, there are also male shoujo-manga artists (eg. Wada Shinji),
     just as there are female shounen-manga artists (eg. Takahashi Rumiko).

     Shoujo-manga is at least as diverse as any other type of manga,
     encompassing a huge variety of styles and genres. In fact, shoujo-manga
     accounts for about 35% of all manga published in Japan today. Because of
     this diversity, it is difficult to talk about general defining
     characteristics of shoujo-manga. There are always many exceptions to the
     rule. But as a very rough guideline, it might be said that the typical
     shoujo manga:

        o emphasises emotions, atmosphere and mood, rather than action.
        o uses less literal ("A then B then C") storytelling, and more
          impressionism and montage.
        o rarely depicts "ugliness", unless heavily stylized.
        o shows considerable attention to details of costume and dress.
        o is rarely made into anime. (This is mainly due to marketing reasons;
          shoujo-manga have less fanatical followings. Those few which have
          been animated are mostly targeted at under-10s. There are some
          exceptions, but in most of these cases, males were part of the
          anime's target audience.)

     A common misconception about shoujo-manga is that the genre is limited to
     romance stories only, or that some subject matter is off-limits. This is
     wrong - it is true that drama and romance stories are prevalent, but they
     are only a part of the shoujo-manga tradition that also includes fantasy,
     SF, "mystery" (thriller), and horror. (Some shoujo mangas contain no
     romantic or sentimental elements whatsoever.) For example, shoujo horror
     mangas can be at least as explicit or shocking as anything aimed at a male
     audience, and shoujo-manga actually dominates the horror manga market.

     Another misconception is that certain shoujo-manga for pre-teens, such as
     Sailor Moon, Magic Knight Rayearth, Akazukin Chacha and Wedding Peach are
     typical or mainstream shoujo-manga titles. In fact, they are exceptional
     titles whose cuteness makes them popular among male otakus.

     An increasing number of men are turning to shoujo-manga, often after
     burning out on years of formulaic shounen-manga, or via the influence of
     female friends and relatives. ("It was just lying around the house...")
     While this may have been slightly stigmatic in the past, it turns no heads
     these days. There is also the rise of "unisex" manga magazines such as
     Wings and South, and artists such as CLAMP and Kouga Yun, whose audience
     is increasingly less gender-specific.

     A few important shoujo-manga magazines are: Nakayoshi and Ribbon (for
     under-6th graders), Lala and Hana to Yume (for teenagers), Susperia
     (horror), Wings ("unisex"), and Margaret.

     There are many shoujo-manga fans on the net, mostly posting to a mailing
     list devoted to shoujo manga and anime:
          send subscription requests to
          send postings to

     NB: The word "shoujo" should be written and spoken with the long "ou", to
     avoid confusion with the word "shojo" (^[$B=h=w^[(B, meaning "virgin").

     See also:
        o Miho Nishida's Griffin Manga Reports: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8.
        o Shoujo Anime/Manga List
        o Images of some Shoujo Manga
        o Puff magazine synopses
        o Takayuki Uchikoba's home page (in Japanese).

shounen ^[$B>/G/^[(B
     Boy, or youth. The first mangas to achieve mass circulation, and to be
     printed in "phonebook" format, were aimed at the shounen audience. Today,
     shounen-manga still have the largest market share, and most shounen
     magazines are weekly "phonebooks". However, quite a few adults and teenage
     girls are loyal shounen-manga readers.

     Some significant shounen mangas and their specialties are Shounen Jump
     (aimed at everyone), Shounen Sunday (inner-city dwellers), Shounen
     Magazine (sports-oriented, also the longest running manga magazine
     currently in print), Shounen Champion (catering to macho types), and
     Shounen Captain (for otakus). Of these, Shounen Jump is the biggest
     seller. It is a weekly of about 450 pages' length, read by nearly 7
     million people each week, making it the most popular manga magazine in
     Japan. Up-to-date Japanese issues of Shounen Jump can be even be found in
     Chinatowns all over the world. Shounen Jump's success is due to a winning
     formula of combining action, drama, and sensationalism in addictive,
     drawn-out sagas. All its mangas contain three essential elements:
     "doryoku, yuujou, shouri" ^[$BEXNO^[(B,^[$BM'>p^[(B,^[$B>!Mx^[(B (effort,
     friendship, triumph). While competitors have tried to emulate the formula
     (with limited success), it also has its down side. Shonen Jump mangas are
     infamous for dragging on well past their use-by date, and draining the
     hardiest manga-kas of their creativity and artistic freedom. However,
     Shounen Jump has retained its leading position for years, and will
     probably stay at the top for years to come.

