Top Publishers Share Insights on the Art of Adapting Manga for American Readers

Manga in America: How English Editions are Born

Wednesday, May 17, 2017, 6:30 pm, at Japan Society

New York, NY – The transformation of manga from the original Japanese to an English edition is an undertaking that goes far beyond translation alone. When adapting manga, translators and editors have to navigate cultural references, puns, sound effects, spacing issues, and many other challenges, making the process a true art form.

In Manga in America: How English Editions are Born, editors from top manga publishers share insights into the creative process of localizing Japanese content for the American reader, touching on a wide variety of manga genres including shonen, shojo, josei, and seinen. Taking place Wednesday, May 17, 6:30 pm, at Japan Society, panelists Tania Biswas, editor at Yen Press (Black Butler, Akame ga Kill!), and Ben Applegate, Director of Publishing at Penguin Random House for Kodansha Comics (The Ghost in the Shell, Sailor Moon) will examine the journey of manga from selection and acquisition to translation and lettering.

In addition, the event includes a live demonstration of the translation, editing, and lettering process by Deron Bennett, letterer at AndWorld Design, and Ajani Oloye, manga editor and translator at Penguin Random House for Kodansha Comics. Moderated by literary translator, editor and publishing consultant Allison Markin Powell, the talk and demonstration are followed by a reception.

Ben Applegate is the director of the publishing team at Penguin Random House for the Kodansha Comics manga imprint. He is also a manga and comics editor and translator.

Eisner Award-nominated letterer Deron Bennett knew early on that he wanted to work in comics. After receiving his B.F.A. from SCAD in 2002, Deron moved out to Los Angeles to pursue his career in sequential art. He quickly became a letterer and production artist with TOKYOPOP, but soon found himself returning to his hometown in New Jersey to raise a family. Since then, Deron has been providing lettering services for various comic book companies. His body of work includes Taiyo Matsumoto's Sunny, Attack on Titan Junior High, Cyborg 009, and Fairy Tail. More at

Ajani Oloye is an editor at Penguin Random House. For Kodansha Comics, he has edited titles such as Junji Ito's Cat Diary, The Black Museum: The Ghost and the Lady, Kiss Him, Not Me, and Akira. He is also a freelance translator working across a wide range of fields, including technical translation and manga, as well as a comics artist and illustrator.

Allison Markin Powell is a literary translator, editor, and publishing consultant. Her translations include Schoolgirl by Osamu Dazai, as well as the manga version of his novel, No Longer Human; The Nakano Thrift Shop by Hiromi Kawakami (forthcoming); and three novels by Fuminori Nakamura. Her translation of Kawakami's The Briefcase was shortlisted for the 2012 Man Asian Literary Prize and the UK edition (Strange Weather in Tokyo) was shortlisted for the 2014 Independent Foreign Fiction prize. She maintains the database Japanese Literature in English.

Japan Society's Talks+ Program examines vital issues and themes in modern Japanese art, culture and design. Programming is designed to inform and to provide a gateway through which Americans can appreciate the powerful global influence of Japan's culture and its many trend-defining artisans. Programs bring together experts and practitioners for provocative discussions on diverse topics including aesthetics, consumer culture and cuisine. More at

Founded in 1907, Japan Society is a multidisciplinary hub for global leaders, artists, scholars, educators, and English and Japanese-speaking audiences. At the Society, more than 100 events each year feature sophisticated, topically relevant presentations of Japanese art and culture and open, critical dialogue on issues of vital importance to the U.S., Japan and East Asia. An American nonprofit, nonpolitical organization, the Society cultivates a constructive, resonant and dynamic relationship between the people of the U.S. and Japan.

Manga in America: How English Editions are Born takes place Wednesday, May 17, at 6:30 pm. Japan Society is located at 333 East 47th Street between First and Second avenues (accessible by the 4/5/6 and 7 subway at Grand Central or the E and M subway at Lexington Avenue). Tickets are $13/$10 Japan Society members, seniors and students, and may be purchased in person at Japan Society, by visiting, or by calling the box office at 212-715-1258. For more information, call 212-832-1155 or visit the website.

Talks+ Programs at Japan Society are generously sponsored by Delta Air Lines and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG). Additional support is provided by Chris A. Wachenheim, the Sandy Heck Lecture Fund, and Hiroko Onoyama.

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