Whether due to limited financial resources, a lack of an official local release, or simply a ravenous desire to consume as much media as possible, a large chunk of the international anime/manga fan community gets its content through pirate sites. Traditionally, though, Japanese otaku have been more law-abiding, dutifully opening their wallets to purchase the series they’re interested in.
However, with modern technology making it easier than ever before to quickly and casually access illegally copied content online, that pirate mentality is taking root among some Japanese fans as well. It’s gotten to the point where the Japan Cartoonists Association (also known as the Nihon Manga Kyokai) feels it needs to address the issue directly, and this week the organization released the following statement:
Through the development of technology such as PCs and mobile phones, the way in which manga is read has changed dramatically. It has become far easier than ever before for readers to obtain content, and we believe this is a truly wonderful thing.
Not just for manga creators, but for all people who create works of art, our first desire is for people to enjoy reading, watching, or listening to our work. Then, when those works, made with the utmost effort, touch the hearts of the audience, bearing fruit with an emotional response, creators feel a sense of fulfillment, and can put our energy into our next creative endeavor.
However, it is important for creators and the audience to be firmly connected in this loop. Unfortunately, recently we creators are increasingly being forced out of that circle. The fact is their position is being taken by pirate sites that have no connection to the effort that goes into creating those works and covet monetary gain.
In addition to manga, there are many other creative works as well in our world. When you watch or read them, can you spare a moment to ask yourself if the creators are being included in the loop by which you’re obtaining the media?
No matter how hard we work, we creators cannot continue making new works if we aren’t part of that loop.
If the current situation continues, it will grind down the resilience of various aspects of Japanese culture, and ultimately they will perish. That possibility is something that we are extremely worried about.
Some might argue that the Japan Cartoonists Association is trying to make itself sound nobler than it really is by asserting that it’s opposed to pirate sites on the grounds that they lessen the interpersonal connection between creators and fans, thereby sweeping under the rug its anger over potential sales and revenue lost to pirate sites. Still, it’s money that allows professional manga artists to be professionals instead of amateurs, and to devote the time and effort to their craft that goes along with professional status, which makes it hard to blame them for wanting to protect their claim to manga’s monetary cycle as well as its emotional one.
Source: Japan Cartoonists Association
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