Webquest: Manga & the United States

How Manga Became Popular in the United States

by Lisa Jean Allswede

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Manga is one of the fastest growing comics in the United States. It has become so popular you can find shelves of Manga books at your local bookstores. In addition to the many genres developed by Japanese artists, there is a growing demand to learn how to create these fascinating characters. Where did Manga come from and what makes it so popular?


Manga Artists Wanted! There is a popular demand to learn about the history of Manga. Publishers are looking for talented manga artists to illustrate a fascinating story about this popular animation style. Since you just graduated from Tokyo Animation College you are excited to take on this new endeavor.

In order to complete this task, there are two major pieces to this project. First, you will need to research the history of Manga and compile the information into a story. Second, create a storyboard similar to the animation style of Manga. In this webquest you will be introduced to PIKIKIDS.COM to help you create your manga style comic.



PART ONE: Developing your theme

There are many interesting facts about Manga. As a guide to develop your story first, listen to the Tezuka podcast and then, review the wikipedia site on Manga to get your creative juices flowing.

Listen to Tezuka: The Marvel of Manga

Click on this link to begin: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manga

Use the attached THEME WORKSHEET to help you take notes and highlight interesting facts to develop your story about Manga.

PART TWO: Research your theme

1924 Manga from Taisho Period

Using the information you gathered from wikipedia and the Tezuka podcast, use this Custom Google Search (below) to further expand your knowledge about Manga.

Your goal is to get more information about the facts you are interested in for your manga story. You can use your notebook or record your information on the MANGA INFO SHEET provided.


PART THREE: Plotting your story

The story lines in Manga are generally brief and to the point. Sometimes you can tell what the character is thinking just by the expressions drawn on the face. Your job is to plot out your information into a story that flows in sequential frames (FRAME SHEET PROVIDED HERE) . This is only a suggested template you can create your own, feel free to creat your own!

PART FOUR: Creating your Manga

Time to set up your frames! Go to http://www.pikikids.com/ps/home_.

  • Here you will set up a user name and password. Once you are logged in, click the “create” tab and follow the instructions.
  • Make a “warm up” comic to practice. Play with the bubbles, animated text, frame layout and other add on features. Once you have become comfortable with the program begin creating your Manga.
  • When creating your unique Manga, you can choose to import photos, .jpeg drawings, or we can scan in your original drawings.
  • Your manga may be several pages of frames to illustrate your story.


You will be evaluated on your ability to develop a theme, research the information, and communicate your project ideas with the teacher.

Your final animation will be evaluated on your ability to translate your research information into a creative story, the presentation of the story (development of characters), the layout of the frames and craftsmanship of your work. See

3.2.1. You will take a moment to reflect on the work you have done.

  • List 3 things that you have learned about Manga (that you did already know).
  • List 2 ways you will use this information to develop your own Manga.
  • List 1 question that you still have about Manga.



Manga has an interesting relationship with the United States. Now that you have a better understanding of the historical development of Manga, can you see how it has influenced the animated characters we see today in comics, TV animations and movies? Do you see the influence of Walt Disney? And vice versa, Manga influence on our media today? Next time you are watching a movie or see an animation, see if you can recognize the differences between the two and how they are similar.


PA Standards
9.2.6 Historical & Cultural Content
D. Analyze a work of art from its historical and cultural perspective.
E. Analyze how historical events and culture impact forms, techniques and purposes of works in the arts (e.g., Gilbert and Sullivan operettas)
F. Know and apply appropriate vocabulary used between social studies and the arts and humanities.
G. Relate works in the arts to geographic regions: Africa, Asia, Australia, Central America, Europe, North America, South America

Creativity and Innovation
Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology. Students:
a. apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes.
b. create original works as a means of personal or group expression.
c. use models and simulations to explore complex systems and issues.
d. identify trends and forecast possibilities.

Research and Information Fluency - Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information. Students:
a. plan strategies to guide inquiry.
b. locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media.
c. evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based on the appropriateness to specific tasks.
d. process data and report results.


The idea behind this webquest is to explore Manga’s relationship with the United States. By investigating the history, genres and the artists who create Manga students are exposed to different cultural beliefs between the east and west along with how they influence each other in the arts.

This webquest is meant for students from grade 6-8, but it can be adjusted to meet the needs of younger students or students grades 9-12.