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Synonyms: Shōnen
See also: seinen, shoujo, josei
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Shounen (少年 literally few years, meaning boy) is a category of manga/anime marketed to boys, typically 8-18 years old. It is one of the four main categories of manga/anime along with seinen (for men), shoujo (for girls), and josei (for women). Shounen is by far the most prevalent of the four.

Genre or Demographic

In Japan, shounen refers to magazines with a nominal target demographic of boys; however, many of these magazines have distinctive house styles that make shounen something of a genre as well. Outside of Japan, it is very common for only the most mainstream series to be available, particularly ones that have run in Weekly Shounen Jump or a few of the other top-selling magazines. These series have key stylistic elements which set them apart as a genre, leading many fans to use the word 'shounen' both ways.

In English-speaking regions, shounen is regularly used as a genre to describe manga and anime with fighting in a martial arts-inspired way and a predominantly male cast such as Bleach and Dragon Ball, though this is not done in Japan, with the corresponding term there being "battle manga".

Author Gender

Male authors of shoujo manga became relatively rare after the 1960s and 70s, but the reverse is not true of shounen. Perhaps because some shounen magazines are read by many women and girls, or perhaps because their wide circulation makes them profitable, a number of female authors publish shounen. Some famous authors and series include:

Shounen Jump

Shounen Jump, specifically Weekly Shounen Jump is among the most popular magazines on the planet and has been running since 1968.[1] Not only do the vast majority of Japanese manga fans of any demographic read it, but it has had a huge impact on how shounen manga is perceived outside of Japan.

"Shoujo" Jump

Despite its nominal target demographic Weekly Jump is immensely popular with women, including fujoshi. In recent years, many series have contained what fans interpret as intentional hoyay and fujoshi bait (the kiss between Naruto and Sasuke, for example). This has led to people facetiously calling it "shoujo jump".

Shounen Jump Motto

Shounen Jump series are required to focus on three things: friendship, "effort", and victory.[2] In addition, many authors of new hit series are former assistants to previous best-selling Jump authors. These factors give this set of shounen series an even more uniform feel than shounen as a whole has. Because Shounen Jump series tend to be made into anime and are some of the most likely series to be translated and exported, for many fans outside of Japan, the Shounen Jump house style is synonymous with shounen manga itself.

Other Shounen Magazines

There are hundreds of shounen manga magazines past and present, including many families of related magazines from the same publisher. Some of the most popular, famous, or influential are:

  • The "Jump" magazines: In addition to Weekly Shounen Jump, the Jump family of magazines also includes Jump Square or Jump SQ (the successor to Monthly Shounen Jump) and V Jump along with a number of seinen magazines.
  • Weekly Shounen Sunday: The Shounen Sunday family of magazines also includes Shounen Sunday Super and Monthly Shounen Sunday.
  • Weekly Shounen Champion
  • Gangan: Square Enix publishes several related magazines: Monthly Shounen Gangan, Gangan YG, Monthly Gangan Wing, Monthly GFantasy (or Gangan Fantasy), etc.
  • Shounen Ace
  • Degenki Daioh
  • Degenki Comic Gao!

Shounen Anime

Many popular shounen anime are adaptations of series from magazines like Weekly Shounen Jump or Weekly Shounen Sunday. A few notable titles like Neon Genesis Evangelion were anime first and only later adapted to other formats. However, many of the series that are only (or primarily) known as anime in the English-speaking world are well known as manga in Japan.

Popular Series

Popular shounen anime series include adaptations of many of the manga listed below, plus Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Popular Shounen Manga Series by Original Publisher[3]
Series Author Manga Magazine Serialized In Start Date End Date
Naruto Masashi Kishimoto Weekly Shounen Jump 1999 ongoing
Death Note Takeshi Obata, Tsugumi Ohba Weekly Shounen Jump 2003 2006
One Piece Eiichiro Oda Weekly Shounen Jump 1997 ongoing
Bleach Tite Kubo Weekly Shounen Jump 2001 ongoing
D.Gray-man Katsura Hoshino Weekly Shounen Jump, Jump SQ[4] 2004 ongoing
Katekyo Hitman Reborn! Akira Amano Weekly Shounen Jump 2004 ongoing
Prince of Tennis Takeshi Konomi Weekly Shounen Jump 1999 2008
Dragon Ball[5] Akira Toriyama Weekly Shounen Jump 1984 1995
Hikaru no Go Takeshi Obata, Yumi Hotta Weekly Shounen Jump 1999 2003
Rurouni Kenshin Nobuhiro Watsuki Weekly Shounen Jump 1994 1999
Yuu Yuu Hakusho Yoshihiro Togashi Weekly Shounen Jump 1990 1994
Detective Conan Gosho Aoyama Weekly Shounen Sunday 1994 ongoing
Ranma 1/2 Rumiko Takahashi Weekly Shounen Sunday 1987 1996
InuYasha Rumiko Takahashi Weekly Shounen Sunday 1996 2008
Great Teacher Onizuka Tohru Fujisawa Weekly Shounen Magazine 1997 2002
Getbackers Yuya Aoki and Rando Ayamine Weekly Shounen Magazine 1999 2007
Samurai Deeper Kyo Akimine Kamijyo Weekly Shounen Magazine 1999 2006
World Trigger Daisuke Ashihara 2013 ongoing


  1. ^ Wikipedia lists its 1995 circulation at 6.53 million and its 2007 circulation as 2.7 million. For comparison, see Wikipedia's list of magazines by circulation.
  2. ^ Eurozine mentions the English translation of the motto. 'Effort' doesn't sound very motto-like, but the original 'ganbaru' is an important value to Japanese people and even moreso to shounen manga characters.
  3. ^ This data is from Wikipedia, particularly the list of manga series run in Weekly Shounen Jump and list of manga series run in Weekly Shounen Sunday.
  4. ^ In 2009, the series moved to Jump's monthly magazine.
  5. ^ "Dragon Ball Z" is the name of one of the anime series adapted from this manga. The entire manga series, regardless of which generation of characters we're talking about, was called "Dragon Ball".