History of Manga, 1800-1900 AD

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   Kamishibai and e-maki
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Kamishibai and e-maki

Under construction.


Hanga - Manga

Ok, this is when things really take off.  Katsushika Hokusai was a well-established ukiyo-e painter, best known for his "Thirty-Six Views of Mt. Fuji".  In 1814 he began publishing his 15 volume "Hokusai Manga".  There is no fixed theme for his woodblock prints, just page after page of pictures, ranging from animals, insects, gods, monsters, and people in various professions.  During this period, manga cements its reputation for "whimsical pictures".

Hokusai's print of craftsmen at work. From Book 1 of the Hokusai Manga, for review purposes only.

From the Manga entry.


Hanga - Kusazoshi

Following the government censorship on kibyoushi, it finally disappears as an e-hon style in 1806.  However, according to the wiki entry, another factor in its death was that kibyoushi publishers kept on dumbing down the material in an attempt to reach an ever-wider audience, to the point where no one wanted to read it any more (shame the same thing doesn't happen with reality TV).  Taking its place was goukan, which were essentially the same as earlier kibyoushi, but with more pages, from 1807 to 1888.



Following the appearance of Commodore Perry's "black ships" in Yokohama port, opening up Japan to the outside world again in 1853, the country underwent a revolution that saw the end of the Shogunate and power over the country being returned to the hands of the Emperor.  After the Meiji Restoration, the Meiji era began in 1867, with policies implemented to improve literacy in children, changes in governmental structure, and the increased presence of westerners living in Japan.  With this came the modern western printing press, and the ideas of western newspapers and magazines.  The first attempt at a magazine was Seiyo Zasshi (Western Magazine) in 1867.  Seiyo Zasshi was a booklet of mino paper folded into 10 pages and bound (just as with goukan), which was intended to go monthly, but ended in 1869 after only 6 issues.  Other magazines followed, primarily produced by politicians and literary figures.  Initially, magazines contained translated versions of western literature, and were aimed at highly educated men.  But, by 1900 they were starting to appeal to men of all sorts, women and children.  The covers then contain more elaborate artwork, and some illustrations accompany the text.

Seiyo Zasshi, Japan's first Japanese magazine. From Birth of a Million Seller, for review purposes only.

From "Birth of a Million Seller".



Initially, the Japanese couldn't really see the difference between newspapers and magazines, and one early publication was named newspaper magazine.  The first paper in this era was Englishman A.W. Hansard's 1862 Nagasaki Shipping List and Advertiser, renamed the Yokohama Shipping List and Advertiser in the same year.  In 1862, the Tokugawa Shogunate started the Kampan batabiya shimbun, a translated version of a Dutch government paper.  The first Japanese paper to cover both domestic and foreign news was the Yokohama Mainichi Shimbun (Yokohama Everyday Newspaper)., in 1871  According to the wiki entry, there were two forms of paper - large and small.  Large papers (Ohshimbun) were political in natural and eventually became the mouthpieces of the political parties.  Small papers (koshimbun) carried local news, human interest stories and fiction, including the Tokyo Nichinichi Shimbun (1872), the Yomiuri Shimbun (1874) and the Asahi Shimbun (1879).  Government pressure weeded out the ohshimbun, and the koshimbun took over.  Eventually, Nichinichi renamed to Mainichi.  The Asahi, Mainichi and Yomiuri are still in print today.

Because photography was still difficult to reproduce in the papers, artists were dispatched to cover various stories.  Additionally, some of the serialized fiction was also illustrated.  Separately, some of the the papers ran cartoons called "ponchi-e", crude satire based on the cartoons running in England's Punch magazine.


General Comments

One thing to mention here is that a number of Japanese artists started travelling around the world to study western art, with several spending time in Paris before returning home and teaching new students.  At the same time, western artists were migrating to Japan to set down roots or set up schools.  The illustrations appearing in the magazines and newspapers as mentioned above were overwhelmed by this western influence.  We don't really see "Japanese" art until the 1900's.



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