tachiyomi ^[$BN)$AFI$_^[(B
     "Browse", literally "Read while standing". Many bookstores frown on those
     who tachiyomi, and take precautions to stop customers stealing free reads.
     There will often be signs forbidding tachiyomi - if ignored, bookstores
     often respond by sealing their stock in plastic bags.

tankoubon ^[$BC19TK\^[(B
     "Separate volume", or book. Mangas are sold in tankoubon format after
     being serialized in magazines, with each tankoubon containing around 5-11
     instalments. Most manga tankoubons are softcover, of about 200 black &
     white pages in length, and sell for around 400 yen. However, there are a
     large number of semi-standard formats, generally conforming to metric page

     Some common versions ("-ban"):
     aizou-ban ^[$@0&B"HG^[(B (special or hardcover version)
          Around 300-1200 pages, costing Y600-2000.
     anime-ban ^[$@%"%K%aHG^[(B (colour anime comics)
          Normal tankoubon size, at about twice the price.
     kaizoku-ban ^[$@3$B1HG^[(B (pirate or bootleg version)
          Same as the original, more or less.
     wide-ban ^[$@%o%$%IHG^[(B, gouka-ban ^[$B9k2ZHG^[(B (deluxe version)
          Around 400-1200 pages, costing Y400-1200. Pages may be slightly
          larger than the original printing. (Often just another name for

     Tankoubon sales account for a large proportion of a publisher's profits,
     while magazines barely recover their costs, especially those with high
     circulations. However, magazines may occasionally include short stories or
     colour pages which rarely, if ever, find their way into tankoubons.

     The English word "comics" ("komikkusu") is used interchangeably with
     "tankoubon", although "komikkusu" is not usually used to describe Western

     See also: Yomuzou's Weekly Manga Bestseller Lists

ukiyo-e ^[$BIb@$3(^[(B
     "Floating world pictures", depicting life in Edo-period Japan. The
     "floating world" was originally a Buddhist term referring to the transient
     nature of life, but later came to mean a hedonistic obsession with living
     for the present. Thus, ukiyo-e were pictures of life's ephemeral

     Moronobu Hishikawa created the first ukiyo-e in the 1670s after
     discovering how to make monochrome woodblock prints. (Moronobu is also
     known for producing at least 150 illustrated books.) With with further
     improvements in publishing technology, such prints became very popular in
     the mid-18th century. Harunobu Suzuki created full-colour nishiki-e
     ^[$B6S3(^[(B and Kitagawa Utamaro created ookubi-e with detailed
     backgrounds, often adorned with mica. The standard declined as the market
     became saturated, but in the 19th century, Katsushika Hokusai and Ando
     Hiroshige reinvented ukiyo-e with their vibrant, dynamic approach. In the
     Meiji period, ukiyo-e sometimes appeared in packing material for goods
     sent to Europe, and caught the attention of impressionists such as Degas,
     Manet and Van Gogh.

     Today, ukiyo-e seems to be more appreciated in the West than in Japan.
     However, some manga artists, such as Maruo Suehiro, feature a strong
     ukiyo-e sensibility in their work. Characteristics of ukiyo-e can also be
     found in many mainstream mangas, though this is due more to cultural
     diffusion than direct influence.

     See also: Jim Breen's Ukiyo-E Gallery

UFO catcher
     A type of game machine found in Japanese game arcades (and elsewhere,
     where it is known by other names). The machine is filled with dolls, often
     of manga/anime characters, which can be grabbed by a mechanical hook under
     the player's control.

