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NEWS: Embracing Love's Nitta Acknowledges Tracing Photo


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Cait



Joined: 29 May 2008
Posts: 503
PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2008 12:55 pm Reply with quote
I just posted this to the Youka Nitta LiveJournal community, but I thought to post it here as well:

I agree with others that this issue is more about the fact that a "big" name in manga, particularly BL manga, is the one being "caught" doing this, and not about it being done (which I'm sure we would all agree is probably very widely done across the manga publishing industry). The issue, though, is that exactly because Youka Nitta is a big name that people feel not only personally betrayed, but that because she is so revered (as I would argue one of the three "big names in yaoi" along with Kazuma Kodaka and Ayano Yamane) that this scandal is going to have long-lasting negative effects on the world perception of manga publishing in general, and BL manga publishing specifically. Look at how that otaku serial killer so negatively affected the entire nation of Japan's perception of otaku for decades. Yaoi is already a niche genre and whatever side of this specific debate you are on, you have to admit that this issue is going to cause serious trouble for the negative attention it is going to garner, bringing yaoi/BL sub-culture to the attention of people who were not previously aware of it, and probably don't approve it and will probably use this as a weapon against it.

I only recently joined Nitta's fan community at LiveJournal, though I have been a fan of Nitta-sensei's since the early days of BeBeautiful's publication of Embracing Love in English. As a fan I want to stand behind her, but as an objective observer of the situation I can only shake my head in general disappointment at the degree to which this practice was carried out. It is clear plagiarism (in some cases blantant tracing), and should legal action be taken, there will definitely be a conviction. In addition, I am pretty positive that BBGold, and probably most, if not all, of the other BL manga publications are going to drop her serializations and she will probably be banned, or suspended for several years at best. At the end of this, I don't see a light waiting down the tunnel. If and when she returns to drawing professionally, this scandal, while probably not marring her fans' perceptions of her, will almost certainly mar her within the industry, as publishers wishing to distance themselves from plagiarism comparisons will probably avoid her.

If I were to define this issue in relation to types of "drama" I would label it a Greek Tragedy. Oedipus murdered his father and married his own mother, just as the prophecy foretold, and even though it was due to the fact that he "thought" his parents were different people, he allowed a single act of rage to cloud his judgement and kill a man for personally offending him on the road. He didn't know his wrongdoing until it was too late, but it can't be judged that he didn't choose his own destiny by making that one fatal error. For his mistakes, and for Nitta-sensei's, the consequences have to be weathered. Even if she wasn't "aware" of the law, she still broke it, and regardless of the sympathy we might have for her we have to also accept justice.

To those who think this issue is just as akin to the fandom's downloading and distributing of copyrighted works, including and especially those of Youka Nitta, you are absolutely right, but that doesn't make either okay. What we do is just as bad, just as damaging, and should the law come down for it, that law would be just as just. How we as fans "feel" about it is not the relevant issue. How the issue affects the whole of the fandom and the whole of the justice system in the eyes of the world is.
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BellosTheMighty



Joined: 27 Nov 2007
Posts: 767
PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2008 1:37 pm Reply with quote
Greek Tragedy? I dunno, looks more like a medieval Mystery Play to me- I mean, we just saw Mary Magdalen, wailing and crying with melodrama enough for seventeen soap operas.

Really, it's not a big deal. It's not front page news unless it's a really, really slow news day. Next week some previously-upstanding citizen will shoot his wife or the Diet will pass some ridiculous legislation or George Bush will start acting like George Bush, and everyone will forget about it. The worst that happens is she loses her current position and *maybe* the issue with the offending panel gets recalled and becomes an instant collector's item. But if she's a very big author as you say, even that much is unlikely. This is not going to lead to the downfall of BL manga, not so long as chicks still need to jill off. There will certainly be no "conviction", because plagiarism is a civil offense, not criminal. You don't get convicted and go to jail, you get sued. The author will not be "banned"- there's no sort of governing body for manga authors to "ban" her. If there was a union, she could conceivably get kicked out, but more likely the union would fight to help her keep her job. I suppose you could get blackballed, but unless there's some kind of moral panic raging in Japan against plagiarized manga, I doubt that will happen either. At worst, she'll get fired and snatched up by some other publisher who sees she's still a good talent.

