Otaku USA Magazine
Negima! Creator Says Manga Needs “Freedom of Expression” To Survive


Did you know that Ken Akamatsu, the mangaka behind such hits as Love Hina and Negima!, is sometimes asked to advise the Japanese government on manga-related issues? Just recently he was called before the Diet and talked about how manga can succeed in the next decade.

Akamatsu tweeted what he told the government, and Crunchyroll supplied a translation:

“This month, I was invited to participate in a House of Councillors witness questioning session, but instead, a member of the DIET [Japanese government] asked me, ‘What measures are needed for Japanese manga to survive in the world?’ I replied, ‘First and foremost, freedom of expression. Compared to other countries, Japan’s forte is its freedom of creativity. However, with foreign platforms becoming more and more dominant, I would like to avoid a situation where Japanese works are regulated by foreign standards.’”

As manga sells more globally, there is sometimes pressure to change the artistry to fit better in another culture’s zeitgeist. Akamatsu thinks doing this will hurt manga.

He also suggested it would be good to keep manga manuscripts (where they can also be displayed) at a National Manga Center. He says his talk went over well with the Japanese government.

What do you think would be a good way to help manga succeed in the next decade?

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. Her website is www.danicadavidson.com.