Manga Monday: 4-Koma, A Brief Explanation

Michael Blaker
Game Industry News is running the best blog posts from people writing about the game industry. Articles here may originally appear on Michael's blog, Windborne's Story Eatery.


This week for Manga Monday I’m going to give a brief explanation on a confusing subject for others. It’s all about 4-Koma, A Brief Explanation!

What is 4-Koma?: 4-Koma, or Yonkoma, is a type of formatting that some Manga and comics use. They usually are for Gags and comedy series, but they pop up in just about everything nowadays in Japan. It consists of a series of equal sized panels numbering no more or less than, four. Some popular 4-Koma series are Hetalia and Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-Kun.

How do they work?:

Traditionally, 4-Koma follow a structure known as Kishōtenketsu. This word is a compound formed from the following Japanese Kanji characters:

  • Ki (起):The first panel forms the basis of the story; it sets the scene.
  • Shō (承): The second panel develops upon the foundation of the story laid down in the first panel.
  • Ten (転): The third panel is the climax, in which an unforeseen development occurs.
  • Ketsu (結): The fourth panel is the conclusion, in which the effects of the third panel are seen.

And that’s about it. That’s all you really need to know about 4-Koma. Hopefully that helps clear up some people’s confusion.

That’s it for this week’s Manga Monday!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *