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Hokkaido Graduate Students Launch Free Manga Paper

posted on by Egan Loo
Comic Rag plans to print quarterly issues, post monthly manga online

A group of graduate students at Hokkaido University have launched Comic Rag, the first free manga publication in the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. The Comic Rag Project plans to print quarterly issues and post manga on the web every month to foster amateur manga talent. The 5,000-copy run of the first issue shipped on April 10 with six stories by local artists, and the staffers distributed the manga within Hokkaido University and at the main Japan Railways station of Hokkaido's capital, Sapporo. Five people edit the magazine, including 24-year-old Editor-in-Chief Yuki Hayashi and 24-year-old Assistant Editor Yūta Mizuno. (Both Hayashi and Mizuno are second-year students from the university's Graduate School of International Media, Communications, and Tourism Studies.)

Hokkaido has a history of producing manga artists — both Monkey Punch (Lupin III) and Yumiko Igarashi (Candy Candy) hail from this island. Unlike other free newspapers in the area, Comic Rag attracts readers with just manga instead of coupons for local restaurants or job postings. The startup company Digima produced the first free weekly manga magazine early last year in Tokyo, but ceased operations in December.

Other universities in Japan that encourage manga and anime include Toyama University (home of manga-drawing anthropologist Daisaku Tsuru of nacuN), Tokyo Keizai University (where Ghost in the Shell director Mamoru Oshii is taking a guest faculty post), Kyoto Seika University (where To Terra creator Keiko Takemiya, Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino, and Metropolis director Rintaro have taught), and Tokyo National University of Fine Arts (which opened the first anime major in a public university last month).

Source: Mainichi Shimbun

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