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Hangul 만화
Hanja 漫畫
Revised Romanization manhwa
McCune–Reischauer manhwa
The first woodcut manhwa, published in 1908

Manhwa (Hangul: 만화, Korean pronunciation: [manhwa]) is the general Korean term for comics and print cartoons (common usage also includes animated cartoons). Originating from Japanese manga, outside Korea, the term usually refers to South Korean comics,[1] although the comics industry is emerging in North Korea as well.[2]

History of the term[edit]

Linguistically, 漫画 (manga), 漫畫 (manhua), and 만화 (漫畫 manhwa), 만필화 (漫筆畫, manpilhwa) all mean comics in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean respectively. The term, along with manga, is a cognate of the Chinese manhua. Their current use is largely explained by the international success of the Japanese manga. Although in a traditional sense, in these languages the terms manga/manhua/manhwa had a similar meaning of comical drawing in a broad way, nowadays the term generally designate the manga-inspired comic strips. The author of a manhwa is called a manhwaga.

Adaptation of term[edit]

The relative obscurity of Korean culture in the Western world has caused the word "manhwa" to remain somewhat unknown in the English-speaking world.[citation needed] Instead, English translations of manhwa have achieved success by targeting the manga and anime community, to the extent that manhwa are often marketed as "manga."[citation needed]


After 2003, webtoons, the term used for Korean webcomics, are having notable development as setting the form of its platform distinctive from webcomics of other regions.[3]

Korean manhwa publishers[edit]

Manhwa in the United States[edit]

Sanho Kim was the first artist manhwa published in the States, during the 60s and 70s, he worked for publishers Charlton Comics, Warren Publishing Iron Horse Publishing, Skywald Publications and Marvel Comics.[4]

According to journalist Paul Gravett, in 1987 Eastern Comics published the first original manhwas in the United States.[5]

Due to the explosion of manga's popularity in the Americas, many of the licensed titles acquired for the American market seek to emulate the popular elements of other successful series.[6] Recently, long-running webcomics serialized via Internet portal sites (e.g., Media Daum) and personal homepages have become both the creative and popular basecamp among the younger generation in Korea.

Direction of text[edit]

Manhwa is read in the same direction as English books, horizontally and from left to right, because hangul is normally written and read horizontally, although it can also be written and read vertically from right to left, top to bottom.

North American manhwa imprints[edit]

Animation and live-action adaptations[edit]

Animation based on Korean comics is still relatively rare (though there were several major hits in the late 1980s and early 90s with titles such as Dooly the Little Dinosaur and Fly! Superboard). However, live-action drama series and movie adaptations of manhwa have occurred more frequently in recent years. Full House in 2004 and Goong ("Palace" or "Princess Hours") in 2006, are prominent examples as both have been counted as the best dramas of their respective years.[citation needed]

In 2007, The Great Catsby, an award-winning Korean webcomic, was adapted into a live-action drama, after a run as an on-stage musical in 2006. The title was also planned to be adapted into a feature film in late 2007.[7]

In 2006, SamBakZa produced There she is!! which is about the developing relationship of a rabbit and a cat.

Priest, a manhwa by Hyung Min-woo that has been translated to English, was adapted into the 2011 American sci-fi action horror film of the same name by Screen Gems. Released in 2011,[8] it was produced by Michael DeLuca, directed by Scott Stewart, and stars Paul Bettany as the title character.[9][10]

War of Money is another dramatized manhwa that has become immensely popular in South Korea, garnering much attention for its soundtrack and actors.

In 2004, Blade of the Phantom Master, a popular manhwa, was adapted into an animated film by a joint Korean-Japanese animation team.

In 2013, a film based on a manhwa webcomic - Secretly, Greatly - became a top-grossing film.[11][12][13]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Manhwa information[edit]

Popular manhwa artists[edit]


Manhwa on mobiles[edit]


Information and studies[edit]