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Manhwa meaning and how you can identify a Manhwa

Manhwa meaning „Comic“ in Korea in general often leads to jumbled definitions. On the net Manhwa, Manga and Manhua are frequently used as synonyms, but Fans keep distinguishing them more and more. If you look closely the differences are pretty apparent. In this article, you can read about the definition of Manhwa and how you can identify if you are reading a Manhwa or not.

Manhwa meaning – the official translation

Manhwa 만화 is the commonly used term for Comics from South Korea in the western world. In Korea the term Manhwa refers to Comics in general and therefore also includes Comics from Japan and China. The Korean term Hangkuk Manhwa 한국 만화 refers to specific Manhwa from Korean authors. In Korea Manhwa make up around 36 % of all printed material.

Manhwa meaning: How do you identify a Manhwa?

If you want to make sure you are reading a Manhwa before you even start, you have several options. If the Manhwa is featured on Tappytoon, Webtoons or Tapas you can check the name of the author. In this example the author’s name is Hongseul. Hong for example is a common Korean surname.

ⓒ Hongseul, maginot 2020 / D&C WEBTOON Biz


If it is something like Ko eun chae / Eongsseu (I Married the Male Lead’s Dad) you can be sure it is a Manhwa. Eun and Eon are common two-syllable elements in Korean names. So is Jae, Jung, Woo, Won, and so on.

You can check the characters as well, they often have typical Korean names:

© WEBTOON Entertainment Inc. / Jungyoon/Taegeon


Also if they call each other Noona (누나) or Oppa (오빠), which mean older sister or older brother you are reading a Manhwa. The term is also used outside of the family and depicts closeness.

Check the titles of the Manhwa

If the Manhwa isn’t licensed yet, you can look at the title page. Korean titles look like this: With (I Married the Male Lead’s Dad) 남주의 엄마가 되어버렸다 vs. 厨厨动人(Kitchen Goddess and the Assassin) you can see a significant difference. Hangul, the Korean alphabet consists of straight lines and circles, while you don’t find circles in the Japanese or Chinese Kanji at all. That is the easiest way to differentiate them. If you want to be 100% sure mangaupdates is a good source.

Ok, now you have some stepstones by which you can identify a Manhwa but let’s say that you don’t find any of those in your Webtoon… you still have one thing to look out for: tteokbokki – stir-fried spicy rice cakes.

(c) TAPAS MEDIA 2020 / kang ki / Lee jung


Tteokbokk is very popular street food in Korea and is often sold in small street stalls or restaurants. So if they eat Tteokbokki you are probably reading a Manhwa.

(c) TAPAS MEDIA 2020 / kang ki / Lee jung

Read the mentioned Manhwas here:

The Lady and The Beast

Official summary on Tappytoon: “Following a life of bloodshed and heartbreak, the great Empress Martina is reborn as Astina, the genius daughter of a humble count. But her peaceful world is shattered when bankruptcy forces her father to marry her off to the dangerous Archduke Atalenta. All of high society knows him as “Terriod the Beast” because of a family curse that turned him into a wild monster. Luckily, even the deadly beast of Atalenta is no match for the former empress’s mighty sword.

Everyone is shocked when the new archduchess tames her husband all too easily and takes over as the family head. No one’s more surprised than Astina, however, when her casual kiss returns Terriod to his human form. Not only does he resemble her past life lover, but he has no memory of her from his wolf days. Despite these awkward circumstances, can the new power couple join hands to rule over the archduchy?” Check out this article for more Manhwa recommendations: Romance Manhwa with good (but different) art.

Positively Yours

Official summary on tapas: “To Hee-won’s dismay, the BFF she crushed on and her other BFF are now dating! Seriously bummed, Hee-won decides to go wild just one time, and find solace with a handsome stranger. A very satisfying one-night affair has now turned into more — she’s pregnant! Fate brings them together again, and now the regimented Doo-joon is determined to do the right thing and marry her. But they’re basically strangers! Except… their bodies have been very intimately acquainted. What’s this mother-to-be to do?”

I Married the Male Lead’s Dad

Official summary on tapas: “In my real life, I was happy fawning over Abel Louvremont, the main character of my favorite book ‘Persona.’ But after a fateful car accident, I woke up in ‘Persona,’ but when Abel is still a precious child. Now, as Aisha Heathcliff, I can fangirl adorable Abel up close, squee!! I’ll do anything I can to make sure he is taken care of and gets what he needs! And, somehow, that means I’m engaged to… his dad?!”.

Manhwa meaning: To Love your Enemy shows college life in Korea

Official summary on Webtoons: “Having mastered the art of lying her way through life, Yeonhee Bae has vowed to leave her past behind and make a fresh start for herself by going to college at 24. But when she runs into someone who knows a secret from her past that could completely ruin her reputation, her hopes for a perfect life suddenly start to crumble. Amidst college gossip, crushes, and jealousy, can the two set aside their differences and embrace each other for who they really are?” Check out this list for more recommendations on Webtoons: Best Romance Webtoons 2021 – Top 10 List.

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