Departmental Bulletin Paper 日本マンガ通史時期区分
Japanese Manga Through the Ages : Seen in Six Divisions

植木, 武  ,  渡辺, 朋子  ,  Takeshi, Ueki  ,  Tomoko, Watanabe

The overall history of Japanese manga from its earliest appearance over a thousand years ago to the present has only been considered in one comprehensive study, published in book form in 1990. The author discussed manga in relation to the standard divisions of Japanese history.In the present study we took a macro bird's eye view of the long history of Japanese manga, identifying six divisions in its development, not necessarily corresponding to Japanese national history. Our approach was, first, not to pay excessive attention to each minor development but rather, second, to single out epoch-making changes which started off new eras in manga history. The divisions were:I. Dawn Division, starting from caricatures found on the back side of ceiling boards in the main building and pagoda of Horyuji Temple in Nara (8th century). II. Infancy Division, starting with Otsu-e, souvenir pictures sold to travelers to the town of Otsu in Omi Province (today's Shiga Prefecture) at the beginning of the Edo Period (17th century). III. Awareness Division, starting from the influence of cartoons drawn by visiting foreigners from the end of the Edo Period into the Meiji Period (19th century) as pictorial comments on social and political events. IV. Development Division, starting right after World War II when Osamu Tezuka began drawing manga with real storylines. V. Great Progress and Flourishing Division, starting when monthly manga magazines changed into weekly publications, resulting in huge increases in popularity and sales. VI. Rapid Decrease and Stabilizing Division, starting from the finish of the vastly popular "Dragon Ball" series, leading to a steep fall off in sales, leveling off to the current lower but steady popularity of weekly manga.

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