There are many themes in Japanese Man, from science fiction to youth to reasoning. In recent years, the sun is more popular in Europe and America, bookstores often appear in short supply. Why is everyone suddenly so crazy about the sun?
| Sales are climbing.| During lunch break, I went to the bookstore to pick out gifts for my daughter, who was going to celebrate her 12th birthday in a few days. I couldn’t tell what she liked to read, so I asked the twentysomething clerk to recommend it. She took me to the sun zone. “Sunman is very cool. Read it from right to left. Your daughter will definitely like it.” She told me,”Furumi with Communication Disorder,” about a high school student with social phobias, should be to her liking. Or a dark fantasy comic called Tokyo Ghoul, which teenagers love to read these days.” The bookstore has four shelves dedicated to the sun, a wide variety of dazzling. I also found that the first volume of each comic book is basically gone. The clerk said that these cartoons were too popular. The first volume was on sale and would be bought in a few days.
As early as decades ago, Japanese sales in Japan were very impressive. In the past five years, Japanese Man has gone abroad and achieved good sales internationally. Take the UK, for example: in 2012, 434633 copies were sold in the UK, worth £ 3.17 million; in 2019, the two figures rose to 983922 copies and £ 9.1 million; by 2022, 1.8 million copies were sold, almost double the total sales in 2019.
Sales in the United States are equally shocking: 9.68 million copies were sold in the United States in 2020; in 2021, sales surged 160% from the previous year to 25.2 million copies. At the same time, Riman is also the category with the highest growth rate in the US book market in 2021. A spokesman for Biri Media, the publisher of the English-language edition, said the past 18 months have seen a phenomenal increase in sales across the English-speaking world, from Canada to Australia to new Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom.
“It all starts with the first lockdown after the outbreak, during which time our online store’s daily sales tripled.” Bea Carvalho, a clerk at Waterstone, said: “The lockdown is over, the bookstore is open again, and the popularity of Japanese novels continues offline. There is too much demand.”
The English version of Japanese manga is generally sold in the form of a separate issue, which is different from the Japanese weekly serial of multiple manga. During the epidemic period, the daily supply of goods was tight, and the printing factory could not start to alleviate the situation of short supply. “There are a lot more people interested in Japanese comics, but the inventory is quite tight. This contradiction has further stimulated everyone’s interest in Japanese comics.” said Stephen Holland, owner of 45 Pages, a Nottingham comic book store. The same is true in the United States during that time, and there is even a saying that “there will be a big shortage in 2021.” “The second month after the lockdown, the set was sold out.” said Kevin Hamrick, an executive at BeechMedia.
The origins of the art form can be traced back to the late 19th century, when artists created a wide variety of characters and worldviews. In the 1980s and 1990s, Riman ushered in its golden age. “King of Navigation” comic book began to be serialized in 1997, and the cumulative sales worldwide have exceeded 500 million. After eating the rubber fruit, Luffy, the protagonist of this cartoon, can stretch freely like rubber. The cartoon tells the story of his voyage to find a great treasure. The movie “Voyager King: Redhead Singer” broke Japan’s annual box office record, and if you add overseas box office, the amount will be even more amazing.
| Why is the sun so hot?| Japanese language has been on the English market since the 1970s, but in recent years it has grown at a much slower pace than in the past. There are many factors behind this change. One is that streaming media platforms have introduced many anime adaptations. Teenagers watched Tokyo Ghouls, Attacking Giants, My Hero Academy, Ghost Blade and other animations at home. They soon discovered that most of these animations were adapted from Japanese cartoons.
“In recent years, the sales volume of the electronic version of Japanese Man has also increased quite a bit.” “However, the electronic version cannot be compared with the paper version after all. Readers want the paper version most. This kind of physical book has collection value. After they buy the book, they will post it on social media,” said Hamrick of Biri Media.
Taboo Planet, which used to specialize in sci-fi and fantasy comics, has also attracted more customers because of the popularity of comics. “Customers are more diverse than they used to be,” said Jamie Beechen, a bookstore buyer.”A few years ago it was mostly 20-to 40-year-olds, but now you’re going to meet a lot of students in the store.” He continued: “Japanese comics are much cheaper than traditional American comics. They are printed in black and white on cheap paper, which means you can buy more pages for less money. Even if they are students, they can still buy a lot of Japanese novels with pocket money.”
