(9) On the use of the feminine form of the word « manga » :

The way I learned of manga has been very different from that of the average French fan : manga didn't bring me to Japan, it's Japan that brought me to manga. That's why I use the feminine form of manga in French, like many of those that have known Japan, the Japanese language, Japanese people and manga in their original version before becoming interested in the accessible or translated manga published in the West.

Japanese common nouns don't have gender (like English), and we must arbitrarily choose one when we use them in French. The general trend seems to lean towards the masculine (tsunami, samurai, etc.) but some obvious words are feminized (geisha, etc.).

The first known use of the word « manga » in France goes back to the end of the 19th century, and the word was feminine. It was used in the title of the sketchbooks Hokusai Manga, that were renamed la Manga de Hokusaï (Hokusai's Manga) by the writer Edmond de Goncourt.

Edmond de Goncourt, Hokusaï, l'Art japonais au XVIIIe siècle, Paris, 1895, rééd. Orient 1984 :
«  La manga, this profusion of images, this avalanche of drawings, this orgy of pencil lines, these fifteen notebooks where sketches are crowded like silkworm eggs on a sheet of paper, a work that is without equal among painters of the Occident !
La manga, these thousands of feverous reproductions of what is on the ground, in the sky, under the water, these magic instantaneous reproductions of movement, of the stirring life of humanity and bestiality, in short, this sort of delirium on paper from this great crazy man of over there !

Today, the word « manga » is broadly used in its masculine form, a generalization that goes back to 1993, when the word made its first apparition in the media, with the publication of the first magazines devoted to the genre and especially with TV programs « for kids ».

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