digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:


Applied sciences






















Mangaka (漫画家?) is the Japanese word for a comic artist or cartoonist. Outside Japan manga usually refers to a Japanese comic book and mangaka refers to the author of the manga, who is usually Japanese. As of 2006, about 3000 professional mangaka were working in Japan.[1]

Most mangaka study at an art college, manga school, or take on an apprenticeship with another artist before entering the industry as a primary creator. More rarely a mangaka breaks into the industry directly, without previously being an assistant. For example, Naoko Takeuchi, author of Sailor Moon, won a contest sponsored by Kodansha, and manga pioneer Osamu Tezuka was first published while studying an unrelated degree, without ever working as an assistant.

A mangaka will rise to prominence through recognition of their ability when they spark the interest of institutions, individuals or a demographic of manga consumers. For example, there are contests which prospective mangaka may enter, sponsored by manga editors and publishers. They are also recognized for the number of manga they run at one time.[2]


The word can be broken down into two parts: manga (漫画?) and ka (?).

The manga corresponds to the medium of art the artist uses: comics, or Japanese comics, depending on how the term is used inside or outside of Japan.

The -ka (家) suffix implies a degree of expertise and traditional authorship. For example, this term would not be applied to a writer creating a story which is then handed over to a manga artist for drawing. The Japanese term for such a writer of comics is gensakusha (原作者?).

In a 2010 message from, at the time Japan Cartoonists Association (ja) chairman, Takashi Yanase it says: "[w]hile Japan is often said to be world’s cartoon kingdom, not a few people will surely be wondering what exactly the Japanese mean by the term "cartoon". Unfortunately, there is no hard- and- fast definition that I can offer, since the members of this association lay claim to an extensive variety of works."[3]

Relationship to other staff[edit]

While Japan does have a thriving independent comic market for amateur and semi-professional artists, creating manga professionally is rarely a solo effort. Mangaka must work with an assortment of others to get their work completed, published, and into the hands of readers.


Most professionally published mangaka work with an editor, who is considered the boss of the mangaka and supervises series production. The editor gives advice on the layout and art of the manga, vets the story direction and pace, ensures that deadlines are met, and generally makes sure that the manga stays up to company standards. An example of this is Akira Toriyama and his former editor Kazuhiko Torishima. The editor may also function as a brand manager and publicist for a series. When a manga is the basis for a media franchise, the editor may also supervise the designs for licensed merchandise, anime adaptations, and similar products, though this duty may also fall to the mangaka or an agent.


A mangaka may both write and illustrate a series of their own creation, or may work in collaboration with an author. The mangaka typically has a strong influence on dialog even when paired with a writer, as any conversation must fit within the physical constraints imposed by the art. Takeshi Obata of Death Note, Tetsuo Hara of Fist of the North Star, and Ryoichi Ikegami of Sanctuary are all successful mangaka who have worked with writers through the majority of their careers.


Most mangaka have assistants who help them complete their work in a clean and timely manner. The duties of assistants vary widely, as the term incorporates all people working for a mangaka's art studio, but is most commonly used to refer to secondary artists. The number of assistant artists also varies widely between mangaka, but is typically at least three. Other mangaka instead form collaborative groups known as "circles" but do not use additional assistants, such as the creative team CLAMP. A few mangaka have no assistants at all, and prefer to do everything themselves, but this is considered exceptional.

Assistants are commonly used for inking, lettering, and shading, though the predominance of black and white art in manga means that unlike in the western comic industry, a studio rarely employs a colorist. Some mangaka only do the sketchwork for their art, and have their numerous assistants fill in all of the details, but it is more common for assistants to deal with background and cameo art, leaving the mangaka to focus on drawing and inking the characters. Assistants may also be employed to perform specialized artistic tasks. Go Nagai, for instance, at one time employed a specialist to draw helicopters and other military vehicles,[2] Kaoru Mori employed a historical consultant for Emma, and series that incorporate photorealistic architecture, animals, computer-rendered imagery, or other technically demanding effects may employ or contract separate artists trained in those techniques. Assistants almost never help the mangaka with the plot of their manga, beyond being a sounding board for ideas. A mangaka's assistants will be listed in the credits for a manga tankōbon, and short interviews with or illustrations by assistant artists are a common form of bonus material in these collections, but they do not receive individual credits in magazine publication.

Most mangaka started out as assistants, such as Miwa Ueda to Naoko Takeuchi, Leiji Matsumoto to Osamu Tezuka, and Kaoru Shintani to Leiji Matsumoto. It is also possible for an assistant to have an entire career as such without becoming an independent mangaka. Assistants, particularly specialists, may work with several different mangaka at the same time, and many assistants also self-publish works of their own in the dōjinshi scene.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ McCarthy, Helen (2006). "Manga: A Brief History". 500 Manga Heroes & Villains. Hauppauge, New York, USA: Chrysalis Book Group. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-7641-3201-8. 
  2. ^ a b Schodt, Frederik L.: Manga! Manga!: The World of Japanese Comics, Kodansha International, August 18, 1997, ISBN 0-87011-752-1
  3. ^ "Message from the chairman". Archived from the original on December 26, 2010. Retrieved January 17, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mangaka — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.

25148 news items

Crunchyroll News

Crunchyroll News
Tue, 15 Sep 2015 19:06:08 -0700

Ogure Ito, or as he is better known by his pen name Oh! Great, is a mangaka I like to refer to as the master of rapid escalation. In terms of writing, his two most popular original published works have told the tales of delinquent teenagers ...
Anime News Network
Thu, 17 Sep 2015 09:13:29 -0700

In N. America, superheroes are synonymous with comics; they represent what most Americans think about when they talk about comic books. In Japan, manga is about a lot of things – but Japan too has its share of superheroes. One of its most iconic and ...
Mon, 21 Sep 2015 17:05:13 -0700

In the wide world of Linux distributions, there seem to a distro for just about every need and interest. The Mangaka Linux distribution is focused on Japanese Manga fans. The Mou release is based on Ubuntu and makes use of the MATE desktop. Global Load ...

Softpedia News

Softpedia News
Sun, 20 Sep 2015 14:00:00 -0700

Just a few minutes ago, September 20, Animesoft International had the great pleasure of informing Softpedia about the immediate availability for download of the final release of their Linux Mangaka Mou distribution. Linux Mangaka Mou is the fifth major ...

Softpedia News (blog)

Softpedia News (blog)
Fri, 18 Sep 2015 14:42:47 -0700

You might remember the Linux Mangaka distribution from Animesoft International, as we've written several articles about it in the last few months, but today we report that its developers are currently working on a new version. From the looks of it, the ...

The Japan Times

The Japan Times
Wed, 30 Sep 2015 02:11:15 -0700

That Japanese movies are often adapted from Japanese manga is no secret. Less well known is the subgenre of films about the lives of some Japanese mangaka (manga artists), which is informally known as mangakamono. Many of these fictional biopics ...

The Japan Times

The Japan Times
Wed, 07 Oct 2015 02:30:13 -0700

And the accompanying recognition and power — with adoring fans pleading for autographs and editors begging for your next masterpiece — must seem intoxicating to a would-be mangaka (manga artist) doodling in the margins of his biology textbook.


Tue, 29 Sep 2015 05:22:30 -0700

La ragione per cui spesso i commenti degli autori risultano bizzarri o privi di senso è che la redazione pretende che i mangaka scrivano personalmente qualcosa ogni volta e purtroppo il tempo scarseggia: disegnare un manga pubblicato settimanalmente ...

Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!

Searchlight Group

Digplanet also receives support from Searchlight Group. Visit Searchlight