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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, Ryoichi Ikegami of Sanctuary, Aki Shirou and Hajime Kamoshida of Sakura-sō no Pet na Kanojo are all successful manga artists 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.
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27712 news items

Crunchyroll News

Crunchyroll News
Sun, 15 Nov 2015 17:11:34 -0800

Prolific is a word that has appeared in many of my spotlights, justifiably so given the amount of work each mangaka has produced, but none even approach the sheer quantity of material Urasawa has created, currently sitting somewhere around 140 volumes.
Anime News Network
Sat, 21 Nov 2015 04:22:30 -0800

Interest. Gosick Mangaka Creates Pencil-and-Paper Pop-Up Art. posted on 2015-11-21 07:20 EST by Carlos Cadorniga. The artist for the manga adaptation of light novel Gosick has brought 2D illustrations of the work to life on paper.


Sat, 28 Nov 2015 09:37:30 -0800

Nel Luglio del 2014 lo scrittore e autore di manga Jinpachi Mori rivelò di soffrire della patologia dell'esofago di Barrett. Un anno e qualche mese dopo, lo scorso 21 Novembre, quel cancro esofageo lo ha separato dai suoi cari all'età di 57 anni. mori ...

Comunicati Stampa (Comunicati Stampa)

La Gazzetta di Lucca
Fri, 27 Nov 2015 07:45:00 -0800

Viaggio nel manga: un incontro con la prima mangaka italiana, Caterina Rocchi. La Scuola Lingue di Fondazione Campus organizza sabato 28 novembre alle 17 un incontro-seminario con Caterina Rocchi, direttrice di Lucca Manga School e pioniera di ...

La Prensa

La Prensa
Wed, 25 Nov 2015 21:10:36 -0800

Albert Weand: un 'mangaka' panameño. Los primeros dibujos del caricaturista istmeño Albert Karl Weand, eran los personajes que le gustaban de la televisión, como las 'Tortugas ninja'. JUAN MOLINA | juan.molina@prensa.com 26 nov 2015 - 00:05h.


Sun, 29 Nov 2015 03:48:45 -0800

Der Mangaka Jinpachi Mori verstarb am 21. November um 7:24 Uhr mit 57 Jahren. Er erlag dem Speiseröhren-Krebs. Mori wurde 1958 in Sasebo, Nagasaki geboren. Nachdem er seinen Abschluss am „Nihon University College of Art“ machte, begann er für ...

Popcorn TV News

Popcorn TV News
Fri, 20 Nov 2015 02:39:19 -0800

Spesso capita che mangaka & Co. si sottopongano a ritmi e regimi di lavoro davvero forsennati per riuscire a rispettare le scandenze e le richieste da editori e pubblico. Un risvolto, negativo, della formidabile mole di lavoro e che spesso costringe ...


Fri, 13 Nov 2015 06:43:42 -0800

En janvier 2016, le mangaka prendra également part à la 43e édition du festival en tant qu'invité d'honneur. Alors qu'il aurait simplement dû venir y exposer ses planches, il a exprimé le souhait d'aller au-devant des festivaliers : il leur propose une ...

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