How Do Creators Get Fan Mail?
by Justin Sevakis,
I've seen some creators write about letters and fanart that they receive. But who handles fanmail for people in the manga/anime business? Is it collected by a publisher, agency, or studio and sorted from there? Assuming they even feel compelled to read it, how much of it even reaches a creator?
While a majority of written interaction between the general public and manga artists, anime directors, voice actors and the like happen over Twitter these days, there are still avenues by which (many) fans still send in physical letters the old fashioned way. But who these letters (and sometimes parcels) go to varies depending on what job we're talking about.
For anyone drawing manga or writing light novels or serialized fiction, the standard thing to do, both in Japan and here in the West, is to write in care of their publisher -- i.e. Shueisha, Shogakukan, Kodansha, Hakusensha, Kadokawa, etc. Since those are GIGANTIC companies with lots of different offices and buildings, you should probably specify which magazine or imprint that covers that writer or artist. Most magazines and some books usually have an address somewhere in the masthead that you can send such things to. For Eichiro Oda, you'd write to Shonen Jump. For Hajime Isayama, you'd write into Shonen Magazine.
Manga artists are pretty open about the fan mail they get, and sometimes they ask for it directly, so the magazines are well set up to deal with artist fanmail when they get it -- all of it gets collected and forwarded onto the artist or their manager.
For anime directors and screenwriters, and most of the people directly responsible for anime production (individual artists, animation directors, etc.), your best bet is to write into the animation studio that made it. That said, anime people do tend to bounce around a lot to different studios, and since the anime studios are fairly spartan operations, it's a little bit less of a sure thing that your recipient will get your letter. That said, well-known creators are fairly easy to find, so you still have a pretty good shot. For example, a letter addressed to Mamoru Hosoda in care of Mad House will probably get to him.
For voice actors, singers and other "talent," you should write in care of their agency. For example, to reach Hiroshi Kamiya, you'd write to his agency, Aoni Productions. Voice actors and singers also get a lot of mail, and the agencies are absolutely set up to handle it.
Finally, the easiest way to get a letter to an American voice actor is through the dub studio that they do most of their work at. Sometimes these can be tough to nail down, but if they are known to work at several regularly, just pick one. These studios are usually not set up for such things, so while someone will probably try to forward your letter on, tracking the person down can take a while.
It goes without saying that most Japanese people can't really read English very well, so if you want them to understand you, you should probably write in Japanese (and have someone who knows Japanese check your work, because having Google Translator misunderstand you can cause a lot of embarrassment). You can send them a letter in English, but the odds that they'll take the time and effort to decipher it is pretty low. They're busy people.
Honestly, in this day and age, all of this seems like such a clumsy way to communicate with someone, but I also understand the romantic gesture of sending a fan letter. Twitter just seems so much more effective.
Got questions for me? Send them in! The e-mail address, as always, is answerman (at!) animenewsnetwork.com.
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