It can get confusing understanding the difference between Manga and Manhwa, although they are quite different. Manga is a Japanese comic book with a particular Japanese animation style while manhwa is a Korean comic book and cartoon. What makes them so distinct while seeming so similar? Here are the facts.
Manga, or when the term outside of Japan is used, is meant to describe a type of Japanese drawing that comes in the form of comic books and print cartoons printed in Japan. Since the 19th Century and shortly after World War II, Manga evolved from an earlier history of Japanese art. Since the 1950s, manga has become more and more popular and in the US and Canada market alone, hit a record $175 million in 2008. While it has grown in popularity worldwide, it is and remains to be a huge part of Japanese culture. People of all ages – not just the younger generation read Manga. Containing subject matter that relates to everyone and anyone including suspense, action/adventure, humor and romance, manga characters have sympathetic human characteristic that readers can relate to.
Manhwa on the other hand has many differences that manga. Manhwa has much of Korea’s history embedded in the artwork and story lines. It has a style like manga, but unlike Japan’s manga, Korean comic animations are still pretty rare in the rest of the world. Manhwa can typically be found in web comics, oriental artistic drawings and print comics. While many of their characters’ features are the same, such as the large eyes and exaggerated face, one major difference between manga and manhwa is manhwa has the tendency to have more lifelike features and be less animated than manga. For example, manga tends to have spiky hair while manhwa has more realistically human hair.
Despite the differences between manga and manhwa, both Japanese and Korean cartoons are making huge strides in international popularity. They have become entertainment that people can relate to, whether they live in Korea, Japan or America and whose success continues to rise.