Onto to the manga rambling! I’ve been having some evolving thoughts as I’ve been exposed to more kinds of manga and reading bits and pieces about manga licensing in the US. I’ve always been on the fence about scanlation, but I think I’m moving off that fence. In face of the knowledge that all but a very few series and oneshots are ever going to get licensed in the US, I now believe scanlation has its place in spreading manga love. I still have problems with money not going back the original artist directly by way of scanlation. And I still hate manga aggregators and people who post Japanese raws to the public Internet. They are horrible parasites that are killing the manga industry and they need to go away. But let’s not beat that dead horse further.
I’ve come to the conclusion that as a customer, I should support what I want more of with my dollars. Supporting US publishers for stuff I don’t want out of obligation or “pity purchases” does not get me what I want. Instead the US publishers take it as that content is what readers want more of and then publish more of that. Since the kind of shoujo and josei I like are considered poison to the US publishers, it makes no sense for me to put my money into the seinen, shounen, moe, high school love train, and low quality smutty shat that the US publishers are offering in order to get what I want. Rather my money would be best spent on encouraging the Japanese publishers. And so this is what I’ve decided to do. I am now almost exclusively buying Japanese manga. I’m still buying Skip Beat and checking out some of the special hardcover editions of classic manga, but otherwise there is no other content I’m interested in.
I know the vast majority of you can’t read Japanese. As part of getting off the scanlation fence, I’d now say go read scanlations if you have no access to the a licensed version in your language. HOWEVER if you read the scanlation, please let the Japanese publishers know that you want more content that you like by purchasing as many of the Japanese manga that you can afford. It’s okay if you can only afford one volume of your favorite series. Just make the gesture and own a piece your favorite series. Let the publisher and the artist know that you like what they are doing and you want more. I also think that if you want localized manga anywhere near the extent of a manga aggregator, it’s gonna come from Japan and not a US publisher.
Buying Japanese manga is easier than ever, and now with the weakened yen, Japanese manga is now cheaper than localized manga, and this includes shipping! Here are some websites to purchase Japanese manga:
- Amazon JP manga (shoujo/ josei) /magazines (shoujo / josei)
- Honto (雑誌 = magazine , コミック = comics (manga) (shoujo / josei)
- Books Kinokuniya
- Sanseido Books — if you don’t have a local store, call up the nearest one to order books and arrange the magazine subscriptions.
- Akadot/Bookoff (used books) — Do not browse this website at work. Hentai is front and center on the home page and despite what the page says, you can’t turn it off.
I use Amazon JP and YesAsia for online purchases, and I go to Sanseido, Kinokuniya, and Bookoff physical bookstores.
Anyhow those are my current thoughts on manga. Go out and enjoy scanlations, but let the US and Japanese publishers know what you want more of by voting with your dollars. (In other words “Princess Jellyfish” lovers, go read the scanlations without guilt, but at least buy a few volumes of the Japanese manga to let the Japanese publisher know that you want it and to let the mangaka know that her work is loved.)