“Light novels” (raito noberu) comprise a new genre of young adult novels with anime- or manga-style illustrations. The term light novel, often shortened to ranobe or rainobe, was coined in the 1990s on a science fiction Internet forum. These prose (as opposed to graphic) novels are written with the young adult reader in mind, containing a large percentage of dialogue and the occasional reading gloss. They are often serialized in magazines, and many have been adapted for television. Popular light novel genres include romance, science fiction, fantasy, mystery, and horror. Their enormous popularity among Japanese youth and young adults has led to greater numbers appearing in translation, such as Achi Taro’s (1978–) Kage kara mamoru! (Next Door Ninja).

Historical dictionary of modern Japanese literature and theater. . 2009.

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