Manga History

A Bibliography of Manga History

Based on Crystal’s pathfinder for her MLS.

Introduction and Scope

This bibliography provides sources that contain information about the history and development of manga, as it grew from the magazine side-dish of post-war Japan to the publishing juggernaut of today. Other bibliographies available either focus on a broader topic, such as manga as a whole, are outdated, or do not contain sources from the many types represented in this bibliography. Therefore, the goal of this bibliography is to present a comprehensive, credible list of sources about the history of manga that cross many different media, from websites to scholarly databases. General manga fans are the intended audience for this bibliography, and they comprise a diverse group: they may be tweens or adults; male or female; new or old; and casually or academically interested. Because of this diverse group, the sources presented in this bibliography are equally diverse. There are subject headings and call number ranges for those who prefer to browse for sources, along with websites, books, and articles for those who prefer to begin looking at a single source. Furthermore, the audiences for these sources range from general to academic, depending on how each item was originally published. By providing such a range of sources, anyone interested in researching manga’s history should be able to find relevant sources in this bibliography.

The sources on this page were found through various methods. Several bibliographies were consulted, as were card catalogs, databases, and Internet search engines. Many websites have been left off this bibliography for not looking credible enough or for containing information found elsewhere; similarly, books with a little information about the history of manga may not have made the cut in favor of texts that address the topic in greater depth. If you would still like to look at those books, they can be found in several of the bibliographies contained in this bibliography, or they are referenced in other works found in this list.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

When beginning research, Library of Congress subject headings can be a good place to start, as all books on these topics should be filed under these subject headings. These subject headings can be browsed in WorldCat, in the Library of Congress online catalog, or at most academic libraries. The subject headings provided here should all be narrow enough to focus solely on the history of manga or closely-related topics.

  • Art, Japanese–History and criticism.
  • Comic books, strips, etc.–Japan–History and criticism.
  • Graphic novels–Japan–History and criticism.
  • Japan–Comics books, strips, etc.–History and criticism.

Call Number Browsing Areas

Another good method for browsing all available texts on a subject is call number browsing. Depending on what kind of library you frequent, they might use Dewey Decimal or Library of Congress call numbers, so call number ranges have been provided for both. These call number ranges may cover broader subjects than the history of manga, but they still provide a good starting point for call number browsing.

Dewey Decimal:

  • 741.5-741.5952 (within drawing and drawings)

Library of Congress:

  • NC1700-NC1766 (within pictorial humor, caricature, etc.)
  • PN6700-PN6790 (comic books, strips, etc.)


Another good method for beginning research is to consult existing bibliographies on the subject matter, as they list many relevant sources and save you the time and effort of searching yourself. The bibliographies below cover sources about comics, anime, and manga in general, but each of them also contains sources relevant to the history of manga.

  • Dacey, Katherine. “Tezuka: A Bibliography for English Speakers.” The Manga Critic: Reviews for the Discerning Manga Fan. The Manga Critic, 21 Dec. 2010. Web. 28 Nov. 2012.

    This bibliography provides sources about Osamu Tezuka, the manga creator who has had the greatest impact on the manga industry. Though it focuses on only one man, information about Tezuka always relates to the history of manga.

  • Kannenberg, Gene, Jr. Comics Scholarship Annotated Bibliography. Gene Kannenberg, Jr., n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2012.

    Though this bibliography focuses on comics as a whole, it contains information about resources that focus on anime and manga, including some that address the history of manga.

  • Koulikov, Mikhail. Online Bibliography of Anime and Manga Research. Mikhail Koulikov, n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2012.

    This bibliography contains information about every scholarly publication released about anime and manga. It contains scholarly articles, presentations, class work, grey literature, and fan essays on many topics, including the history of manga, making it an invaluable resource.

  • “Manga Bibliography.” The Ohio State University Libraries Wiki. The Ohio State University, 31 Mar. 2009. Web. 28 Nov. 2012.

