How to Read Manga Panels? Everyone Want to Know!


Images from the manga genre are everywhere.

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Since the aesthetic has become so pervasive, we rarely think about where the characters came from or what they represent. However, every manga image has a complex language of storytelling, as replete with symbolism as a Renaissance masterpiece.

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In that Case, What Is Manga?

Manga is a style of Japanese storytelling that was adapted from serialized cartoon strips that appeared in newspapers at the end of the 19th century. The style is characterized by a heavy reliance on visual elements.

How to Read Manga Panels?

In the same vein as comics and graphic novels, manga stories can be found in libraries all over the world and are enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds.

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As a Kind of Entertainment, Manga

Like Japanese writing, manga stories are typically read from right to left and top to bottom.

Frames, or koma, hold the story together. In order to read a manga page correctly, one must begin at the top right koma and work one’s way down to the bottom left koma.

Manpu, fukidashi, and gitaigo are the pillars on which a manga is built.


How to Read Manga Panels?

Manga characters are called manpu. Symbols of the stock market are sometimes used to indicate motion or emotion, including sensations like sadness, wrath, embarrassment, and fatigue.

By the time these stereotypes are instantly recognizable to manga fans, lengthy descriptions are unnecessary.

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How to Read Manga Panels?

Fukidashi, or speech bubbles, give manga characters their voices.

The fukidashi takes on a form that is symbolic of the tone of the message. The solid, rounded fukidashi depict everyday conversation, while the cloudier fukidashi indicate joy and the spikier fukidashi surprise or stress.


How to Read Manga Panels?

In manga, these are depicted through the use of Gitaigo, Giongo, and Giseigo, which are all forms of sound effects and emotional expression.

Manga stories may make extensive use of evocative sound words since the Japanese language has more than three times as many onomatopoeic terms as the English language.

The sheer quantity of gitaigo is enough to induce vertigo.

How to Read Manga Panels?

Entirely unique reading experience

The term “multimodel” is frequently used to describe manga. That is to say, a lot is occurring. You need a head for symbols, the capacity to decode overlapping text and images, familiarity with cultural references, and an appreciation for different approaches to storytelling in other countries if you want to read manga.

One of manga’s primary goals is to be a fun read.

Manhwa from the Citi Exhibition

How to Read Manga Panels?

In case you’re in London between now and August 26, 2019, the British Museum is holding The Citi Exhibition Manga. This is the largest manga exhibition held outside of Japan.

The exhibit combines static displays with hands-on activities to explore the origins, evolution, and global popularity of manga, as well as its many subgenres and innumerable examples.

There are examples of many different types of manga at the Citi exhibition Manga. Shônen manga, Shôjo manga, Josei manga, and Gekiga manga are all subgenres of Japanese comic books. Whether it’s a comedy, romance, or sports manga, there’s a style for everyone.

Super Japan

How to Read Manga Panels?

Those enrolled in the BA Chinese (Modern and Classical), BA Chinese Studies, BA Japanese, BA Japanese Studies, BA Korean, or BA Korean Studies at SOAS University of London can take the Cool Japan: Manga, Anime, Sushi elective.

The course is designed to dissect the components that make up our mental image of Japan, deciphering the origins of common misconceptions about the country and helping students grasp the rationale for the term’s inception.

Learn More

Check out the British Museum’s Citi Exhibition Manga

Take a course at SOAS on Japanese Pop Culture: Manga, Anime, and Sushi

For Any Updates Keep Visiting Our Website

Shirley Bryan
Shirley Bryan
Shirley is the Managing Editor at EC The Hub. Shirley joined EC The Hub in ​late 2016 in the newly created position of managing editor, designed to help the foundation bolster its editorial systems and capacity. She is responsible for overseeing the daily flow of content across EC The Hub’s digital channels, as well as editing, writing and managing content for EC The Hub’s website and blog.

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