Shueisha Says Female Jump Editors Need to 'Understand the Hearts of Boys'
posted on by Kim Morrissy
Last week, an anonymous Twitter user sparked a conversation when they spoke of Shueisha visiting their university. When asked "Can women become editors at Shonen Jump?," Shueisha HR allegedly said, "It's not without precedent, but you have to understand the hearts of boys."
Huffington Post Japan reached out to Shueisha and confirmed that this was the company's stance towards hiring female editors. Shueisha's full statement to the Huffington Post is translated below:
Our company conducts seminars at a number of university campuses. Regarding the matter of female editors at Jump, our statement is as follows:
"It is not unprecedented. There are women at Jump+, and publications like Young Jump have had female editors in the past. Women's fashion magazines need people who understand women's fashion regardless of gender, so for a shonen manga it's important to understand the hearts of boys."
Also, new recruits to the company are not selected based on the department. We hire suitable people for the company as a whole, and after they have joined, they are assigned to a place that suits them. Regarding the statement made above, we cannot answer any questions regarding the date or the name of the university it took place in.
Huffington Post notes that Shueisha did not actually make it clear whether women can become editors at Weekly Shonen Jump.
Editors at Weekly Shonen Jump have referred to the lack of female editors before. In a radio interview posted in October 2018 to celebrate the magazine's 50th anniversary, current deputy editor in chief Kōhei Ōnishi stated frankly that Weekly Shonen Jump has never had a single female editor in its entire history. He also described the workplace as like a "a boys-only high school." (Via @iceemperor_mh and @YonkouProd)
In the non-fictional manga series The Right Way to Make Jump! by Takeshi Sakurai, first published on Jump+ in 2014, Weekly Shonen Jump deputy editor in chief Sōichi Aida said that there were no female editors working at the magazine. He explained that "Jump's main target is boys about middle school age." When asked if he would hire female editors if he were editor in chief, he stated, "No, I'd make the department even more manly!" (Via @kimberlypham__)
The lack of female editors has raised concerns about gender discrimination at Shueisha. In a series of now deleted tweets, manga artist Kaori Ishikawa, who draws ROCKING YOU!!! for Jump+, commented on the issue. She wrote: "It's not a matter of 'women should work harder in order to get hired.' It's a matter of people not getting into the Jump editorial team on the basis of being a woman, and I don't understand the reasoning for that." She also wrote: "I'm going to keep drawing fake shonen manga for the rest of my life, so if you like fake shonen manga, please read it."
One tweet, which is still public at the time of this article's posting, reads: "It's painful to be told that it's a lie, but I hope that one day we'll be able to talk about it normally. I'm going to keep drawing manga, so please read it if you like."
The incident has prompted Twitter users to share examples of prominent female shonen manga creators who "understand the hearts of boys." A viral tweet highlighting Fullmetal Alchemist and Silver Spoon creator Hiromu Arakawa has accumulated more than 18,000 retweets.
Anime News Network reached out to Shueisha for further comment on the issue. When asked why Weekly Shonen Jump is different from shojo magazines, which frequently employ male editors despite a target audience of young girls, a spokesman said: "Unfortunately, at this current point in time, we can't comment on these questions beyond what Shueisha's public relations team has already stated. We will however be conscious of these questions and the fact that many fans worldwide are thinking deeply about the situation."
Weekly Shonen Jump first launched in 1968. The magazine celebrated its 50th anniversary last year. It has an average weekly circulation of 1.7 million copies, making it the world's best-selling manga magazine.