Seriously, babe, you need to calm down. Have some lemonade, it's the right time of year for it. Anime smile
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Cait



Joined: 29 May 2008
Posts: 503
PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2008 2:00 pm Reply with quote
BellosTheMighty,

I would disagree. This is neither the first case of plagiarism in manga, nor the first instance of potential pending legal action concerning copyright material. In the past, mangaka have been suspended by their publishers for getting "caught" and for doing things far less "serious." You have to understand that while there are numerous serialization magazines for BL manga, many of them are controlled by only a handful of companies. If Nitta is suspended from BBGold, she will probably also be suspended from the other magazines of its parent company, Libre.

Should any of the numerous advertizing firms whose ads she plagiarized decide to sue, they will win, and while it seems Japan's legal system doesn't award the sums that the American system awards, there will be a settlement. This isn't a single instance of one ad being used in the cover art of one of Youka Nitta's works. If that were the case we could all say, "Oops she made a mistake, let's pull that issue and forget this happened." There are over 30 examples of such tracing, including cover art and color illustrations, many of which ended up in artbooks. This is clearly something she has done and has been doing for many years and if they plan to recall this "one" instance they better be prepared to recall all the others as well. We're talking about over a dozen volumes of manga, art books, published illustrations for magazines, pencil boards, etc. etc.

I wasn't implying that the industry is going to crumble under the weight of this, I was simply stating that this is looking very bad for Youka Nitta, one of the most renowned BL mangaka in the industry today. This will have a lasting impact on her, on her publisher and on the perception of an issue that is clearly very pervasive in the industry at large. It would be foolish to think this an isolated inicident and if anything, it is a symptom of a greater problem, including, but not necessarily exclusive to that of the pressures of deadlines for many struggling mangaka and their publishers in an economy already troubled with issues about copyright infringements by its own fandom.

To say this will "blow over in a few days when another scandal comes around" is naive. This is going to be one of those issues that affects the genre for many years to come.

You're clearly not a member of the fandom, and while your outside observer's objectivity is refreshing it also lacks a deeper understanding of the issue at hand.
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emilydastrange



Joined: 11 Dec 2005
Posts: 65
PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2008 2:05 pm Reply with quote
BellosTheMighty wrote:
Really, it's not a big deal. It's not front page news unless it's a really, really slow news day.


You know, just cause you are not a fan of BL and/or no nothing about it besides "chicks jill off to it" does not mean it is not relevant news (and it is). What the full repercussions will be I don't know, but I can say there will be some since Youka Nitta is a big author regardless of whether you know her or not.

BellosTheMighty wrote:
The author will not be "banned"- there's no sort of governing body for manga authors to "ban" her. If there was a union, she could conceivably get kicked out, but more likely the union would fight to help her keep her job. I suppose you could get blackballed, but unless there's some kind of moral panic raging in Japan against plagiarized manga, I doubt that will happen either. At worst, she'll get fired and snatched up by some other publisher who sees she's still a good talent.


Publishers could drop her, and obviously that'd be a major problem. I don't think she'll have problems getting back to work but there might be some "down time" where she won't be appearing in magazines (She's already out of the October issue, and she was going to do the cover for that issue which now seems to be passed to Yamane Ayano).

Although I have no link for this, I've heard (from Nitta's lj community and other communities) that the news is not letting this go, so I don't think it'll just disappear in a week. She's a big mangaka where BL is concerned. She'll just have to weather the storm.
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sunflower



Joined: 04 Sep 2005
Posts: 1080
PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2008 2:51 pm Reply with quote
This really saddened me when I heard it. One of the things that made her artwork special to me was the composition, and how professional it looked. Now when I look at Kiss of Fire I'll just be seeing Versace ads, albeit nicely drawn ones.

I don't think that this is important news outside the BL community, other than among those on 2chan who enjoy bringing a popular mangaka down. They'll forget it in a couple of weeks though when they find their next target.

But since she's one of the queens of BL, it will have a long-lasting effect on her and the BL community itself, though maybe not a mighty one. I don't think Libre will drop her. She's one of their biggest moneymakers. And while her sales might drop a little, I'd bet they're still going to be stronger than most other BL mangaka. Her story-telling skills remain her own, and her stories are as powerful as her artwork.

I do think that editors will be questioning mangaka about their use of models and other references. Most use for reference is acceptable, but the outright copying seen in the linked examples is not. Editors will not want the mangaka and series they're responsible for to cost their company thousands of dollars in recalls, not to mention embarrassment. Some mangaka will no doubt have to change their ways.

