Manga Terminology Part 2

So I realized my last post was getting kind of long and I hadn’t even gotten to my point yet! So here is my point… “There are a lot of new words I have encountered in studying Manga!”

So as it stands now here is the list of words that I have encountered and what I believe each to mean:

Kodomomuke – children’s manga…stories written specifically for children which usually contain a moral in an effort to teach a lesson – these remind me of Aesop’s Fables

Shojo or shoujo – girls manga – stories written for an audience of young girls

24-nengumi, “year 24 group”, or the “1940-ers” refers to a group of women shojo writers who were born in or around 1949. Previously shojo was written mostly by men.

Mahou shoujo or majokko features young girls who use magic – a subgenre of shojo

Shonen manga- boys’ manga – stories written for an audience of young boys

Mecha – robot manga – a subgenre of shonen

Seinen manga – men’s manga – stories written for an audience of grown men…they address adult concerns but are not necessarily inappropriate for children.

Josei manga — women’s manga intended for a grownup audience…they address adult concerns but are not necessarily inappropriate for children, simply not intended for them.

Seijin manga — means adult stories…seijin manga are those which are only to be sold to adult — they would be considered a subgenre of josei or seinen depending on if their intended audience is female or male

gyakuhāremu – reverse harem, does not necessarily refer to sexual relationships between characters (though it can in which case it would be a subgenre of josei seijin), simply that the main character (in this case a female) is surrounded by numerous male characters who occupy a subordinate role – subgenre of shojo or josei seijin

Yuri manga – means girl love. These stories usually focus on the romantic or emotional aspects of the relationships and are not very explicit…Often the same stories which are considered yuri in Japan are considered yuri hentai in the U.S. – a subgenre of josei seijin

hāremumono – harem manga, does not necessarily refer to sexual relationships between characters (though it can), simply that the main character (a male) is surrounded by numerous female characters who occupy a subordinate role – subgenre of shonen or seinen seijin

Yaoi manga — stories about men who love other men. These stories are written mostly by women for a female audience…these stories usually focus on explicit sex acts more than focusing on character development or romance — they are also considered a subgenre of josei seijin.

Bara — stories generally written by gay men which are intended for a gay male audience — it is a subgenre of seinen seijin

Shonen-ai — romances or love stories between men focused more on the romantic and emotional aspects rather than on explicit descriptions of sex acts — subgenre of Bara

Ecchi – naughty works with sexual undertones – a description which can be applied to any work of manga, including those targeted at that younger audiences

Hentai manga – meaning bizarre or perverse, explicit works depicting sexual themes – subgenre of seijin

Futanari – explicit works depicting hermaphrodic characters – subgenre of seijin

Kemono manga – stories which feature anthropomorphic animals – can be a subset of any genre

Ukiya-e – pictures from the floating world…seems to be the beginnings of manga style artwork, represented the hedonistic lifestyle indulged in in the 17th century by the newly rich.

Please feel free to correct me! Clarify! or add new words that I missed in the comments below!!!




Manga Terminology Part 1

So here’s the thing that makes any conversation about Manga difficult for me: Manga is a Japanese art form; therefore, the terminology used in an intelligent discussion on the topic includes many words in Japanese…I do not speak or read Japanese. Now that I have begun to understand what the art form is, who reads it, why it’s different from American comics, why it’s different from other kinds of art, and why it’s different from other literature (basically all the things that make Manga a “thing” separate from other things); I must now begin to learn some of the words used to describe the differences within the form itself.

To add to the complexity of this task, Japanese uses a different set of characters from those used in English and there is sometimes not a “one-to-one” translation of syllables from Japanese to English. This requires people who wish to use characters available and recognizable to English speakers to portray Japanese words using a type of transcription called Hepburn Romanization. It used the letters of the English language to portray the sounds one would hear listening to a speaker who is speaking in Japanese. So when the reader “sounds it out” in English, they will (hopefully) pronounce it close to the way it would be pronounced by a speaker of Japanese.

As you can guess, while there are official rules for this system, not everybody who transcribes any thing into English sticks strictly to those uniform rules. This sometimes leads to multiple English spellings for the same word! Also because languages are living creatures, always growing and adapting; sometimes these different transcriptions begin to take on new meanings with a context different from each other! Think of the way authors sometimes indicate a character’s accent in their writing. If they use a Southern accent, what does that say about that character? If they use a Boston accent what does that say? A Mexican accent? Think of how authors portray that accent on the page. They might switch a vowel, add a repetitive vowel, drop letters. Are some of these anomalies I am finding in the transcriptions of Japanese terms meant to portray the same kind of things? Maybe when I find a word spelled with an “a” in place of an “e” it is simply a mistake, but maybe it is intentional to try to convey a context. Or maybe it is another word altogether!!!! Dessert vs desert, through vs though; to a non-native English speaker these words would be awful tricky!

OK that introduction to my terminology list was awfully long so I guess I will make a new post with my list of terms I have (hopefully) learned! Thanks for listening to my dilemma, please feel free to leave me comments with your thoughts, suggestions, or advice!