While researching my own question How important was the invention of blue towards anime?, I landed relatively quickly on Hokusai. The page states that Hokusai is incorrectly considered the precedent to modern manga.

The largest of Hokusai's works is the 15-volume collection Hokusai Manga (北斎漫画), a book crammed with nearly 4,000 sketches that was published in 1814. These sketches are often incorrectly considered the precedent to modern manga, as Hokusai's Manga is a collection of sketches (of animals, people, objects, etc.), different from the story-based comic-book style of modern manga.

And considering that the first 'manga' was more art then manga as we know it these days What is the first ever produced anime and manga?

How did manga as we know it these days come to be ?

  • What would you distinguish those other forms from manga? It being comic-style? It being published in magazines? Where would you draw the line, so that an answer knows what to look for?
    – kuwaly
    Apr 25, 2018 at 11:32
  • @kuwaly I would consider manga as we know it these days as black on white, 6-8 boxes a page, read from right to left, conveying a story of sorts. Compared to the linked first manga which basically was a large segmented painting conveying a story
    – Dimitri mx
    Apr 25, 2018 at 11:37
  • 1
    What we regard as manga can be referred to as post-world war 2 manga. Post-war Allied occupation and US cultural influences especially though comics that were brought over and cartoons from TV and Disney movies had profound impacts coupled with the growing publishing at the time. War and military art and writing was heavily censored during this time, which cause artistic focus to shift to other area to send different messages. Astro Boy is a very notable example.
    – кяαzєя
    Apr 26, 2018 at 2:24

1 Answer 1


While the origin of manga dates back to as far as the 12th century. Pre-war manga magazines, like Eshinbun Nipponchi and The Japan Punch were attempted, but their sucesses were mixed, and mostly unsuccessful for a variety of reasons. The hardly resembled manga today, but mores resembled picture books of text, more synonymous with Chinese graphical art of the periods.

The media we refer to as modern manga, was mostly born though the commercialism of post-war Japanese economy. Western influences particularly American culture played a big role. How it all came about is due a variety of factors, but the wave of commercialism is what helped carry it around the world.

Manga itself is an immersive social environment that encompasses various social aspects, from history, to language, to politics, religion, family, economy, and education, manga reflects Japanese society at its core, the good and the bad. The myths, traditions, beliefs, rituals, taboos, and fantasies of Japanese life are laid bare on pages of paper. The commercial proliferation of the Japanese publishing industry created a channel of expression that allowed the for the mass distribution of both real and fantastical ideas of the time. Manga as a medium is most relatable to people on a personal level because of this. While not always applicable the intimate ideas and subjects covers by the media connect to many on a personal level. While manga tends to depict a microcosm of Japanese Society. It's problem are not limited to Japanese people and society. These joys, sadness and tribulations can be share by all as fellow humans who can empathize.

Manga is a medium of expression for people to other people. People might not see eye to eye all the time, but when they do, the connection they make go beyond the images and words on the page.

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