Out of curiosity, I asked my husband, a photographer/journalist, how he would feel had one of his photographs been used this way. He said he would be angry. That it takes time to plan a shot and get it right, and that the people doing those ads worked a long time to compose something striking and memorable. To have someone copy that and pass it off as her own work was to him unforgivable.
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Quark



Joined: 07 Mar 2008
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Location: British Columbia, Canada
PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2008 3:12 pm Reply with quote
sunflower wrote:

Out of curiosity, I asked my husband, a photographer/journalist, how he would feel had one of his photographs been used this way. He said he would be angry. That it takes time to plan a shot and get it right, and that the people doing those ads worked a long time to compose something striking and memorable. To have someone copy that and pass it off as her own work was to him unforgivable.


You know, at first, I didn't think this was such a big deal. I mean, I draw myself, and I know a lot of times I'll go to a photo for pose references. But then when I started thinking, not only did she outright trace the images, but she also ripped the background, composition, everything, which, when thinking about it, is pretty bad.
I think that in some cases, using a photo for drawings would be acceptable, but in this case, she took it way too far.
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emilydastrange



Joined: 11 Dec 2005
Posts: 65
PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2008 3:24 pm Reply with quote
Quark wrote:

You know, at first, I didn't think this was such a big deal. I mean, I draw myself, and I know a lot of times I'll go to a photo for pose references. But then when I started thinking, not only did she outright trace the images, but she also ripped the background, composition, everything, which, when thinking about it, is pretty bad.
I think that in some cases, using a photo for drawings would be acceptable, but in this case, she took it way too far.


This is what makes this a huge deal for me since, especially in the photo posted in the article, all the shadows, car details, and people on the ground are copied perfectly. That goes beyond picking up a certain pose or clothing style - her earlier "comparison photos" on the linked site had similarities but not to that extent. She seemed to have gotten lazy as she spent more and more years "tracing."
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Sakurachan1



Joined: 06 Sep 2006
Posts: 42
PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2008 3:25 pm Reply with quote
The way this news item is being handled in the community is very interesting to me, since Youka Nitta has openly admitted to “using” popular fashion magazines – I am assuming she means; GQ, Vogue, W, and other high brow Western/Asian fashion media, as a base for most of her art, in several interviews.

What gets me is the manga communities’ inability to admit they do look at, and use popular visual sources to model their art/visual presentations on. Is this a form of visual plagiarism – I’m not sure. I do think if you use an add that people have seen, as the base for a moment in your work you should site that add at the end. A simply foot or endnote would suffice, for instance see July GQ or something along those lines, say that you saw the add and it inspired the moment. That said, visual art: mass media, manga, comics, magazines, adds, even corporate vehicles, are all designed to capture our consciousness, and for that to happen their needs to be a reference. I did the second part of my dual major in art history and visual arts, and you learn pretty quickly that every piece of visual medium out there, takes something, borrows, uses, rips off, whatever, from something else. Most artists believe imitation is a form of flattery, ever walk into an art museum and see two identical pieces of art, that were done by different artists, and wonder how the other guy/gal, got away with it.

Exhibit A: Caravaggio vs. del Cairo
http://www.abcgallery.com/C/caravaggio/caravaggio53.html

http://www.mfa.org/collections/search_art.asp?recview=true&id=32243

Exhibit B: Pollock vs. Olmstead

http://www.blogcadre.com/files/images/Jackson_Pollock_Galaxy_0.jpg
http://www.marlaolmstead.com/mainwork.html


Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying every mangaka does this, and I’m sure not saying it’s right to trace without regard for the other artist, but come on, after reading a few volumes of various manga you begin to see the patterns. And I don’t think this was done on purpose, I really think Youka Nitta saw the original add, and it struck a cord with her so she injected her characters into that scene. My question is: should mangaka be held to a different standard when this is a fairly common, yet unspoken practice in every medium out there? How many Mecha designs look exactly the same? How many Vampire novels ripped off Anne Rice, and how many writers are still doing it some 30 years after “Interview”. There are about a million Lestat rip offs out there. How many Marvel heroes are carbon copies of DC heroes and vice versa? You’ve read one Sex in The City, you’ve read every Devil Wears Prada, or Nanny Diaries – it’s all the same – a bunch of white women in NYC with dreams of marrying the guys living in the Penthouse unit of the Park Ave Co-op, and summering in the Hamptons. Every Shojo story is based on the same stock premise, as is every Shonen manga. Turn on the radio and listen to the same song being sung by twenty different recyclable pop/rock artists. Look at the adds in any magazine and experience visual Dejavu. If you’re looking at it, the odds are it’s been seen before. Does this make it any less enjoyable, not at all.

