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English Business Website Reports on Manga Trends

posted on 2008-01-23 12:08 EST
Bloomberg.com looks at Comiket, Fruits Basket, rise of mobile phone manga

The business news website Bloomberg.com has posted a report on the current issues affecting manga publishing in Japan. According to the report, in 2006, sales of manga magazines and books totaled 1.26 billion copies, across 70,000 individual titles. If that figure is correct, it represents average sales of 18,000 units per manga volume or magazine. One of the titles the report specifically notes is Fruits Basket. Some 18 million volumes have been sold in Japan by Hakusensha, and another 2 million in the U.S. by Tokyopop. Nonetheless, domestic sales have been falling for over 12 years. This is partially compensated by the growth in the market for manga on mobile phones. A recent survey found that, mobile phone manga sales stood at 8.2 billion yen (about US$77.7 million) for the 12-month period ending in March of 2007.

The Bloomberg report includes comments from Masakazu Kubo, who is a manga editor, the Pokémon executive producer, and director of publisher Shogakukan's Character Business Center unit. He comments that despite the blatant copyright infringement that goes on at events like Comiket (the giant semi-annual market for self-published works) and many manga that, according to the article's author, "would be considered nearly pornographic in the U.S.," a crackdown on content in the near future is unlikely. "We don't want to put restrictions on creativity. It's not in the Japanese culture to create rules for manga artists," said Kubo. He also commented on what manga needs to do to reach more audiences in America. In Kubo's view, manga publishers need to expand their offerings to include more science fiction, suspense, and horror manga that would be of interest to American adults.


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