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Snaefridur Sol Jorunnardottir and Anton Mckee of Iceland carry their country’s flag during the opening ceremony at the Olympic Stadium for the 2020 Summer Olympics on Friday, July 23, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo / Natacha Pisarenko)

TOKYO (AP) – Athletes from the Tokyo Olympics entered the world of Japanese comics and graphic novels when the manga featured prominently at the opening ceremony on Friday.

The country name signs for the athlete parade used manga speech bubbles, and the costumes for the sign carriers and assistants had manga touches in their design.

The manga roughly refers to the comics and graphic novels of Japan, while the anime – another popular Japanese art form – covers the animation of the country. Manga is a Japanese word which means whimsical images.

The manga reads right to left and is almost always published in black and white, according to a 2018 New York Public Library article. It has many genres and subgenres designed to appeal to people of all ages and ages. horizons.

The manga dates back to the 12th-century Buddhist monks who created scrolls that ran continuously and depicted animals behaving like humans, according to a 2020 article from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

The artists who create manga are known as mangaka, and the most famous practitioners are Osamu Tezuka (“Astro Boy”), Akira Toriyama (“Dragon Ball”) and Naoko Takeuchi (“Sailor Moon”). Tezuka, who died in 1989 at the age of 60, has been nicknamed the “father of manga” and compared to famous American animator Walt Disney.

The use of manga during the opening ceremony comes at a time when Japanese comics and graphic novels have spread around the world, as well as anime. Susan Napier, professor of rhetoric and Japanese studies at Tufts University, told the Washington Post that she believes the Olympics could make them even more popular.

“People will be curious,” she said. “Anime style is a very particular style, and if you’re not used to it, you’re going to say, ‘Wow, what is this? It’s cool.'”

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