I just hope the manga community isn’t vetted over a trivial issue, because lets be serious, while thrilling to read and nice to look at, manga isn’t trying to be Shakespeare. It is disposable/recyclable literature that is produced at a rapid pace for quick mass consumption. Now before you go getting mad at me I will say that for my second year project in grad school I designed a manga exhibit that argued the artistic merits of the medium and even cast it as a branch of modern art. My project included Youka Nitta, along with Clamp and few others. So I like my manga, and my anime and I do respect the artists, but I also recognize that people are human and we all do things we regret later. However, I don’t think the world should end because Youka Nitta used a silly fashion add from an equally disposable magazine to base a splash page on.
Wink
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Cait



Joined: 29 May 2008
Posts: 503
PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2008 3:58 pm Reply with quote
Sakurachan1,

The problem with your argument is that you are equating the common practice of 'recycling ideas" in general with a very clear action of copying a very specific work, whether "frivolous and forgettable" or not. The advertizing firms involved were and are in the business for a profit. Regardless of what anyone thinks of their ads I am very sure they take pride in their work, particularly the photographers to take the pictures.

What we're in right now is a waiting game to see how the advertisers are going to react to this revelation and what, if anything, they are going to demand from Libre and Youka Nitta as a result. It is clear that Libre is taking this /very/ seriously, having already pulled Haru wo Daiteita from the next issue of BBGold and handing the cover art to a different mangaka, as well as issuing a formal apology along with Nitta herself.

I can only hope this news does not affect Nitta's decision to attend or Yaoi-con's decision to have Nitta attend the convention later this year. I think it is very important for her to come to America and speak to her American fans directly about this issue.
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poonk



Joined: 05 Jun 2008
Posts: 1490
Location: In the Library with Philip
PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2008 4:52 pm Reply with quote
While Ms. Nitta's own immediate future as a manga-ka may be in question, let's just say I'm not too worried about the future of yaoi manga in general. I suppose any other artists, yaoi or not, who are copying/tracing will take note and stop immediately (or just be sneakier about it) and the industry will keep chugging along. And as for her, I suppose if-- or more likely when-- she continues (as long as her stuff sells, there will be a publisher willing to take her on, I'll bet), she'll just face a lot more scrutiny than before. But ultimately I think her fans will forgive her (if they even particularly cared in the first place). And I'm not really sure any of those ad agencies involved are even aware of her infringements (or that it would be worth their time & money to sue).

I myself am a little surprised, but not particularly crushed. I guess... how do I say it... I kinda don't care if she copied some pictures, in that, I don't take it personally. What she did isn't fair to the original artists of course, but that's for them to take up (again, if they even think it's worth their while) and I don't take it as a personal affront. I'll still buy volumes 6 and on of Haru wo Daiteita (Embracing Love) if they ever got published here in the U.S.
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gynocrat_rex



Joined: 16 Mar 2006
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Location: Texas
PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2008 5:35 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
If Nitta is suspended from BBGold, she will probably also be suspended from the other magazines of its parent company, Libre.


Cait, you're taking this much more seriously then you should. Surprised
BL is not as big in Japan as most would love to think, matter of fact-- Ladys comics [Josei] and Shoujo far outsell it; so I think she'll find work and there wont be a national scandal.

On that note, she makes too much damn money for them to get all twisted over fan-service tracing, especially if it's tracing she's readily admitted to. She didn't pull the ultimate sin of 'copying' scenes and layouts the way shoujo mangaka Kayono blatantly did to Takashima Kazusa - in that case Shogakukan supported Kayono, despite the glaring evidence and modest fan outcry and Kayono's shameless denial of what she did.

Also, Cait-- no one is going to bring it up at Yaoicon because that's just not how they roll. By they, I mean the Japanese. It's a shameful incident and it'll pass, and it will remain passed...one doesn't dwell on scandals once they've passed.

