Manga, or Japanese comics, is not only a source of entertainment but also a large market whose value is often underplayed in the West, mostly because Western fans don’t really pay much attention to the numbers related to manga editions. Still, the market is not only large, but extremely lucrative! In this article, we have decided to introduce you to the world of manga, as we are going to bring you a list of the 20 best-selling manga in history.
You’re going to find out the exact numbers of copies sold, as well as some additional information about each of the manga that ended up on our list. Enjoy!
Before we start, here is a list of the best-selling manga in history in table form, so you can access all the information quickly:
|Manga series||Author(s)||Publisher||Demographic||No. of collected|
|Serialized||Approximate sales||Average sales|
|One Piece||Eiichiro Oda||Shueisha||Shōnen||101||1997–present||490 million||4.85 million|
|Golgo 13||Takao Saito||Shogakukan||Seinen||201||1968–present||300 million||1.49 million|
|Dragon Ball||Akira Toriyama||Shueisha||Shōnen||42||1984–1995||260 million||6.19 million|
|Detective Conan||Gosho Aoyama||Shogakukan||Shōnen||100||1994–present||250 million||2.50 million|
|Naruto||Masashi Kishimoto||Shueisha||Shōnen||72||1999–2014||250 million||3.47 million|
|Doraemon||Fujiko F. Fujio||Shogakukan||Children||45||1969–1996||170 million||3.77 million|
|Slam Dunk||Takehiko Inoue||Shueisha||Shōnen||31||1990–1996||170 million||5.48 million|
|KochiKame: Tokyo Beat Cops||Osamu Akimoto||Shueisha||Shōnen||201||1976–2016||156.5 million||0.77 million|
|Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba||Koyoharu Gotouge||Shueisha||Shōnen||23||2016–2020||150 million||6.52 million|
|Crayon Shin-chan||Yoshito Usui||Futabasha||Seinen||58||1990–present||148 million||2.55 million|
|Oishinbo||Tetsu Kariya, Akira Hanasaki||Shogakukan||Seinen||111||1983–2014 (on hiatus)||135 million||1.21 million|
|Bleach||Tite Kubo||Shueisha||Shōnen||74||2001–2016||120 million||1.62 million|
|JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure||Hirohiko Araki||Shueisha||Shōnen/Seinen||131||1987–present||120 million||0.91 million|
|Astro Boy||Osamu Tezuka||Kobunsha||Shōnen||23||1952–1968||100 million||4.34 million|
|Attack on Titan||Hajime Isayama||Kodansha||Shōnen||34||2009–2021||100 million||2.94 million|
|Fist of the North Star||Buronson, Tetsuo Hara||Shueisha||Shōnen||27||1983–1988||100 million||3.70 million|
|The Kindaichi Case Files||Yōzaburō Kanari, Seimaru Amagi, Fumiya Satō||Kodansha||Shōnen/Seinen||87||1992–present||100 million||1.14 million|
|Touch||Mitsuru Adachi||Shogakukan||Shōnen||26||1981–1986||100 million||3.84 million|
|Hajime no Ippo||George Morikawa||Kodansha||Shōnen||133||1989–present||96 million||0.72 million|
|Sazae-san||Machiko Hasegawa||Kodansha||–||45||1946–1974||86 million||1.91 million|
Now that we have given you this basic information, we can continue with our list. We’re going to give you some basic information on each of the titles, starting with the 20th before reaching the 1st.
Original Run: April 22, 1946 – February 21, 1974
Number of Volumes: 45
The comic strips revolve around the 27-year-old Japanese Sazae Isono. She lives in post-war Japan with her father Namihei Isono, mother Fune Isono, and her siblings Katsuo Isono and Wakame Isono. First, they live in Kyushu, later Tokyo. After marrying Masuo Fuguta, Sazae takes his surname as well. They both have a son named Tarao Fuguta.
Sazae has to help her family through the post-war period and the hunger, and later on fill the various roles in the household, as daughter, wife, and mother. She also advocates women’s rights and emancipation without disregarding tradition. The stories each deal with problems of their time. In the 1940s, for example, Sazae was annoyed by the American soldiers and the family had to fight hunger.
