is the Japanese
word for a manga artist. Outside Japan
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.
Most mangaka study at an art college or 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 Kodansha Manga Award
contest and manga pioneer Osamu Tezuka
was first published while studying an unrelated degree, without working as an assistant.(his drawings were in high demand though he hadn't gone to an art school of any type.)
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. This can also be accomplished through producing a one-shot. While sometimes a stand-alone manga, with enough positive reception it can be serialized in a weekly, monthly, or quarterly format. They are also recognized for the number of manga they run at any given moment.
[Schodt, Frederik L.: ''Manga! Manga!: The World of Japanese Comics'', Kodansha International, August 18, 1997, ]
The word can be broken down into two parts: and .
corresponds to the medium of art the artist uses: comics
, or Japanese comics, depending on how the term is used inside or outside 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 .
In a 2010 message chairman, Takashi Yanase
ile 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 can be offered, since the members of this association lay claim to an extensive variety of works."
Relationship to other staff
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. Naoki Urasawa
compared the relationship between a mangaka and their editor to that of the one between a music producer
and a recording artist, specifically citing George Martin
's relationship with The Beatles
The editor may also function as a brand manager
for a series. When a manga is the basis for a media franchise
, the editor may also supervise the designs for anime
adaptations, and similar products, though this duty may also fall to the mangaka or an agent. An example of a mangaka and their editor is Akira Toriyama
and Kazuhiko Torishima
A mangaka may both write and illustrate a series of their own creation, or may work together 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
'' 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 work 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
, 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
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,
employed a historical consultant for ''Emma
'', and series that incorporates 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 might 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 typically do not receive individual credits.
Most mangaka started out as assistants, such as Miwa Ueda
to Naoko Takeuchi, Leiji Matsumoto
to Osamu Tezuka, Kaoru Shintani
to Leiji Matsumoto, and Eiichiro Oda
, Hiroyuki Takei
and Mikio Itō to Nobuhiro Watsuki
, who was himself an assistant to Takeshi Obata
. 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
'', a late 2000s manga series offering a dramatized look at the inside of the industry
*''The Comic Artist and His Assistants
'', a manga that offers a dramatized perspective view of life as a manga artist
*List of manga artists
*Japan Cartoonists Association (JCA), Official website
Category:Anime and manga terminology