    This bibliography focuses solely on sources about manga. Though its page about histories of manga does not exist, the articles and other links throughout the bibliography also contain information about the history of manga.

  • Poitras, Gilles. “Books and Periodicals on Anime and Manga.” Gilles’ Service to Fans Page. Gilles Poitras, 17 Oct. 2012. Web. 28 Nov. 2012.

    Gilles Poitras has written several encyclopedias for anime and manga fans, making him a key resource for information on the media. This page contains information about most of the books and periodicals available on these topics, including many that focus on the history of manga.

  • Rhode, Michael, and John Bullough. Comics Research Bibliography. John Bullough and Michael Rhode, 1996-2011. Web. 28 Nov. 2012.

    Another bibliography that focuses on comics, this one also contains an extensive amount of sources, including those about manga and its history. It can be searched by author or through a search form.


Unlike bibliographies, books are more likely to provide content that focuses on a specific subject area; therefore, books may be a better research starting point if you have a specific topic in mind. Many of the books listed below focus primarily on the history of manga, while others focus on larger topics and contain sections on the history of manga.

  • Gravett, Paul. Manga: Sixty Years of Japanese Comics. New York: Collins Design, 2004. Print. [PN6790.J33 G73 2004, ISBN-13: 978-1856693912]

    Gravett provides a detailed history of manga since 1945, with chapters for different genres of manga and influences within the medium. Gravett’s book also contains a large number of full-color illustrations to help show the differences and changes in the medium over time.

  • Koyama-Richard, Brigitte. One Thousand Years of Manga. Trans. David Radzinowicz. Paris, France: Flammarion, 2007. Print. [PN6790.J3 K6913 2007, ISBN-13: 978-2080300294]

    Koyama-Richard argues that the manga of today is part of a long artistic tradition in Japan that goes back hundreds of years. In this book, she illustrates how manga developed from other forms of Japanese art, providing a sharp counterpoint to other authors represented in this bibiliography.

  • Macwilliams, Mark W., ed. Japanese Visual Culture: Explorations in the World of Manga and Anime. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2008. Print. [NC1764.5.J3 J37 2008, ISBN-13: 978-0765616029]

    This collection of chapters covers a wide range of topics about anime and manga, but several of the articles presented in this book focus on the history of manga, both more generally and within the specific genre of shoujo, or girls’, manga.

  • Nash, Eric P. Manga Kamishibai: The Art of Japanese Paper Theater. New York: Abrams, 2009. Print. [PN1979.K3 N37 2009, ISBN-13: 978-0810953031]

    Nash explores the history of kamishibai, a form of paper theater that, Nash argues, influenced the manga of the post-war era. Given the potential role of kamishibai in the development of manga, anyone interested in the genre’s early roots should read this book.

  • Patten, Fred. Watching Anime, Reading Manga: 25 Years of Essays and Reviews. Berkeley, CA: Stone Bridge Press, 2004. Print. [NC1766.J3 P37 2004, ISBN-13: 978-1880656922]

    Though this entire book is not about the history of manga, Patten includes a section that covers major manga authors and their influence of the medium. This book also provides extensive information about the history and spread of manga within the United States.

  • Perper, Timothy, and Martha Cornog, eds. Mangatopia: Essays and Manga and Anime in the Modern World. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited, 2011. Print. [NC1764.5.J3 M36 2011, ISBN-13: 978-1591589082]

    This book contains articles about various topics surrounding anime and manga, including some that focus on the history of manga. This book provides a unique perspective on manga’s origins in Japanese and world film, which balances out the perspectives present in most of the other works represented here.

  • Petersen, Robert. Comics, Manga, and Graphic Novels: A History of Graphic Narratives. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2011. Print. [PN6710.P415 2011, ISBN-13: 978-0313363306]

    Though this book focuses on other forms of graphic narratives, Petersen’s book is of great help to those interested in manga’s origins. He traces the history of graphic narratives over the world, including in pre-modern Japan, along with looking at modern forms of graphic narrative, like manga.

