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The Japanese arm of the Canadian romance publisher Harlequin Enterprises has announced on Monday that it will launch Monthly Harlequin, a new Japanese magazine of one-shot manga stories "in the style of overseas romance novels." 70,000 copies of the 56-page inaugural issue will ship on Wednesday with four standalone stories. The cover blurb advertises the publication as "a comic magazine that fulfills the dreams of those who wish to become princesses." The magazine's core concept will be "love for love's sake and happy endings." The initial lineup will be stories from Rebecca Winters and Marito Ai, Sarah Morgan and Masami Hoshino, Renee Roszel and Takako Hashimoto, and Sylvia Andrew and Rin Ogata.
The magazine is aimed at female comic readers from teenagers to those in their 30s. The Japanese subsidiary Harlequin K. K. is also hoping for crossover readers from its Harlequin Comics and Harlequin Comics Kirara imprints, its novels, and its first monthly magazine: Monthly HQ Comics. The company has been publishing that earlier magazine since January 2008, while the new Harlequin Comics Kirara imprint just launched this month.
Harlequin had announced in 2005 that Dark Horse Comics would sell its manga in North America, although it took the North America distribution of its titles in-house the following year. Sony's online Connect store has been selling Harlequin manga in English for the proprietary Sony Portable Reader device since 2006. Three titles are still available on the Connect store, but Dark Horse released its last Harlequin manga in May of 2006. Harlequin and SoftBank Creative announced last March that they will offer Harlequins manga online in Japan Yahoo! Comic Japan and other computer and mobile phone websites.