I used to be very interested in Japanese culture, society and history, but really have lost track of most of that. Manga and anime was not part of that, unlike many young persons these days. I have read only a few manga and watched some anime. The first Japanese "cartoon" I read was actually a English language book version of the film Tonari no Totoro, which I stumbled upon in a bookstore in Tokyo (iirc) in 1993. I was captivated by the images and also the story, and it made a good omiyage for my children. Later I watched other movies by Miyazaki Hayao, who now is well-known by many outside Japan, not just anime aficionados. If you have not seen any of his amazing works yet, you have something to look forward to. 🙂
Today I finished reading a collection of one (apprently very popular) manga: Azumanga Daioh. It is a rather "typical" type of humour and imagery, although manga and anime of course come in many styles. Anyways, I found it hilarious, and made me at times laugh out loud. That is not a guarantee you will find it funny, but it is well worth a read in my not so humble opinion. It has also been turned into a anime, which I found on youtube, with English subtitles. The anime seems to follow the cartoon closely, but at a very slow pace. May be worth a check, anyways. And easier to find than the books. 🙂
Humour is something that does not always carry over well between cultures, but quite many outside Japan enjoy manga and anime.