Interest Editor: Foreign Manga Scanning Led to Japanese Uploads
posted on 2010-08-10 21:59 EDT by Gia Manry
Manga lecturer and Japanamerica author Roland Kelts reported in The Daily Yomiuri newspaper on Friday that an unnamed Kodansha editor blamed unauthorized manga scanners abroad for the rise in manga uploads in Japan. According to Kelts' article, the editor said that "[b]efore, it was mostly non-Japanese kids posting and translating manga. But the kids in Japan caught on, and now all kinds of manga are available for free as soon as they hit the shelves [in Japan]."
Yukari Shiina, an employee at the World-Manga.com agency, reported that overall manga sales had declined 6.6% overall in Japan, and that she does not buy "scanlation groups' argument that they promote manga in general. It might be true with some obscure titles, but it can't be with hits such as Naruto."
Kelts' article also discussed the Tokyo Metropolitan Government's attempt to ban sexual depictions of fictional youthful characters, also known as the "nonexistent youth" bill. The bill failed, but will be redrafted and resubmitted, and Kelts reported that "a number of artists, editors and translators" have told him off the record that the increase in erotic manga needs to be curtailed, particularly "those featuring very young-looking characters."
Kodansha announced its intent to publish manga directly in the United States, and has so far released only reprints of former Dark Horse-licensed titles Akira and Ghost in the Shell. Kodansha stopped offering new licenses to Tokyopop, although Del Rey Manga continues to publish Kodansha-owned titles, such as Tsubasa RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE and Negima!
Unauthorized distribution of both anime and manga have led to arrests in 2010. A 14-year-old boy was arrested in June for allegedly distributing One Piece and other manga on the YouTube website before the manga's official release dates. Police later said that the teenager obtained the manga images from overseas sites. Overall manga sales have dropped in both Japan and the United States in the last few years. However, sales of cell phone manga and anime, particularly on Blu-ray Disc, have increased in Japan.