Nia Everton, 17, of Stockport, Greater Manchester, first bought the comic book after watching the animated version of The Striking Giants. “It was a hit at the time, and it was all over social media.” “The story line is very interesting and the behind-the-scenes stories of each character are quite fascinating,” she says. Secondly, the style of this anime is completely different from the other animes. It looks very fresh.” Evington was currently chasing the animated version of “Return of Curse”, and he had not seen the comic version yet. “I didn’t want to be spoilt because the comic book version was moving faster than the animated version,” she said.
The subject matter of Japanese comics can be called all-encompassing: classic superhero stories such as My Hero Academy; fantasy adventure stories such as Curse Return; hot-blooded action stories such as Chainsaw Man; literary stories such as Ping Pong; and youth love stories aimed at school girls. “There are a lot of genres that you can’t find anywhere else,” says Bookstore buyer Beechen.”There are also themes that are unique to Japanese comics, such as alien worlds, which generally tell stories about the adventures of the protagonist in fantasy worlds or computer games.”
Saito Yu, deputy editor-in-chief of the comic magazine “Youth Jump,” said that the diversity of themes contributed significantly to the popularity of Japanese manga. He said: “We have countless themes, people of all ages can find the right one for themselves, this other media can not provide, readers can always find resonance in the Japanese man.” And I think that’s why it crosses borders and wins readers around the world.”
American sci-fi and fantasy comic book publishing giant imitated Japanese comics and launched its own version of black and white comics. Titan Comics initially created Peter Pan, based on Astro Boy, and later released Sherlock Holmes comic book and Dragon Son (a story of a gangster woman) by artist Yoshimizu, which all received good market response.
“Walking into the world of Japanese comics is like opening up Aladdin’s treasure trove,” said Andrew Sumner, an executive at Titan Comics. “It contains an incredibly vast world that you can explore, share with friends, and recommend to your friends. “He believes that the popularity of Japanese comics in the West has a lot to do with the preferences of young people. This generation is tired of American superhero comics and wants to read something new. The plots and drawings of Japanese comics are all done by cartoonists themselves. “Unlike the mainstream American comics represented by Marvel, it follows Another set of rules”.
“I’m a die-hard Batman fan, but I have to admit that Batman is the property of a company, and there are many different versions of Batman on the market,” Sumner said. “But Japanese comics are different. From volume to volume, the creative team behind them has not changed. They are gradually digging into an idea or going deeper into a world. Under normal circumstances, they will not hand over their works to other teams for ghostwriting. . For well-known Western comics, the creative model of Japanese comics cannot be copied.” This is also the reason why Ji Shui, the author of “Ryuko”, chose Japanese comics as an art form. He said: “What I want to do most is to make movies, but this requires a lot of money and a large number of people. Japanese comics are different, one person can draw them.”
| From niche hobby to mainstream culture |
In 2008, Publishers in the Western world once vigorously introduced Japanese comics, and it didn’t take long before a large number of “second-rate comics” suddenly flooded into the market. Hamrick of Bi Sun Media said: “As long as it is Japanese comics, regardless of quality, they will be sold, and the market will soon be saturated.” After that, the economic crisis came, and Borders, an American bookstore chain with a large amount of Japanese comics business, It failed to survive and closed down, and the Japanese manga craze also receded. Nowadays, publishers will be much more cautious when selecting Japanese comics, only those that are suitable will be translated, and bookstores will be more careful when purchasing. Hamrick said: “Many cultural things cannot be translated. The same Japanese comic may work in Japan, but it may not be adaptable to the English-speaking world.”
Hamrick said, 2021 The year was a turning point. In this year, “Japanese comics changed from a niche hobby to a mainstream culture.” He recalled: “When I was a kid, I always heard adults say, ‘Don’t read comics.’ Parents, educators, and librarians all looked down on comics. At that time, comics had not been adapted into animations or theatrical movies.” This attitude is consistent with The Japanese and the French are completely different – they have long regarded comics as a serious literary form. “However, my generation has now grown up and has children of our own. We grew up reading comics, so we don’t think it’s a big deal if our children read comics,” Hamrick added.
The sales of comics have been rising in recent years, and bookstore owner Holland has been waiting for this day for more than 20 years. “When our bookstore opened 28 years ago, I predicted that such a day would come,” he said. “At that time, comics were not on the market, but now, there are so many people reading comics, and it is normal for everyone to talk about comics. ”
I finally picked out a book called “The Promised Neverland” for my daughter. This Japanese comic revolves around a group of children in an orphanage. By chance, these children discovered the secret hidden behind the orphanage. I only bought the first volume, luckily, there are 20 more volumes waiting for us.