Manga combines tradition and modernity

It is said that when he painted a horse, he brushed a grain of rice with his brush, and after looking at it through a magnifying glass, one had the impression that the drunken speck depicted two flying sparrows - this is how the eminent French writer Edmond de Goncourt in 1896 poetically melted over the works of Katsushik Hokusai, a Japanese author considered the father of manga. Since then, the opinion has deteriorated significantly and - wrongly - is associated only with naive anime movies in the style of pokemon or even worse - with erotic or even pornographic drawings of not the highest level.

But manga today is also a full-fledged art, the result of the meeting of the rich, centuries-old Japanese woodcut tradition with noisy modernity. On the one hand, proof that the meeting can be successful, and on the other, a warning against the fact that pop culture commercialism destroys and devours what is subtle and sublime in art. And so, the Japanese manga, although it looks like an entertaining comic book at first glance, is also a detective story, a historical novel, a novel of manners. Many works of world literature have been translated into its language, for example novels by Victor Hugo or Arthur Conan Doyle. In the form of such a cartoon story, history books (also Polish), biographies of great artists, and even political party programs were published. During the year, nearly 1,500 new publications appear in Japan, with a total circulation of 60 million copies. The entire market is worth $ 4.4 billion annually.

The album Manga. 1000 Years of History ”not only perfectly illustrates the development of Japanese drawing, but also proves that before Americans or Europeans came up with the idea of ​​creating the first comic, the Japanese had it for several hundred years. And although the work of Brigitte Koyama-Richard may seem to be only a richly illustrated sketch (there are over 400 reproductions of figures and drawings in it), it allows for a comprehensive look at the phenomenon described.

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