Japanese comics and cartoons, also well-known as manga, have long been considered an important aspect of Japanese culture. Those of your reading this article today will almost certainly be familiar with the likes of Naruto and One Piece, the kind of manga that are usually full-length works spanning multiple issues and telling one, over-arching story.
But there is another kind of manga that exists, one called called “yonkoma manga“, which is a comic-strip format and consists of just four panels…
Yonkoma manga has four panels and each panel plays a particular role. The first panel is called “ki (起)” and depicts the scene and story where characters are found. The second is called “sho (承)” and develops the story that the first panel presents. Next is “ten (転)” which brings the climax of story. The fourth and final panel is called “ketsu (結)” and provides the outcome as a result of the third panel.
Sazae-san, now perhaps known most for its family-friendly anime series, began life as such a manga.
Yonkoma manga tends to appear in newspapers
Yonkoma seems short compared to full-length mangas like Naruto and One Piece. However, though readers in the West will likely have seen them in their own countries before, there exists an even shorter, more direct form of manga: the “hitokoma manga“, which is just a single panel long.
Hitokoma manga often makes use of caricatures to get their point across. The satirical comic magazine “The Japan Punch”, for example, which was begun by Charles Wirgman in 1862 and aimed at foreign residents in Japan, features plenty of caricature fun and has also built up a solid reputation among native Japanese over the years. Caricatures have been used in manga all over Japan ever since.
Today, people have few opportunities to see such openly critical caricatures in Japan’s newspapers, but caricature still survives thanks to otaku culture!
Check out these one-panel comics satirising Japanese otaku life!
These images were drawn by Rin Kaname, also called “Perorin Sensei”, who belongs to idol group “Baseball Girls” – making her both an actual idol and an illustrator! You can check more images on her Twitter page, so be sure to check them out!
Hato ga Osu also provides the images called “Kyo Ota 100 Sen” which introduce a group of 100 imaginary hardcore otaku. The title, Kyo-ota, consists of two words: kyo and ota. Kyo means strong and ota is short for otaku, so kyo-ota describes “strong”, or hardcore, otaku.
Let’s take a look at just four of his otaku here:
Be sure to check out more of these hitokoma manga and level up to become a true kyo-ota!
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