19. Hajime no Ippo
Original Run: October 11, 1989 – present
Number of Volumes: 133
Ippo Makunouchi is a young and shy 16-year-old high school student who has no friends because he spends all his free time helping his mother, who raises him alone, in the family fishing boat rental business. He is routinely the victim of brutality and humiliation by a band of thugs led by Umezawa, one of his classmates.
One day, a professional boxer who witnessed the scene, Mamoru Takamura, saved him from his executioners and took the injured Ippo to the Kamogawa boxing club, run by retired boxer Genji Kamogawa, to treat him. Once Ippo wakes up, Takamura tries to cheer him up by persuading him to let off steam on a sandbag, an experience that reveals in him great punching power and an innate talent for boxing.
Original Run: August 5, 1981 – October 12, 1986
Number of Volumes: 26
Kazuya (Kim) and Tatsuya (Theo) are twin brothers, but the resemblance is only physical. While the first is perfectionist, hard-working and full of good intentions, the second is lazy, slack. However, Tatsuya is always there when needed. Only their neighbor and childhood friend – Minami (Debbie) – is there to realize it.
They will compete to conquer it. The unfolding of the story presents itself in a sort of love triangle, brutally modified by an event that changes the lives of the protagonists and creates great uncertainty about their future.
17. The Kindaichi Case Files
Original Run: October 28, 1992 – present
Number of Volumes: 87
The mysteries of Kindaichi are “whodunnit” stories with the characteristics of a macabre murder, sometimes with a supernatural tinge. They are typically in the style of John Dickson Carr, and frequently feature cases of murder behind closed doors or seemingly impossible crimes, as well as murders in which all remaining suspects have (apparently) iron alibis.
A known peculiarity of the Kindaichi Cases is that the killers are not represented as psychopaths and the killings are never committed solely for financial reasons. All killers have ingrained problems, sometimes involving great trauma caused by the selfishness or greed of others as the motive for the murder. Therefore they are often portrayed as sympathetic and understanding figures, as opposed to cold-minded, calculating killers in other crime series.
16. Fist of the North Star
Original Run: September 13, 1983 – August 8, 1988
Number of Volumes: 27
The story takes place in the 1990s (which was then a relatively near future), in a land ravaged by a nuclear war, which has resulted in the evaporation of most of the seas and oceans, as well as the destruction of much of the vegetation.
During the introduction of the series’ plot, one can read “199X”, that is to say, an indeterminate year at the end of the 20th century. In this post-apocalyptic universe, the survivors are either humble villagers trying to survive, or vicious bandits grouped into gangs who loot and persecute the villagers.
15. Attack on Titan
Original Run: September 9, 2009 – April 9, 2021
Number of Volumes: 34
The plot of Attack on Titan revolves around the young Eren Jäger, his adoptive sister Mikasa Ackermann and his best friend Armin Arlert, who live together with the rest of humanity in cities that are protected by huge walls from the attacks of the so-called Titans, gigantic humanoid beings who devour people for no apparent reason.
The walls that promised peace have existed for 107 years. But one day the Titans break through the outermost Wall Maria and the people are pushed back further. Eren’s mother dies and he and many other people flee behind the second wall, Wall Rose. Eren swears when his mother dies that he will wipe out the Titans.
14. Astro Boy
Original Run: April 3, 1952 – March 12, 1968
Number of Volumes: 23
Astro Boy is a science fiction series set in a futuristic world in which robots coexist with humans. It is based on the adventures of Astro Boy (often and simply referred to as “Astro”), a powerful robot created in 2003 (in the original manga) by the head of the Ministry of Science, Doctor Tenma to replace his son Tobio, who died in a car accident.
Dr. Tenma builds Astro in Tobio’s image and raises him out of love as he would have with his real son Tobio. But he soon realizes that the robot cannot fill the void left by his son, as Astro could neither express the character traits of a human, nor age as any human does. In the original 1960 edition, Tenma rejects Astro and sells him to a cruel circus manager, Hamegg.
13. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
Original Run: January 1, 1987 – present
Number of Volumes: 131
The plot unfolds around the story of the Joestar bloodline, a powerful family of British origin destined to combat evil supernatural forces using acquired powers; the work covers several generations of said lineage, which are adapted in each part by putting a descendant as the protagonist, starting with Jonathan in the year 1880.
Parts 1 to 6 have a continuous and linear story, while parts 7 and 8 take place in an alternate universe. The name “JoJo”, present in the title of the work, consists of a play on words composed of the name of the protagonists of each part, which can be abbreviated as “Jojo” and used as a nickname.
Original Run: August 7, 2001 – August 22, 2016
Number of Volumes: 74
The 15-year-old high school student Ichigo Kurosaki has had the ability to see ghosts since childhood. One day he meets the shinigami Rukia Kuchiki who is hunting a hollow. Seriously injured during the fight, she is forced to transfer her powers to Ichigo to defeat the hollow in her stead. Until Rukia recovers, Ichigo must now do the work of a shinigami.
Rukia enrolls at Ichigo’s school and moves into his closet. Over time, the two become friends. Since Rukia Kuchiki has exceeded her stay in the human world, Rukia is forcibly returned to Soul Society by her stepbrother, the commander of the 6th Division of the Gotei 13, Byakuya Kuchiki, and his lieutenant, Renji Abarai, where all deceased souls, including the Shinigami reside.
Original Run: October 1983 – May 12, 2014 (indefinite hiatus)
Number of Volumes: 111
The young journalist Shirō Yamaoka works in the culture department of the Tōzai Times and is notorious for both his laziness and his irritability. But since he proves to have a particularly fine palate in a test, he is commissioned to put together the Ultimate Menu for a column to celebrate the newspaper’s 100th anniversary.
10. Crayon Shin-chan
Original Run: August 1990 – February 2, 2010
Number of Volumes: 58
The series follows the adventures of a five-year-old boy named Shinnosuke Nohara (nicknamed Shin-chan) and his family, neighbors, friends and entourage in Kasukabe, Saitama Prefecture, Japan. Shinnosuke’s family is initially made up of four members, including Shinnosuke, Misae Nohara (the mother), Hiroshi Nohara (the father), and Shiro (the dog).
The family members grow to five in number upon the arrival of the last, Shinnosuke’s younger sister, Himawari Nohara. Also on the family side, his cantankerous and often overbearing grandfather Yoshiji is the opposite of his other grandfather, Ginnosuké, nicknamed “Ginny”, who is a joker and also a perv.
9. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
Original Run: February 15, 2016 – May 18, 2020
Number of Volumes: 23
In Taishō-era Japan, Tanjirō Kamado is the first child of a family of coal merchants whose father has died: to support the family, he sells charcoal in the village below the Mountain. Despite the difficulties of life, they manage to find little happiness in their daily lives. One day, due to rumors circulating about a man-eating demon hanging around after dark, he is forced to spend the night with a Good Samaritan in the village.
Only, everything changes on his return when he detects, thanks to his keen sense of smell, a strong smell of blood: he rushes home and finds his family massacred.
8. KochiKame: Tokyo Beat Cops
Original Run: September 21, 1976 – September 17, 2016
Number of Volumes: 201
Kankichi Ryotsu (referred to as “Mister Ryo”) is a 36-year-old police officer operating in Tokyo’s Katsushika Ward. Immature, lazy, otaku, and always ready to make money, he experiences all kinds of misadventures. Most of the stories take place at the same police station, often with the same main characters, without the episodes being linked together, giving the manga a sitcom-like feel.
7. SLAM DUNK
Original Run: October 1, 1990 – June 17, 1996
Number of Volumes: 31
Hanamichi Sakuragi, an immature and unpopular young man, is determined to put an end to romantic disappointments when he enters Shohoku High School. He then meets Haruko Akagi, a girl he falls in love with. Following her advice and to please her, he decides to play basketball and join the high school club. During an altercation with the captain of the basketball team, Hanamichi is forced to challenge him to a basketball duel.
