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Manga Popularity in International Market

July17/ 2016

Manga comics are renowned throughout the world for their diverse range of cartoon series. It is an illustrative art form that started to flourish in Japan in 1875. In Japan, manga comics play an important role in people’s everyday lives. Manga publications is one of the biggest publishing and literary industry in Japan that collects huge revenue every year. Back in 1950s, when population was not that high in Japan as it is now, it was able to gather biggest, record breaking reader-ship. In 2009, different publishing house combined, did a business of $5.5 million alone. It is a huge market in overseas countries as well. In Canada and US, manga market was worth $175 million in 2008. Famous publishers based in Japan include Kodansha, Shogakukan, Shueisha and Square Enix. It is a rare phenomenon for another a cultural art form to earn so much popularity and fan following in foreign countries. Chief reason behind manga popularity is that they are systematically serialized in different manga magazines. They are compiled in paperback books when the series are finished. Japanese manga industry and cultural pattern of visual communication has been very suitable for manga to flourish with the speed of fire.

All time cherished Manga series have become icons in cartoon world as well. Many such manga series were designed to target children. All time famous Doraemon, Dragon Ball and Black Jack were originally manga series before they were adapted into cartoon version.

Manga comics are copied in various countries near to Japanese culture like Hong Kong, South Korea, China and Taiwan. ‘Bande dessinee’ comics in France are largely influenced by ‘la nouvelle manga’ and ‘manfra’ (manga in French).

These days, almost every manga series is translated in English language. In United States, translation of manga series is itself a huge industry. Manga stories are illustrated in right to left and top to bottom flow mostly. While printing translation, the format of manga is mostly changed to make it left to right, which is “Western” style of English language. Commonly it is known as “flipping” of format.

Many critics think that flipping of format changes the original aesthetics of manga creator. Still, it is the general practice, because otherwise it is difficult to read against the homogeneous flow of reading. As the Japanese language flows from right to left, many manga illustrations show a person writing with right hand. When a manga series is flipped for translation, writing person becomes left handed, so as to adjust English text flowing from left to right.

Flipping of manga illustrations may cause oddities with layouts and asymmetrical objects as well, which are catered naturally to adjust reading flow. Mostly, flipping of Manga magazines are done widely in Europe and United states. Institutes like Broadcase Anime in Italy and France bring huge revenue to European market. Japonisme, a famous French art form, had been directly borrowed and influenced by Japanese manga illustrations. Famous publishers in UK are Titan books and Gollancz.

Japan manga industry has won numerous awards. Moreover, sine 2007, Japan has introduced its own award called International Manga Award. It is awarded each year to best-selling and most famous manga writer.

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