Manga vs Manhwa: Japan vs Korea!

Manga

Today we will look at Manga vs Manhwa and specifically at the differences between the two. Western and Asian comics and its counterparts available in the markets today have been existing for centuries and more. Leaving aside the Western comics, we will be diving right into Manga vs Manhwa debate.

Before we get into the whole thing, maybe you just want some recommendations before learning about Webtoons. If so, you can read our Romance Webtoon list or our Thriller webtoons recommendations. We are sure you will enjoy them. And maybe you’ve heard of a little webtoon called The Weight Of Our Sky. Beautiful webtoon which you definitely have to read.

Manga vs Manhwa differences:

And with that, we shall go into details for each one.

Origins

The origins of Manga came from Japan in the late 19th century. This became a favourite form of entertainment for most Japanese, young and old. Especially for those travelling in trains back and forth between their workplace and home.

Manhwa finds its origin in Korea in the 1920s although outside Korea, people know Manhwas as simply South Korean Comic. Although their origins were mainly because when Japan occupied Korea, they censored everything and only allowed kids mangas. These things were called Manhwas and throughout it’s journey, they have gone through a lot of censorship as well. They suddenly boomed again after the advent of the internet with apps like Webtoon.

Though, to some point, they both played the same role in society. A means of entertainment for the busy people and the kids, but their origins are drastically different.

Manga vs Manhwas with Fairy Tail as an example.
Image from Fairy Tail manga (c) Hiro Mashima/Kodansha

Drawing styles and colours

Manga are mainly black and white except for cover pages but it’s not like the series gets a colour spread every week unless they’re a very popular manga. The reason is mostly due to time constraints, and sometimes due to artistic reasons. Another reason is to simply keep a low printing cost since printing colour is very expensive. Especially since Mangas are made not to last but to be used and thrown. Although there are some full-color mangas that also exist, these are usually very very rare.

Manhwa are usually in full color with a few existing black and white ones. This is mainly because manhwa became extremely popular after the coming of Webtoons. And since digital art need not be printed, they can be made in full colour with no problems.

Genres

Manga includes a broad range of genres, including action, adventure, comedy, horror, games, sports, history, science fiction, fantasy, romance, tragedy, detective, and many more. You can basically find stories of all kinds within the confines of “manga”. Whether it’s philosophical, tragic, high spirited, or anything, you can definitely find many kinds of manga on said topic.

Manhwa stories, on the other hand, are mostly just fantasies. Although new genres such as sunjeong (or soonjung) are romantic stories aiming at young women are rising in popularity these days. But since the coming of Webtoons, we have definitely seen an uptick in various other kinds of genres. We can only guess where is it going from here.

Manga vs Manhwas with Nobleese as an example.
Image from Noblesse manhwa (c) Lee Kwangsu/Naver Webtoon

Prints

Manga magazines publish the various manga stories, Shonen Jump is a good example of this. These contains many stories together which continue to the next issue which keeps the reader on coming. Publishers then collect these chapters and publish them as volumes known as tankōbon. These are incredibly popular in Japan and even outside of the country.

Meanwhile, manhwa embraces digital platforms and most modern manhwa exists as webtoons now. And just to be clear, all manhwa are webtoons but not all webtoons are manhwa. In short, they make manga for print, while digital consumption is the aim for Manhwa, leading to different artistic choices. We are at a point where Manhwa are one of the most exported products from Korea in the entertainment industry. It is taking the world by storm over the past decade or so.

Visuals from True Beauty K-Drama and Webtoon (c) Yaongyi/Naver Webtoon

Animations

If a Manga is popular enough and reaches a wide audience, they usually make an anime out of it. By they, we mean production committees with the help of a Production Studio. Sometimes during or even after the completion of said manga. Some of the popular live-action or anime we see today — like Naruto, Attack on Titan, Fairy Tail, Bleach, etc — have been based on their original manga counterparts.

Although Manhwa’s are yet to catch up to the scale of anime, they’ve really catapulted themselves into the world of animation recently. Some popular manhwa which were adapted into anime are like Noblese, Tower of God, God of High School and a few upcoming titles. But there are some that have been adapted to K-Drama or movies such as Sweet Home, True Beauty, Cheese in the Trap, and many more.

Orientation

And last but not the least, Manga is read like any other Japanese books, that is, from right-top to left-bottom. Whereas Manhwa is read from left-top to right-bottom. This is based on many reasons like cultural, demographics and something about trains and reading while in them. We will write about that in future articles, so look out for that by subscribing to our webzine.

So what do you prefer to read? Manga vs Manhwa? Or do you enjoy some other means of entertainment? Comment below, We’d love to hear your answers.

Sources: Wikipedia, Bookriot, Webku, Amino

If you enjoyed this little write-up, don’t be afraid to check our other articles as well, just click here.
If you want to support the e-magazine, you can go tip us at our Support Us.
Or maybe you want to see your work here on our website. You can easily submit it to us by emailing us at [email protected]

4 Comments on “Manga vs Manhwa: Japan vs Korea!”

  1. This is really cool ….. Mangas n manhywas r really cool n some of them really makes u want to read them non-stop ….. This article enlightened me about the basics of mangas n manhwas ❤️

  2. Nice..I’ve always read manga..not manhwa..guess I better start reading them looks interesting..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *