While Japanese manga remains one of the most popular forms of nerdy entertainment, many fans are expanding their reading horizons and have also started looking for the best sites to read manhwa or webtoons. But what is the difference between the two? If you're just getting started, here's the difference between manhwa and webtoons explained.
What is Manhwa?
Manhwa is a term used in Korea to describe South Korean comics.
Unlike Japanese manga, which is typically meant to be read from right to left, manhwa follows the left to write arrangement we are more familiar with in Western countries since Korean texts are usually also written this way.
Manhwa first became popular in the 1920s, but truly rose in popularity in 1950-60, resulting in a diverse range of genres and target demographics, with sunjeong, a shoujo equivalent, being particularly popular.
The style of most manhwa is quite distinct and different from Japanese manga, though, of course, there are cases where they might overlap.
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What are Webtoons?
Webtoons are online comics that originated in South Korea. Unlike Japanese manga and most print comics, which are designed to be read page by page, webtoons are specifically designed to be read on a browser or smartphone by scrolling down.
This format distinguishes webtoons from webcomics, which are also designed for the online format but unfold over several pages rather than one long strip as is the case with webtoons.
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What is the Difference Between Manhwa and Webtoons?
Manhwa and Webtoons both originated in South Korea and the two often overlap. Their main difference is that manhwa is always South Korean comics, while the term "webtoon" has been expanded to include non-Korean works that follow the same formatting.
If a South Korean comic is designed for the web and follows a format that requires readers to keep scrolling down, then it is a webtoon, but not all webtoons are manwha.
Popular manwha reading websites such us Webtoon, for instance, feature Western works such as Alice Oseman's Heartstopper alongside their Korean webtoons.
At this point, South Korean webtoons are still the norm on most popular websites. However, as the online format becomes more and more common for comic reading, we expect more non-Korean works to adopt the webtoon format and become available on sites that include manhwa.
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