The Differences Between Manga, Manhwa & Manhua?

Manga Manhua Manhwa for the Noobies
I preferred to write about my favourite hobby which is reading Manga, Manhua and Manhwa.

Young Generations, such as I, love to read not traditional books, as the older generation did, butlove to read manga, manhwa and manhua. Our generation have been reading more than previousgenerations, are changing the definition of classics to be more inclusive, and are the most likelygeneration to use libraries.

Manga/Manhwa/Manhua is good for your brain. In fact, reading (Manga/Manhwa/Manhua) maygive you an advantage over those, who grew up reading only traditional books. It benefits thosewith Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) too. The medium requires a different set of skills thanreading traditional books. It’s just that manga challenges the brain in different ways. The mediahas several layers of reading: images, words, onomatopoeia, and its own visual language. Thiscombination means “…even proficient readers of English—who are not experienced with thislevel of multi-modality and have been socialized into more traditional, nonhypertext, storylines—may find manga, as we do, to be a challenging read (Schwartz, 2006).”

Beyond the learning benefits, manga/manhwa/manhua provides a shared interest that allowspeople to socialize easier.

For Noobs (a person who is inexperienced in a particular sphere or activity, especially computingor the use of the internet) who does not have any idea what these three words means, my essaywill serves as a (your) guide.

The Differences Between Manga, Manhwa & Manhua.

Manga, manhwa and manhua are the same, right? Nope. Here’s a comparison between the threetypes of East Asian comics.

Manga, manhwa and manhua sound the same, and generally speaking, are similar in artwork andlayout, which can result in accidentally categorizing these comics as Japanese in origin. But,there are some subtle — but important — differences between the three that make all thedifference.

The History Of Manga, Manhwa & Manhua

The terms “manga” and “manhwa” actually come from the Chinese term “manhua,” whichmeans “impromptu drawings.” Originally, these terms were used within Japan, Korea and China,respectively, as general terms for all comics and graphic novels, regardless of the country oforigin. Now, international readers use these terms to address comics that are published from aspecific country: manga are Japanese comics, manhwa are Korean comics and manhua areChinese comics. The creators of these East Asian comics also have specific titles: a person who makes manga is a “mangaka,” a person who creates manhwa is a “manhwaga” and a person thatmakes manhua is a “manhuajia.” Along with etymology, each country has also historicallyinfluenced one another’s comics.

In late 19th century Japan, the popularity of manga skyrocketed with the Godfather of Manga,Tezuka Osamu, the creator of Astro Boy. There was a great demand for manga due to anincrease of readership in the 1950s to 1960s and soon after, manga became a global phenomenonwith overseas readership starting in the late 1980s to now.

Manhwa has its own history of development. During the Japanese Occupation (1910-1945) ofKorea, Japanese soldiers brought their culture and language into Korean society, including theimportation of manga. In the 1930s to 1950s, manhwa was used as propaganda for war effortsand to impose a political ideology on civilians. Manhwa became popular during the 1950s to1960s but declined due to the strict censorship laws in the mid-1960s. However, manhwa becamepopular again when South Korea launched websites that publish digital manhwa known aswebtoons, such as Daum Webtoon in 2003 and Naver Webtoon in 2004. Then in 2014, NaverWebtoon launched globally as LINE Webtoon.

Manhua are comics from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Manhua is said to have started in themid-19th century with the introduction of the lithographic printing process. Some manhua werepolitically-driven with stories about the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Japanese Occupationof Hong Kong. Yet, after the Chinese Revolution in 1949, there were strict censorship laws,resulting in manhua having a difficult time being legally published overseas. However,manhuajia began self-publishing their work on social media and webcomic platforms like QQComic and Vcomic.

East Asian comics have specified content aimed to attract different demographics, usually basedon age and gender. In Japan, boys’ shonen manga is filled with high-action and adventure storieslike My Hero Academia and Naruto. Girls’ shoujo manga is mainly features magical girlstories like Cardcaptor Sakura and complex romances like Fruits Basket.

Inspired by the art of Walt Disney, Tezuka Osamu drew his characters with big eyes, smallmouths and exaggerated facial expressions to emphasize certain emotions. Tezuka’s art styleinfluenced the artwork of other artists in Japan and elsewhere. However, manhwa and manhuacharacters are drawn to focus on more realistic human proportions and appearances. Manga andmanhwa also have realistic and detailed background settings, almost photo-realistic, in contrastto digital manhwa which has simpler backgrounds — though it should be noted that printmanhwa is more similar to manga in this regard.

Manga also uses a unique set of onomatopoeia in their narratives to describe not only the soundsof animals and inanimate objects but also the sounds of psychological states and emotions. Theseonomatopoeia are written in the surrounding panels and gutters of a page, much like Americancomics. Likewise, manhwa and manhua have their own set of onomatopoeia used to describe emotions and movements. Also, digital manhwa often use music and soundbites to enhance thereading experience, something novel to their electronic presentation.

With the internet, we have easy access to many East Asian comics. Whether you are readingmanga, manhwa or manhua, each comic has its merits, which only enhance the readingexperience for anyone anywhere.

As easy as counting 1,2,3, Manga, Manhua and Manhwa can be found easily on the internet. When I googled, bing or use yahoo search bar, I found what I needed for the said essay. What I learned from this is; it gave me additional knowledge of where my favourite Manga, Manhwa and Manhua came from. Its history and what it takes to bring each story to life.

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