     See also: Hitoshi Doi's UFO Catcher Doll Image Gallery

yon-koma (4-koma)
     A short manga, aka "gag strip", usually (but not always) four panels in
     length. 4-koma manga are carried in newspapers and most manga magazines.
     Panels are arranged vertically, finishing at the bottom of the page.
     Themes of 4-koma manga are typically light-hearted and heavily stylised
     but, like their Western counterparts, can have serious intent. Many
     elements of 4-coma manga style have found their way into full-length

     In the late 70s, Ishii Hisaichi gained attention for his alternative
     approach to 4-koma manga, which soon became the norm. Other important
     4-koma manga artists include: Aihara Kouji, Akizuki Risu, Asakura
     Sekaiichi, Hori Nobuyuki. Igarashi Mikio, Kikuni Masahiko, Nankin, Saibara
     Rieko, Togashi Yasutaka, Yaku Mitsuru, and Yoshida Sensha. There are
     4-koma monthlies (eg. Manga Club) and on occasion, popular 4-coma mangas
     have been animated (eg. Shonen Ashibe).

yaoi ^[$@$d$*$$^[(B
     Abbreviation for "yama-nashi ochi-nashi imi-nashi", which can be roughly
     translated as "no climax, no resolution, no meaning". The characteristic
     feature of yaoi manga is male homosexual love, usually between characters
     from well-known stories. It is also known as "shounenai" ^[$B>/G/0&^[(B
     (boys' love) or "shotacom" (regarded as the opposite of "lolicom"). The
     yaoi phenomenon closely parallels the growth of "slash" fan fiction in the

     Yaoi more or less began in the early '80s, after the publication of the
     magazine June. (Strictly speaking, June is a "tanbi-kei" ^[$BC?H~;e^[(B
     magazine.) Today, there are several yaoi manga magazines, but doujinshis
     still account for the greatest proportion of yaoi in print. It is believed
     that doujinshis of the shounen soccer manga Captain Tsubasa were largely
     responsible for the growth of yaoi. As a result, Comiket is currently
     dominated by yaoi doujinshis, although yaoi doujinshis are thought to have
     already reached saturation point, according to a chairman of Comiket.
     Mainstream publishers are increasingly turning to yaoi anthologies to
     compensate for the declining sales of gekiga-based lady's comics.

     Nakajima Azusa (aka Masuyama Norie) is an important novelist and essayist
     specialising in the yaoi/shounenai genre.

     See also:
        o  Yaoi Magazines List (from Puff).
        o  Susan Schnitger's Slash FAQ
        o  The Alternate Universes of Women's Fan Fiction - an appraisal of
          "slash" fandom. Many of the observations are also relevant to the
          yaoi genre. <>

The pictures in the HTML version of this document are included for review
purposes. They are left uncaptioned as an "exercise for the reader". (^_^)

Many thanks to the following contributors, who provided information for various

     Gene Fornario ( - seinen
     Christopher Fu ( - manga (Malaysia)
     ITO, Takayuki ( - 2dc, doujinshi, deforme
     Tonghyun Kim ( - manga (Korea)
     Chih-Ping Kuo ( - wuxia
     Cynthia Ma ( - yaoi
     David Mou ( - wuxia, manga (Taiwan)
     Miho Nishida ( shoujo
     Steve Pearl ( - japonisme
     Crystal Poon (via SSOONG@ren.IR.Miami.EDU) - blood type
     Kenichiro Tanaka (
     Alex Wong ( - manga (Hong Kong)
     Ishigami Yoshitaka (74110,

Special thanks to Kunio Muto and Ryo Shiroma, who proofread this glossary,
checked most entries and greatly improved its quality:

     Kunio Muto (

     Ryo "W2/JH1CUV" Shiroma (

References (books and magazines):

     Henshall, Kenneth G. A Guide to Remembering Japanese Characters. Charles
     E. Tuttle & Co., Japan, 1988.

     Kobayashi, Tadashi. Ukiyo-e: Great Japanese Art. Kodansha, 1983.

     Schodt, Frederik. Manga! Manga! The world of Japanese comics. Kodansha,

     The Concise Oxford Dictionary. Oxford University Press, 1985.

     Marco Polo magazine, May 1993.

     Japan as it is - Nihon tateyoko. Gakken, 1990.

Copyright (C) 1995, Iain Sinclair and the aforementioned contributors. Comments
and corrections are welcome, and should be e-mailed to the editor. Sale of this
   FAQ and its sub-FAQs, or their use in commercial publication, is strictly
     forbidden without written consent of the editor. This work may not be
               reproduced or redistributed in whole, or in part.
Edited by Steve Pearl- Moderator, 
Email submissions to and questions about the 
newsgroup to

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