  • Schodt, Frederick L. Dreamland Japan: Writings on Modern Manga. Berkeley, CA: Stone Bridge Press, 1996. Print. [PN6790.J3 S285 1996, ISBN-13: 978-1880656235]

    Though Schodt looks some at the state of the manga industry in the mid-1990s, the majority of this book focuses on specific manga magazines and manga creators. Through these encyclopedia-like entries, readers can learn about major players in the history of manga.

  • Schodt, Frederick L. Manga! Manga!: The World of Japanese Comics. New York: Kodansha USA, 1983. Print. [PN6790.J3 S3 1983, ISBN-13: 978-0870117527]

    Though this book is almost two decades old, it still contains valuable information about the development of manga. Schodt covers the pre-war and post-war history of manga, along with looking specifically at major creators within the medium.

  • Sugimoto, Yoshio, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Modern Japanese Culture. New York: Cambridge UP, 2009. Print. [DS822.5.C36 2009, ISBN-13: 978-0521706636]

    This book looks at the various influences on contemporary Japanese culture, including the development and current exportation of manga. Though it covers many other topics, it still provides a helpful overview of the history of manga.


Biographies look at the lives of single individuals, so for a topic like the history of manga, biographies about major creators can also provide a good overview of the medium as a whole. The biographies below focus on Osamu Tezuka and Yoshihiro Tatsumi, two manga creators who have had a large impact on the medium and created specific genres within it.

  • McCarthy, Helen. The Art of Osamu Tezuka: God of Manga. New York: Abrams ComicArts, 2009. Print. [NC1764.5.J32 T4935 2009, ISBN-13: 978-0810982499]

    Osamu Tezuka was the driving force behind manga’s explosion in popularity after World War II, and this book closely follows his career and influence. Given Tezuka’s deep influence to the medium, this book should be required reading for anyone interested in manga’s history.

  • Power, Natsu Onoda. God of Comics: Osamu Tezuka and the Creation of Post-World War II Manga. Jackson, MS: UP of Mississippi, 2009. Print. [NC1709.T48 P69 2009, ISBN-13: 978-1604732214]

    Power provides another biography for Tezuka and an overview of his works, though she explores his work within the context in which it was created. Because of this focus, this book provides a detailed look at how Tezuka’s works are a product of their time and how they influenced later manga.

  • Tatsumi, Yoshihiro. A Drifting Life. Montreal: Drawn & Quarterly, 2009. Print. [PN6790.J33 T3878 2009, ISBN-13: 978-1897299746]

    In this autobiography, Tatsumi presents readers with his early life, entrance in to the manga world, and eventual role as a master of the medium. Because of Tatsumi’s large role in the development of underground manga, or gekiga, this book portrays an important, if often overlooked, side of manga history.

Encyclopedias and Encyclopedia Entries

Encyclopedias can be a good resource for finding general knowledge about a subject. Unfortunately, the history of manga is too specific of a topic to be found in many encyclopedias, but I have listed an entry and an encyclopedia which provide a good deal of relevant information for a general audience.

  • “History of Manga.” Wikipedia. Wikipedia, 25 Oct. 2012. Web. 28 Nov. 2012.

    This article contains a comprehensive overview of the history of manga, pulling from many of the sources listed in this bibliography. It also contains information about the development of certain kinds of manga as divided by demographic.

  • Thompson, Jason. Manga: The Complete Guide. New York: Ballantine Books, 2007. Print. [PN6790.J3 T56 2007, ISBN-13: 978-0345485908]

    In this book, Thompson provides a brief overview of the history of manga both within Japan and in the United States. This book also functions as an encyclopedia of manga, with reviews of all manga published in the United States and entries about each genre within the medium.

