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Shōjo, shojo, or shoujo manga (
Shōjo manga is typically serialized in magazines, such as Ribon or Ciao, before being published tankōbon format. These magazines are commonly published in roughly phone-book size, and come often with furoku. They can be circulated at various times, such as bi-weekly, quarterly, and monthly. Several magazines outside of Japan feature shōjo manga, like Viz Media's Shojo Beat or Tokyopop's Smile.
Japanese magazines specifically for girls, known as shōjo magazines, first appeared in 1903 with the founding of Shōjo Kai, and continued with others such as Shōjo Sekai (1906) and the long-running Shōjo no Tomo (1908).
Simple, single-page manga had begun to appear in these magazines by 1910, and by the 1930s more sophisticated humor-strips had become an essential feature of most girls' magazines. The most popular manga, Katsuji Matsumoto's Kurukuru Kurumi-chan, debuted on the pages of Shōjo no tomo in 1938. As World War II progressed, however, "comics, perhaps regarded as frivolous, began to disappear".
Postwar shōjo manga, such as Shosuke Kurakane's popular Anmitsu Hime, initially followed the pre-war pattern of simple humor-strips. But Osamu Tezuka's postwar revolution, introducing intense drama and serious themes to children's manga, spread quickly to shōjo manga, particularly after the enormous success of his seminal Princess Knight. Sally the Witch -- being the first magical girl genre anime -- may (even more broadly) be the first shōjo anime as well.
Until the mid-1960s, males vastly outnumbered the handful of females (for example: Toshiko Ueda, Hideko Mizuno, Masako Watanabe, and Miyako Maki) amongst the artists working on shōjo manga. Many, such as Tetsuya Chiba, functioned as rookies, waiting for an opportunity to move over to shōnen manga. Chiba asked his wife about girls' feelings for research for his manga. At this time, conventional job-opportunities for females did not include becoming a manga artist. Adapting Tezuka's dynamic style to shōjo manga (which had always been domestic in nature) proved challenging.
These early shōjo manga almost invariably had pre-adolescent girls as both heroines and readers. Unless they used a fantastic setting (as in Princess Knight) or a backdrop of a distant time or place, romantic love for the heroine remained essentially taboo. But the average age of the readership rose, and its interests changed. In the mid-1960s one of the few female artists in the field, Yoshiko Nishitani, began to draw stories featuring contemporary Japanese teenagers in love. This signaled a dramatic transformation of the genre. Between 1950 and 1969, increasingly large audiences for manga emerged in Japan with the solidification of its two main marketing genres, shōnen manga aimed at boys and shōjo manga aimed at girls.
Between roughly 1969 and 1971 a flood of young female manga artists transformed the genre again. Some, including Hagio Moto, Yumiko Oshima, and Keiko Takemiya, became known as the Year 24 Group, so named from the approximate year of birth many of them shared: Shōwa 24, or 1949). This loosely-defined group experimented with content and form, inventing such new sub-genres as shōnen-ai, and earning the long-maligned shōjo manga unprecedented critical praise. Other female artists of the same generation, such as Riyoko Ikeda, Yukari Ichijo, and Sumika Yamamoto, garnered unprecedented popular support with such hits as The Rose of Versailles, Designer, and Aim for the Ace!. Since the mid-1970s, women have created the vast majority of shōjo manga; notable exceptions include Mineo Maya and Shinji Wada).
From 1975 to 2009 shōjo manga continued to develop stylistically while simultaneously branching out into different but overlapping subgenres. Yukari Fujimoto feels that during the 1990s, shōjo manga became concerned with self-fulfillment. She feels the Gulf War influenced the development of "girls who fight to protect the destiny of a community", such as Red River, Basara, Magic Knight Rayearth, and Sailor Moon. She feels that the shōjo manga of the 1990s showed emotional bonds between women that were stronger than bonds between a man and a woman. Major sub-genres include romance, science fiction, fantasy, magical girl, yaoi, and josei.
- Main article: List of shōjo magazines in Japan
In a strict sense, shōjo manga refers to a story serialized in a shōjo manga magazine (a magazine marketed to girls and young women). The list below contains past and current Japanese shōjo manga magazines, grouped according to their publishers. Such magazines can appear on a variety of schedules, including bi-weekly (Margaret, Hana to Yume, Shōjo Comic), monthly (Ribon, Bessatsu Margaret, Bessatsu Friend, LaLa), bi-monthly (Deluxe Margaret, LaLa DX, The Dessert), and quarterly (Cookie BOX, Unpoko). Weekly shōjo magazines, common in the 1960s and 1970s, had disappeared by the early 1980s.
Outside of Japan
- Main article: List of shōjo magazines outside of Japan
Several magazines outside of Japan feature shōjo manga, including Shojo Beat and Smile. Very few shōjo magazines are published in English. However, in other countries there are magazines still being published.