Manga is a Japanese art form which specifically relates to comic books and graphic novels. While it is incredibly popular in Japan - with people from all walks of life and all ages reading Manga comic books - it has also steadily grown in popularity in Europe and the UK too. Although 'Manga' originally relates to illustrations in print, the term can also often be used to describe Japanese TV cartoons.
Manga, although still a very niche market, has in recent years, become more and more popular - particularly among young people interested in Japanese culture and art forms. Manga cartoons became more well-known in the 1990s when a cartoon called 'Sailor Moon' was broadcast on TV. This series opened up the pathway for people to find out more about this very particular style of drawing and animation. The big glinting eyes and pretty faces are typical of Manga illustrations and can be attributed to the success and rise in popularity of the genre.
Although rather child-like in its looks, Manga is certainly a serious business. There are all sorts of genres within the Manga style - romance, comedy, action, and thriller - and awards are often granted to those producing the best manga. The art form is so well regarded that The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has presented an International Manga Award every year since 2007.
Manga is published in books, magazines and journals and manga artists often work in studios with a small group of assistants. If a particular manga proves to be popular it will often be turned into a series of manga cartoons and maybe even into an anime cartoon for TV.