Worldwide manga, manhua, and manhwa have become vastly popular in the recent decade. People are spending a lot of time and money on these comics or graphic novels. Still, many people are confused by these terminologies. Many think that manga, manhua, and manhwa are the same. They are not the same and today we will explain the difference in detail.
As East-Asian readers, people have heard these terms called manga, manhua, manhwa. To be specific the main difference between these three is their country of origin. Manga is from Japan, Manhwa is from South Korea and Manhua is from the greater China region (China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong).
What is manga?
- In Japan, reading manga is pretty common among people of every age. Manga is used in Japan to refer to comics in general. Outside of Japan, people typically use the term to refer to comics published in Japan. The manga originally covers a wide range of genres like – action, adventure, comedy, drama, thriller, horror, mystery, romance, sci-fi, fantasy, sports and games, and suspense, among others.
- The history of manga starts from a long time ago. Since the 1950s manga has become one of the major assets of the Japanese publishing industry. Originally manga is black and white and drawn by manga artists. The manga is originally published in various magazines. The manga artist is called “mangaka”. A mangaka originally with a few assistants works in small studios to create awesome mangas. A manga is read from right to left unlike other American comics. If a manga becomes popular it later gets adapted into an anime.
Osamu Tezuka(Astro Boy) and Machiko Hasegawa(Sazae-san) were one of the first manga artists who brought the recent art style and design into the manga. In recent days many mangas are popular and even recognized globally. Some authors like Toriyama, Kubo, Oda, and Kishimoto are also very famous among the fanbase. Their works are Dragonball, Bleach, One Piece, and Naruto respectively. One Piece is one of the longest-running weekly series to date. In 2020 Japan’s manga market value hit a new record of ¥612.6 billion because of the fast growth of digital sales. Nowadays they are overtaking the American comic sales.
What is manhwa?
- Manhwa generally indicates Korean terminology for comics. In South Korean culture manhwa has become a very important part in the recent decade. Outside of Korea, the term originally refers to South Korean comics. Like manga, this particular style of comic also has a wide variety of genres. Though the art style and design are much more elaborate with beautifully colored panels.
- The term manhwa becomes popular in Korea almost in the 1920s. At that time Korea was under Japanese occupation. So Japanese cultures and languages consolidate many of the Korean cultures. The manhwa artist is called “manhwaga”. After everything is said and done there are still many basic differences between these two topics. Unlike manga, manhwa is read from left to right quite similarly to American comics. The digital manhwa art is very beautiful which almost keeps its readers in amaze. Though printed manhwa is quite similar to manga in art and design.
Manhwas are quite often adapted into K-Dramas. There are not many examples of manhwa getting animated. In recent years some of the manhwas got animated like God of High School and Tower of God. Some of the popular titles of manhwa are Solo Leveling, Itaewon Class, Bastard, Killing Stalking, etc.
What is manhua?
- Manhua is a type of comic that is produced in the greater China region. These are very popular in that region specifically. The global popularity of manhua is rising day by day right now. The original terms of ‘manga’ and ‘manhwa’ came from the Chinese language. They also have their own genres that depict stories regarding their history and culture. “Wuxia” and “Xinxia” refer to martial art stories and fantasy stories respectively.
- From the Imperial history of China, comics and narrative illustrations were popular there. However, the term manhua came to light in a comic called “Current Affairs Comics” in 1904. Manhua means Ink wash painting in Chinese. Like manga, they are also read from right to left. The writer of a manhua is called “manhuajia”. Like manhwa, the digital version is also colored. Though manhuas have an awesome storyline, they are still criticized for not having a coherent narrative.
The internet is filled with awesome content of manhuas. Manhua gets adapted into various entertainment sources. Many manhuas got adapted into film and dramas. Manhuas like Spiritpact and Hitori no Shita also have animated versions. Donghua is also a very popular source of entertainment in China. Battle through the Heavens and Soul Land are globally popular manhuas that are adapted from novels. They also have donghua which are available for everyone to watch. The Chinese manhua and donghua industry is slowly becoming very popular.
- These three East-Asian comics are right now hot-topic of conversation among fans. I have tried to explain them in an easier way for those who are still confused. If you are a fan of any of these three you must check out the other ones also. Manga/manhwa/manhua has its own distinct and unique appeal that attracts audiences very easily.
Thus our article comes to an end. I hope you liked it. Please give your opinion in the comment box. See you in my next article.