Manga is a generic term used to describe Japanese comics or graphic novels which first became popular in the country following World War II. The groundbreaking Manga artist Osamu Tezuka created a character called Astro Boy which went on to become a television series and authored several other series including Buddha (illustrations at top and bottom left). Tezuka's manga characters often took on an androgynous look somewhat in keeping with the androgyny of Western superheroes who covered their identities, and often their genders as well, to assume their roles as semi-God like characters. Manga heroes differed slightly in their take on androgyny in their lack of gender distinctive facial features and body types, often appearing as pre-pubescent and thus, not fully gender differentiated.

Manga characters, perhaps influenced by their Western counterparts, take on a hybrid Eastern-Western appearance, never quite assuming all the physical traits of either culture. They are forever outsiders, never fitting the typical male or female molds of any culture or nationality.

Contemporary manga such as the image below from the title The Prince of Tennis takes on many more challenging themes than Tezuka's work ever did, but still retains the amorphous and genderless body and facial characteristics first invented by Tezuka 60 years ago.


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Androgyny Image