Scholarly Journals

Scholarly journals contain articles written by professors and other academic professionals about their specific fields of interest. These journals can publish articles on a wide variety of topics, so while they are definitely credible, they may not be the best first place to look for sources on this topic. Furthermore, scholarly journals are normally only accessible through academic libraries, so you may have to go to a college or university in order to access these sources. The journals listed below tend to cover popular culture or comics as a whole, while only Mechademia focuses specifically on anime and manga.

  • The Comics Journal. Eds. Timothy Hodler and Dan Nadel. Seattle, WA: Fantagraphics Books, 1977-present. Published annually; available in print (single issues or by subscription) and electronically via subscription. [PN6700.C673, ISSN: 0194-7869]

    This comics-focused journal occasionally contains articles about the history of manga. Additionally, they have released an issue dedicated to shoujo, or girls’, manga and may do so in the future for other genres of manga.

  • International Journal of Comic Art. Ed. John A. Lent. Drexel Hill, PA: John Lent, 1999-present. Published biannually; available in print (single issues and by subscription) and electronically via H.W. Wilson’s Art Full Text. [PN6710.I58, ISSN: 1531-6793]

    This journal publishes articles about comics from around the world, including articles about manga. It is worth keeping an eye on for publications about the history of manga.

  • The Journal of Popular Culture. Ed. Gary Hoppenstand. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 1968-present. Published bimonthly; available in print (by subscription) and electronically by subscription to Wiley Online Library. [HM101.A1 J86, ISSN:0022-3840]

    This journal emphasizes that forms of “low” art, like comics and manga, are still worthy of scholarly analysis. Because of this emphasis, the journal has published several articles about the history of manga, including Kinko Ito’s, which is listed separately on this bibliography.

  • Mechademia. Ed. Frenchy Lunning. Minneapolis, MN: U of Minnesota P, 2006-present. Published annually; available in print (single issues) and electronically via e-book or Project Muse. [NC1766.J3 M43, ISSN: 1934-2489]

    This journal is the only scholarly journal currently being published with a focus purely on Japanese manga and anime. Though each issue has a different central topic, it frequently contains articles that provide insight into the history and development of manga.

Journal Articles and Book Chapters

Like scholarly journals, these journal articles and book chapters will have an academic audience and may be difficult to find outside of a college or university library. However, each of these works sheds light on the history of manga, often within a certain genre or in connection to another medium of Japanese art.

  • Inouye, Rei Ikamoto. “Theorizing Manga: Nationalism and Discourse on the Role of Wartime Manga.” Mechademia 4: War/Time. Ed. Frenchy Lunning. Minneapolis, MN: U of Minnesota P, 2009. 20-37. Print. First published in 2006, published annually; available in print (single issues) and electronically via e-book or Project Muse. [NC1766.J3 M43 v. 4 2009, ISBN-13: 978-0816667499, ISSN: 1934-2489]

    In this article, Inouye investigates the discourse that manga creators held about the nature of manga in the prewar era. Because this article focuses on conceptions of prewar manga, it provides good historical content about the early days of manga and how the medium evolved.

  • Ito, Kinko. “A History of Manga in the Context of Japanese Culture.” Journal of Popular Culture 38.3 (2005): 456-475. Print. The Journal of Popular Culture published in Malden, MA, by Blackwell Publishing. First published in 1968, published bimonthly; available in print (by subscription) and electronically by subscription to Wiley Online Library. [HM101.A1 J86, ISSN:0022-3840]

    Ito investigates the history of manga, particularly as it connects with Japanese culture and as it is particularly representative of a Japanese mindset.

  • Kern, Adam L. “Manga versus Kibyōshi.” A Comics Studies Reader. Eds. Jeet Heer and Kent Worcester. Jackson, MS: UP of Mississippi, 2009. 236-243. Print. [PN6710.C667 2009, ISBN-13: 978-1604731095]

    Kern addresses the topic of whether or not Japanese kibyōshi, early woodcut picture books or comics, are direct ancestors of modern manga. Though Kern decides that too much time divides these kinds of media, he provides an overview of the history and sources behind each.

