Manga genres by readership

Published by Caroline Lamarque on

As there are different literary trends for novels, manga is divided into different genres. Each of these genres generally corresponds to a specific public and themes. We propose you to discover or rediscover together these genres which rock us with various stories.

The kodomo which means “child” in Japanese is a genre of manga intended for a young public, generally until 11 years old. Manga in this category tell the story of a main character through many adventures. The kodomo is divided into three subgenres: the nyūyōji or yōji for children under 8, the jōji for young girls, and the danji for young boys. Some of the many examples that can be cited include Pokemon, Doraemon, or Hamtaro.

Shōnen (literally “young boy” in Japanese) is primarily aimed at a male teenage audience. The themes are very varied and can deal as well with board games, sports or fighting. The nekketsu is a sub-genre that focuses on a young hero who embarks on a great adventure accompanied by a group of friends to fight evil. The shōnen-ai, on the other hand, tells of sentimental relationships between men. Among the most famous shōnen, there are notably Naruto, One Piece or Dragon Ball.

The shōjo, or “young girl” in Japanese is aimed at teenage girls. Feelings are often the focus of the plot. The maho shōjo also called “magical girl” is a widespread sub-genre that features young girls who fight evil with their magical powers. The shōjo-ai subgenre features romances between women. Among all the existing shōjos, we can notably mention Fruits Basket, Sailor Moon and Card Captor Sakura.

The seinen, which this time means “young man,” is intended for a young adult male audience. The themes addressed are more mature and dramatic than in shōnen. Akira, Berserk and Gantz are notably seinen. If the seinen is more mature than the shōnen, it exists even more mature. It is then called seijin. The border between the two is extremely fine, but seijin deals with more serious and complex subjects such as politics, history or police investigations and is aimed at a more adult audience. Kannazuki no miko is the most famous example.

Josei (which can be translated as “young woman”) is the equivalent of seinen for women. If feelings remain the central point of the story, they are approached in a more mature way, especially in the professional sphere and in the social environment of the main character. Nana, Nodame Cantabile and Paradise Kiss are examples. The redisu or redikomi genre, of which Blue and Gokusen are a part, further supports this mature character, telling erotic-romantic scenarios.

While the above genres are defined primarily by their readership, there are many genres that are defined by their narrative genre. Most of these genres can be considered as sub-genres of those we have mentioned. However, their readership is more a consequence of their themes than a goal. As there are many of them, this will be the subject of another article, so stay tuned!

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