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Boundless Pages: Unraveling the World of Manga(Comic)

Manga (comic), it instantly recalls me when I was little of ”Chanbara“manga, meaning literally “sword fighting”(fighting by swords) in Samurai days and it is roughly equivalent to western cowboy and swashbuckler films.

Hi  everyone  how is it going?  I’m so glad to talk to you about “Manga” today since it is one of “Cool Japan” and I loved it that much when I was little.

And another manga which was my favorite in childhood is Astro Boy/Mighty Atom” written by Osamu Tezuka whose run from April 3, 1952 – March 12, 1968 for 16 years and its volumes 23. The writer will be depicted in more details of this site later

What’s Manga (comic)?

Manga account for more than 30 per cent of the total sales of all publications in Japan (as of 2000).

Manga, which tell stories through pictures and words, are loved by men and women of all ages.

Today, let’s see what they are like.

Stories are broken into successive panels of images. Because the text is vertical and needs to be read from the rightmost line to the leftmost line, the pictures also go from right to left.

To create a sense of immediacy, sounds made by characters and sound effects are expressed in words as well. Manga use this technique in a highly sophisticated manner.

the origin of manga

The origins of manga can be found in a set of picture scrolls drawn about 800 years ago. Entitled Scrolls of Frolicking Annimals and Humans, the work depicts monkeys, rabbits, frogs, and other animals playing together.

We can see in these scrolls the basic techniques that are used in manga today.

Here, a rabbit and a frog are grappling with each other just like human sumo wrestlers.

Modern manga oftern include similar scenes, presenting unrealistic situations in a comical way.

Another feature is the depiction of the passage of time.

In the next picture to the left, we see the outcome of the bout. Developed for creating picture scrolls, the technique of telling a story through a series of pictures became the basis of modern manga.

Manga made great advances after World War Ⅱ, and the artist who started the ball rolling was Osamu Tezuka.

Published in 1947, Tezuka’s first full-length comic book received a great deal of attention for its daring visual style featuring close-ups and multi-angle editing. Tezuka wanted to create a cinematic, you-are-there feel.

He also took on the challenge of telling serious stories in manga form.

One of his major works is Phoenix. set in various time periods, it presents stories of human suffering.

After Tezuka broke new ground in comic-book storytelling, manga began to deal with more and more subject matters. No longer just for children, they became a form of reading material that even adults could appreciate.

Manga have become very popular worldwide. The fact that the word “manga” is now used in many languages is a clear indication of how unique Japanese comic books are and how much they are loved

The Most Sold Japanese Manga in the World

In August 2022, the total global circulation of the manga “One Piece” surpassed 500 million copies.

This achievement broke the Guinness World Record for “the most copies issued for a single author comic series.”

Let’s take a look at the dominating frontlines of Japanese manga in the world.

According to “Manga Zenkan Dot Com,” the top 10 manga in terms of all-time circulation are as follows:

★ ⓵ “One Piece” by Eiichiro Oda: 510 million copies

★ ⓶ “Golgo 13” by Takao Saito / Saito Pro: 300 million copies

★ ⓷ “Dragon Ball” by Akira Toriyama: 260 million copies

At an overwhelming first place, “One Piece” has been serialized in “Weekly Shonen Jump” (Shueisha) since 1997, with 104 volumes of the comic published.


The story revolves around the era where many pirates fight for the “One Piece,” the great treasure left by the legendary Pirate King.

It follows the journey of a young boy named Luffy, who aims to become the Pirate King and continues on a great adventure with his comrades.

In second place, “Golgo 13” has been serialized in “Big Comic” (Shogakukan) since November 1968, with 207 volumes of the comic published.


The series follows the activities of the taciturn sniper known as “Golgo 13” or Duke Togo, and it has been captivating readers for over 50 years.

The work is well-known for its ultimate fully specialized system even after the author’s passing in September 2021, as serialization continues based on Saito’s own wishes.

At third place, “Dragon Ball” was serialized in “Weekly Shonen Jump” (Shueisha) from November 1984 to June 1995, with a total of 42 volumes of the comic.


The series, featuring protagonist Son Goku and his diverse and distinctive characters and fighting techniques like the “Kamehameha” and “Dodonpa,” as well as its innovative storyline, has won fans of manga, anime, and games worldwide.

★ ⓸ “Detective Conan” by Gosho Aoyama: 250 million copies

“Mystery Detective Conan,” a mystery manga where high school detective Shinichi Kudo turns into a child named Conan Edogawa and solves challenging cases, has been serialized in “Weekly Shonen Sunday” since January 1994, with 102 volumes of the comic published.

One of its remarkable features is its popularity among adult female readers, along with attractive characters like Kaito Kid and Bourbon and the presence of romance elements throughout the story.

★ ⓸ “Naruto” by Masashi Kishimoto: 250 million copies

“Naruto” is a ninja manga with greater popularity overseas than in Japan.

It was serialized in “Weekly Shonen Jump” (Shueisha) from September 1999 to November 2014, with a total of 72 volumes of the comic.

The appeal of the series lies in the growth of its protagonist, Naruto Uzumaki, from being an underdog, as well as the charisma of characters like Sasuke, Sakura, and Kakashi-sensei, and the stunning ninjutsu and taijutsu displayed throughout.

★ ⓺ “Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari Koen-mae Hashutsujo” by Osamu Akimoto: 156.5 million copies

★ ⓻ “Demon Slayer” by Koyoharu Gotouge: 150 million copies


★ ⓼ “Oishinbo” by Tetsu Kariya (original story) and Akira Hanasaki (art): 135 million copies

★ ⓽ “Bleach” by Tite Kubo: 130 million copies

★ ⓾ “Slam Dunk” by Takehiko Inoue: 120.29 million copies

You may recognize these titles even if you haven’t read them. Among them, “Bleach” is particularly popular overseas.

The anime announcement in autumn 2022, commemorating its 20th anniversary, received significant attention abroad and is said to have surpassed “Naruto.”

The reasons for the popularity of Japanese manga worldwide include the delicate and realistic art style, stories and characters that appeal not only to children but also adults, and the detailed emotional depictions and growth of the main characters.

By the way, the best-selling manga outside Japan is the French “Asterix,” created by René Goscinny (original story) and Albert Uderzo (art), with over 350 million copies sold.

Next is the American “Peanuts” by Charles M. Schulz, known for Snoopy, with 370 million copies sold.

In third place is “Lucky Luke” by René Goscinny (original story) and the Belgian cartoonist Maurice (art), with 300 million copies sold.

The recognition of Japanese manga, anime, and games worldwide reflects Japan’s status as a “culture-exporting nation.”

This soft power is said to be more influential than military strength. As the 21st-century version of Hokusai and Utamaro who swept the world with Japonism, what kind of work will appear next?

And last but not least, I hope Manga would heal you and become your vitality!

About the author

古林 茂樹(Shigeki Furubayashi )