Sakuragi ends up winning and learns that the captain is none other than Haruko’s older brother: Takenori Akagi. Despite some reluctance, the latter finally lets him join the basketball team. Unfortunately for Hanamichi, the boy Haruko is in love with, Kaede Rukawa, idol of all the girls and the most talented first-year player in the department is also there.
Original Run: January 1970 – June 23, 1996
Number of Volumes: 45
The robot Doraemon is sent from the 22nd century to the present. Nobita’s great-great-grandson tries to save the clumsy Nobita from his biggest mistakes, lead a carefree life and not get into trouble that will affect the future. In particular, Doraemon should make sure that Nobita doesn’t get into trouble unnecessarily and marries Shizuka as planned. The stories follow predetermined patterns. Nobita comes home crying and calls loudly for Doraemon: “Doraemon, help me!”.
Together they go through many adventures and deal with Nobita’s problems, which range from school problems to trouble with classmates to insecurities in dealing with girls. To help Nobita, Doraemon keeps conjuring up new imaginative gadgets from the future from his pocket. However, their use often gets Nobita even deeper into the mess.
Original Run: September 21, 1999 – November 10, 2014
Number of Volumes: 72
The story begins during Naruto’s adolescence, around the age of twelve. Orphan dunce and great prankster, he does all possible stupid things to get noticed. His dream: to become the best Hokage in order to be recognized by the inhabitants of his village. Indeed, the nine-tailed fox demon sealed within him has fueled the fear and contempt of the other villagers, who, over time, no longer differentiate between Kyūbi and Naruto.
Despite this, Naruto trains hard in order to become genin, the first level among ninjas. After failing the genin exam 3 times, he finally manages to receive his Konoha forehead protector. He is then included in a team of three ninja apprentices, with Sakura Haruno and the talented Sasuke Uchiha who wants to avenge the people dear to him, by killing his brother Itachi Uchiha.
4. Detective Conan
Original Run: January 19, 1994 – present
Number of Volumes: 100
Shinichi Kudo is a 17-year-old high school detective frequently associated with the police. During a visit to an amusement park with his childhood friend, Ran Mouri, he discreetly overhears a private conversation between two individuals – Gin and Vodka – belonging to a mysterious criminal organization whose each member is dressed in black.
Spotted then stunned, he is forced to swallow a new poison (APTX 4869) developed by this organization, before being left for dead. This poison, supposed to kill him without leaving a trace, causes him to regress to his former physical appearance as a six-year-old boy due to a rare and unknown side effect.
3. Dragon Ball
Original Run: December 3, 1984 – June 5, 1995
Number of Volumes: 42
This anime tells the story of Son Goku, a little boy who is very good at martial arts, and who has a mysterious monkey tail. He meets a young woman named Bulma, and the two go together in search of the Dragon Balls (seven magic crystal balls which allow, if they are united, to invoke the dragon Shenron, then offering to grant the wish of the one who pronounces a specific formula in front of him), meeting many adversaries along the way (most of them being competitors in the quest for the famous balls, often with selfish or even evil intentions), some of whom later become allies, such as Yamcha or Ten Chin Han.
2. Golgo 13
Original Run: October 1968 – present
Number of Volumes: 203
Duke Togo, aka Golgo 13, is a contract killer who will stop at nothing. As soon as a contract is signed, where everyone considers the thing impossible, Golgo 13 succeeds. Of course, the more difficult the task, the more colossal the amount of money demanded; in the animated series, it is almost always three million US dollars.
1. One Piece
Original Run: July 22, 1997 – present
Number of Volumes: 101
Twenty-two years after Gol D. Roger’s execution, the interest in the One Piece treasure is waning. Many have given up on it, some even wonder if it really exists. Although pirates are still a threat to the locals, the Navy has become more effective in countering their attacks on all four seas: East Blue, North Blue, West Blue, and South Blue.
However, this change did not deter Monkey D. Luffy, a young boy, from wanting to become the successor to the legendary Roger. He will thus set off on an adventure, giving himself the first objective of creating a crew in order to reach the Grand Line sea, where the fever of the “great wave of piracy” continues to rage, and where many big names in the piracy are in pursuit of the One Piece, supposed to be on the last island of this great sea, Laugh Tale.