  • Prough, Jennifer S. “Descent and Alliance in the Shōjo Manga Family Tree: A Postwar History.” Straight from the Heart: Gender, Intimacy, and the Cultural Production of Shōjo Manga. Honolulu, HI: U of Hawai’i P, 2011. 25-56. Print. [PN6790.J3 P76 2011, ISBN-13: 978-0824835286]

    In her chapter, Prough focuses specifically on the history of shoujo, or girls’, manga following World War II. She first looks broadly at the changes in Japanese culture during those years before investigating how those widespread changes affected the niche genre of shoujo manga.

  • Shamoon, Deborah. “Revolutionary Romance: The Rose of Versailles and the Transformation of Shojo Manga.” Mechademia 2: Networks of Desire. Ed. Frenchy Lunning. Minneapolis, MN: U of Minnesota P, 2007. 3-17. Print. First published in 2006, published annually; available in print (single issues) and electronically via e-book or Project Muse. [NC1766.J3 M43 v. 2 2007, ISBN-13: 978-0816652662, ISSN: 1934-2489]

    Shamoon looks into how a specific manga series, The Rose of Versailles, transformed the genre of shoujo, or girls’, manga. Though this article focuses on a single series, it still addresses wider changes within the genre that would be of interest to those researching this genre of manga.

  • Thorn, Matt. “The Magnificent Forty-Niners.” The Comics Journal: Shoujo Manga Issue 269 (2005): 130-133. Print. The Comics Journal published in Seattle, WA, by Fantagraphics Books. First published in 1977, published annually; available in print (single issues or by subscription) and electronically via subscription. [PN6700.C673, ISSN: 0194-7869]

    Thorn provides a brief overview of the Magnificent Forty-Niners—a group of manga authors born around 1949 who radically changed the notion of what manga for girls should be like. Thorn looks at the history surrounding these authors and at their effect on manga since.


These databases function as indexes of scholarly writings, such as the articles and book chapters discusses above, so the works contained in them will be for an academic audience. Furthermore, these databases need to be subscribed to by a library, so they may only be accessible as a college or university library. Because of these limitations, these databases will be less useful for a general audience, but if you are a college student, you may be able to access these databases and find useful sources about the history of manga.

  • Bibliography of Asian Studies. Ann Arbor, MI: Association for Asian Studies, 2012. Web. 28 Nov. 2012. Covers 1971-present, updated continuously.

    This database indexes scholarly publications about Asian studies, including those related to manga. The search terms “manga AND history” yield the best results here, though they have to be sorted through to eliminate those about how manga portrays Japanese history.

  • MLA International Bibliography. New York: Modern Language Association, 2012. Web. 29 Nov. 2012. Covers 1963-present, updated quarterly.

    This database indexes articles about various topics, including modern languages and literature, meaning it is a key resource of writings about manga’s history. A genre term for manga exists in this database, so it may be best to search for “DE ‘manga’ AND history” to find the most relevant results.

  • Underground and Independent Comics, Comix, and Graphic Novels. Alexandria, VA: Alexander Street Press, 2012. Web. 28 Nov. 2012. Covers 1960-present, updated irregularly.

    This database indexes articles related to comics, including articles from various journals that discuss manga, like The Comics Journal. Searching for “manga” here is the best way to gather a large number of articles, which can be whittled down by topic.

Internet Sources

Webpages may be free and easily accessible, but they can also be written by anyone, so take care to make sure they are credible before using them in your research. The webpage below belongs to a well-regarded manga translator, making it a reliable source to use when researching this topic.

  • Thorn, Matt. “A History of Manga.” Manga-gaku. Matt Thorn, 2007. Web. 28 Nov. 2012.

    This article contains the perspective of one of the foremost translators of manga. Though outdated, as even Thorn admits, this article still presents a valid perspective on the history of manga.


One thought on “Manga History

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