Not trying to be uncool and heavy...but I think you're taking this far more serious then the Japanese erotic comics industry.
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minakichan





PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2008 7:55 pm Reply with quote
Why does this news have anything to do with the fact that she draws BL? I'm not a BL fan at all, but I think that this really is just a case of people making a bigger deal out of it just because it has some link to some kind of deviant niche.

The fact is that she's tracing photos and, unlike a lot of other situations, she hasn't really be reprimanded for it. I personally think it was an honest mistake-- heck, there are TONS of how to draw manga books that suggest using reference pic poses (wait, so it's OK for fine artists and amateurs to do this but not for mangaka? O_O), and only recently have people started saying "uhhh that might not be a good idea."
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Quark



Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 709
Location: British Columbia, Canada
PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2008 8:05 pm Reply with quote
minakichan wrote:
Why does this news have anything to do with the fact that she draws BL? I'm not a BL fan at all, but I think that this really is just a case of people making a bigger deal out of it just because it has some link to some kind of deviant niche.

The fact is that she's tracing photos and, unlike a lot of other situations, she hasn't really be reprimanded for it. I personally think it was an honest mistake-- heck, there are TONS of how to draw manga books that suggest using reference pic poses (wait, so it's OK for fine artists and amateurs to do this but not for mangaka? O_O), and only recently have people started saying "uhhh that might not be a good idea."


Well, the thing is, there is a difference between using pose references, and copying an entire photo. If she had just copied the pose of the two characters, and had done a different layout for the drawing, and had done her own background, it would have been fine. But she traced from the entire photograph, composition, background, lighting, everything.
I think it's okay to copy maybe one or two things, or to use something as an inspiration, but not to outright trace the entire image. Not only that, but she's making money with these drawings. That's probably the big reason right there why people are making a fuss about this.
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ArielTsuki



Joined: 19 Jul 2006
Posts: 178
PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2008 8:35 pm Reply with quote
I agree with gynocrat_rex. Cait, you're blowing this WAY out of proportion. I don't know how to feel with this issue, I like Nitta's work but I can't say I adore her work outside Fuyu no Semi, but I was shocked when I saw it elsewhere. Yeah, she might get suspended for it for a while and it'll teach her not to copy so heavily next time. I'm surprised some manga-ka still have the gall to do this when there's no secret of petty people on th Internet who love nothing more than destroy a manga-ka's career.

I doubt it would leave an lasting effect on manga or the BL world. Heck, who remembers the whole Kayono incident with her copying Kazusa Takashima's work? That was much bigger than this since Takashima went to court over this and lost the case because Kayono had a famous manga-ka mother backing her and Kayono continued to make manga after that. Although, too bad it caused Takashima be in suspension herself until recently and she's recently finished working on Harlem Beat wa Yoake Made. I don't know if she'll be back in the BL genre though, but I hope so.

Also who remember the manga-ka Yuki Suetsugu who copied off from Takehito Inoue's stuff? Very few people.

I hope this would remind manga-ka to be careful in the future. Japan looks down on photo referencing than America, believe it or not.

And Cait, don't worry, most people would forget by the end of the month and it would have no impact on the industry like past incidents did.
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CCSYueh



Joined: 03 Jul 2004
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2008 9:34 pm Reply with quote
I've been a bit amazed at all the flack over copying ads & all having seen one too many similar titles in my life. Didn't really bother me all those ther times I saw it reported here & this doesn't bother me either. I just figure it's a bigger thing in Japan than here. Seems like we see enough similar ads, shows, etc. here.

So as a BL fan this doesn't really affect me any more than the other stuff did. It's sort of stupid for someone of Nitta's reputation to do this after all the other press on other cases. Maybe all the editors need to send reminders out to their writers not to do this. If only ]she had changed enough of the picture to discount this (plagiarism 101-heavily disguise steals) Realistically though I'm not particularly a fan of Nitta over any other number of authors. If I heard Higuri, Yamane, Oda, Kubo or any of the other authors I DO like a lot doing it, it wouldn't phase me. An ad is an ad is an ad. It's pitching something & they often play off popular movies & other entertainment. I saw a stunning sunset last night. If someone snapped a shot of it, then used it in an ad, but I also snapped the same pic, I'm plagiarizing? If I snapped the pic & painted a pic from that, I'm plagiarizing? I mean, come on, do you remember all the ads that have been shot down thru the years? I'm sure they've all repeated more than once.

It is not Greek Tragedy.
Stupid, yes because she really should have known better.
Related to the issue of fan downloads? No way.
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