I know that this is a question leading to subjective answers, but I am hoping to find out if there is some wider consent.

My 13yo daughter is a great fan of different mangas, and she is really a great drawing artist. Apart from drawing manga characters as stand-alone pictures, she also began writing her own mangas. She invented manga-style characters and is now writing and sketching a story with them. In style, she has been inspired by Spy Family, Demon Slayer, Pokémon and the like. Since she doesn't speak Japanese, she writes her own mangas in her mother tongue, which is German, which unlike Japanese is a left-to-right (LTR) language.

Since I do not have any overview of how many and which non-Japanese mangas there are, I wonder how non-Japanese mangas are arranged, especially regarding the images and the speech bubbles. Cluelessly searching around with DDG/Google did not give me a definite answer.

I can think of three possible answers:

  • If the original language is LTR, then the manga should be arranged LTR.
  • A manga is only a true manga if it is arranged RTL, independent from the original language.
  • A manga has to be written in Japanese, originally. Otherwise, it is not a manga but a comic, even if the drawings are manga-style. As a comic in an LTR language, it should be arranged LTR.


To the comment of @sundowner: I did not know the term bande dessinée. By Googling it and taking a look at the drawing style, I don't count bandes dessinées as mangas. Although some come close, most of them remind me on the style of Asterix or Les aventures de Tintin (in German Tim und Struppi), which is just different.

  • 2
    Welcome to Anime & Manga Stack Exchange. While this site is about anime & manga, please note that questions about creating your own manga are off-topic unless the topic can be generalized to existing industry. In this case, instead of focusing on how readers should expect the arrangement, a valid question might focus on how existing non-Japanese manga were made.
    – Aki Tanaka
    Jun 27, 2023 at 10:49
  • Possible answer: If you count Bande dessinee as a genre of manga, then YES/NO/NO. Otherwise perhaps -/YES/YES. I suppose it boils down to the definition of manga. This artist creates manga, presumably in English, then translated and published in a Japanese magazine. I think there are a few of others (not many to my knowledge though).
    – sundowner
    Jun 27, 2023 at 12:35

2 Answers 2


This seems to be a "define manga" question, with the points about your daughter as a pretext. The answer is that reading direction is entirely determined by the conventions of the language. Manga (very generally defined by purists as created in Japanese for a Japanese audience) is printed RTL because traditionally Japanese is read RTL, though, that is changing over time. If the content is being written in German, it should be LTR following the conventions of the language; whether it's really a "manga" or not is entirely irrelevant. Manga are not printed RTL because they're manga, they're printed RTL because they're printed in Japanese. Translations usually follow that pattern out of operational expediency, not conformance to any specific properties of manga.

  • I've heard rumors of Comiket pamphlet-manga being printed LTR even though they were in Japanese, so the basis of this answer being "because Japanese" isn't quite strong enough IMO. If you had sources, maybe that'd help.
    – Makoto
    Jun 27, 2023 at 21:50
  • I don’t think I indicated in any way that manga cannot be printed LTR in fact I believe my answer infers the exact opposite. I also noted that LTR printing of Japanese is becoming more common, so the rumors you’ve heard are not surprising. As to sources, the question in and in itself is premised on a subjective matter, as I said, the question really is “define manga” and the reading direction is a pretext.
    – RobR
    Jun 28, 2023 at 22:08

Manga is just an inherent style of manga, the reason certain works read in a certain direction is based on the language it's written for (it applies to their non-illustrated literature as well). In Japanese (and other Asian countries) they read in one direction, while in the west they read another way. There really is no inherent rule one must follow, so don't think too hard about it. There is no "true" manga. Manga and comics are just a form and style of expression, much like how the work of Hokusai had an influence on Western Impressionist artist such as Monet, Manet, Renoir, and Van Gogh. Don't confine yourselves to arbitrary rules, encourage exploration and expression, let her find her own style. Manga is a good stating point if she's taken to it, but it shouldn't be a stopping point if she is an inspiring artist. Manga, comics, manhwa, manhua, bande dessine, fumetti, etc are all are different names and expressions comics. It's a big world out there, so take some time to explore it. Manga isn't everything...

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