MANGA Plus debuted its global platform in 2019, and a recent blog post from Shueisha editor Yuta Momiyama updated us on what’s going on behind-the-scenes. Momiyama manages both Shonen Jump+ and MANGA Plus.
For starters, he described how it’s characteristic to have the overseas licensing department of a publisher take care of overseas publishing rights with companies in other countries. With MANGA Plus on the other hand, Shueisha itself is involved with the overseas licensing.
He said any manga magazine is all about how to “deliver new and interesting manga to the world.” And he shared that Weekly Shonen Jump is big on reader feedback and polls. And they want reader feedback internationally, and not just from Japan. This information helps them figure out which of their manga series they want made into anime adaptations, so foreign readers may have more pull than they realize.
Momiyama noted that a report from Kodansha says that about one in five manga sales take place outside of Japan now. One example of a manga doing really well outside of Japan, he said, is Kaiju No. 8. In France, the very first volume of the manga has already sold about a quarter million copies.
While overseas sales still account for only about 20% of manga sales, Momiyama talked about how much sales outside of Japan are increasing, and said that in a decade he believes sales will be 50% overseas, and 50% in Japan.
Momiyama has stated that part of the reason for MANGA Plus is to combat piracy, because the digital platform makes manga available right away. Still, translations take time and money, and he remarked that “if we can produce high-quality translations in many different languages, it will be a game-changer all over again.” They already have plans to extend into more languages for fans around the world.
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, and its sequel, Manga Art for Intermediates, with professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.