Shonen vs Seinen : The Difference in Meaning

As I wrote an article on how the Japanese word “Seijin (成人)” is different from “Otona (大人)” the other day, this time I will talk about the difference between “Shonen (少年)” and “Seinen (青年)”, and further the difference between “Shonen Manga (少年漫画)” and “Seinen Manga (青年漫画)”.

Shonen vs Seinen

Shonen Yakyu

Actually, the definitions of Shonen and Seinen are indefinite and vary depending on the institution, each law and so on. But both Shonen and Seinen are the Japanese words for young males.

According to the articles “少年” and “青年” on Kotobank, more often than not, the ages that these Japanese terms represent are as follows.

Shonen (少年)

“Shonen (少年)” are young boys and male teenagers whose age is from 7 or 8 to 15 or 16.

Seinen (青年)

Seinen are youths (particularly males) from late teens to 20s. But in the case of emphasizing their youthfulness, its definition also includes people in 30s.

Shonen Manga vs Seinen Manga

Shonen Manga

When it comes to the difference between “Shonen Manga (少年漫画)” or “Shonen-Shi (少年誌)” and “Seinen Manga (青年漫画)” or “Seinen-Shi (青年誌)”, this article on Manga-Gai says that as the names indicate, 

Shonen Manga (少年漫画)

Literally, Shonen Manga are manga comics whose target age group is Shonen and whose content at least 7 or so year-old children can understand.

Seinen Manga (青年漫画)

Seinen Manga are literally manga comics whose target audience is Seinen.


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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