Shueisha, Animate, Kodansha, Kadokawa, Shogakukan Launch Joint Venture to Promote Anime, Manga in Asia

posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
New company Japan Manga Alliance will open physical store in Bangkok, Thailand

Shueisha, ANIMATE, Kodansha, Kadokawa, Shogakukan announced at the Japan Publishers Club on Tuesday that they have launched a joint venture, establishing a company named Japan Manga Alliance (JMA). The new company's goal is to protect the copyrights of its founding companies, to establish a location where fans can procure its founding companies' work legally, and to build more fans. It seeks to advertise manga and anime, build fans, curtail piracy, conduct research on foreign markets, and attract inbound tourist traffic to Japan.

Head of Shueisha's comics and contents sales department Nobuo Sumino, Kodansha director Nobuya Minegishi, Animate director Shingo Kunieda, Kadokawa director and Kadokawa Taiwan Corporation head Susumu Tsukamoto, and Shogakukan director Aiga Nobuhiro were present during the announcement. Animate director Shingo Kunieda has been appointed as representative director for JMA.

JMA plans to first establish a local subsidiary in Bangkok, Thailand and open a physical store for manga and anime. JMA plans to open the store sometime in between the end of this year and spring 2016. The company aims for the store to be a place where fans can gather. The company hopes that by offering manga and anime that were not previously available legally in the market, it can curtail piracy. The shop will also stock Japan travel guides to build interest in Japan.

JMA's position also allows it to market its own products, rather than relying on local companies.

The joint venture chose to establish a presence in Thailand first due to there already being a significant publishing and translation presence in the country. The previous market research of Kadokawa, Shogakukan, Shueisha, and Kadokawa found that the anime and manga market's worth in the country amounted to some 5-6.5 billion yen. Knowing that the market for pirated goods is twice the size of the market for official goods, JMA anticipates that the market for official goods can grow to a worth of 15 billion yen in Thailand. In addition, Kunieda offered the opinion that Thailand's liberal regulations and nature as a "tolerant country" will lend boys-love media a high degree of acceptance.

When asked to comment on the high price difference between official goods and pirated goods, Kunieda replied, "The average income in Asian countries is rising, and I'm confident that as middle-income earners grow in number, the preference for legitimate goods will also grow."

JMA currently plans to ascertain the outcome of opening its Bangkok store before committing to any future plans.

Source: Anime! Anime!

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