entertainment

Manga creators association says pirate sites could bring about collapse of Japanese culture

21 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

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

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

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© SoraNews24

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

21 Comments
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I suspect many international readers would not have resorted to pirated sites if the mangas are translated and made available for sales outside of Japan. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Personally, i have bought some through online vendors like amazon, kobo...etc, but i feel that the translation speed for these manga is really slow.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Well, it will be the Japanese people themselves who will be responsible for the "collapse of Japanese culture", if that really happens.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Well, it will be the Japanese people themselves who will be responsible for the "collapse of Japanese culture", if that really happens.

Agree

4 ( +5 / -1 )

If your culture can be brought down by a torrent, you're culture probably isn't worth saving. Thankfully these nerds are overreacting.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Lol. Just another textbook example of how behind the times they are and so unaware of the world outside their tiny box. First off the manga industry has been insanely stubborn to jump on the digital bandwagon. On one had they think digital manga will kill the manga industry, yet much (if not most?) of pirated manga is released digitally. How dense do you be to not see the irony in that.

2nd, and I am not defending pirating or advocating it at all, but it has barely made a dent in any media industry. In gaming they found it actually increased sales because it acted as a demo for many gamers or spread word of mouth to people willing to buy. It was hurting music and movies, what did they do? They changed! They adapted. Music streaming. Services like Bandcamp. Netflix, etc.

If people truly belive that "if the current situation continues, it will grind down the resilience of various aspects of Japanese culture, and ultimately they will perish." Then all that says is you have ZERO faiths in your country or culture's ability adapt and you are too stubborn and cowardly to try anything yourself.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I keep saying that in regards to computer games. And even if it was true, piracy does posses much more threat to the gaming industry, than to Japanese culture.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Slight over reaction there methinks... yes, piracy is a scourge on visual arts, but I can't see it bring down a culture. A wee bit over the top.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

As we all know, there was no culture at all until lawyers invented IP rights. No music, no art, no performance arts at all until the 2nd half of the 20th century.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

As we all know, there was no culture at all until lawyers invented IP rights. No music, no art, no performance arts at all until the 2nd half of the 20th century.

Japan has had copyright laws since the 19th century.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Never having used a pirate site, I have to admit I rarely appreciate manga. I bought one book (first in a long series said to be popular by the Japan Times) and read part of it (taking time to research all sorts of words not familiar to me as a bookish reader), but I got bogged down. The plot was centered on a very immature stage of searching for a partner in life (and it happens that during that stage my life, I had foreclosed the option of marrying as well as of adultery as far as I was concerned). I bought some e-comics at one bargain, but to read them without being able to write vocabulary in the margins etc. has proved uninteresting so far.

I will try again--realizing how valuable they are as properly paid for!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan has had copyright laws since the 19th century.

You got me there. That just invalidates my whole point.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Like Japanese music CDs, anime DVDs are very expensive. 5,000 yen is a lot to pay for something that has been shown on terrestrial TV twice and then on BS Fuji and/or Animax two or three times.

The huge success of "Your Name" suggests the anime industry is not in crisis.

As for manga, magazines, books, and newspapers have all seen massively falling sales in recent years. On top of the digital revolution, Japan now has half as many children as in the past. You can't expect sales to keep up in this situation.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

"As for manga, magazines, books, and newspapers have all seen massively falling sales in recent years. On top of the digital revolution, Japan now has half as many children as in the past. You can't expect sales to keep up in this situation."

Another great point. Manga is at an insane saturation point. Like every industry in Japan we have seen most of the giants trim the branches a little. Sony, Panasonic, Mitsubishi, and Suzuki are just a few handful of firms that have sold off or closed parts of their business. Maybe it's time for manga to adjust it expectations. Japan is number #3 GPD now, not 2 anymore. Population is shrinking. Manga companies don't seem to want to increase sales outside Japan. They don't even seem to realize this is an "outside Japan" (which is fine, but don't whine about shrinking sales in a shrinking sales market and throw your hands up and say nothing can be done). Every kid aspires to be a manga king, yet 98% end up working 80 hour weeks and making 2.5 million yen a year.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

As we all know, there was no culture at all until lawyers invented IP rights. No music, no art, no performance arts at all until the 2nd half of the 20th century.

There also wasn't the internet.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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.

That's odd, we've always been told that immigration would wipe out Japanese culture.

Perhaps they can make a new manga called 'Hyperbolic Drama Queen'.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This is definitely an overreaction. It feels like they're trying to demonize pirate sites and those that use them. I'm not going to defend these sites, but I'm not going to ostracize people who use them either. It's their choice. I choose not to download manga/anime because I don't feel comfortable doing that. I'll watch streams, but that's as far as I'll take it. Since streaming is done online and I therefore don't possess the show, it cannot be considered stealing. For me, it's similar to what Stepoutsidethebox said, that it's a demo. By watching streams, I can decide what anime I want to buy, so that I avoid buying shows I don't like.

I buy Manga from Amazon, and I have to agree very strongly with Calvin Loh Kok Howe's point about the speed of translations. I'm reading Akame ga Kill at the moment. Even the anime was released back in 2014, but the manga is still being translated. Volume 14 comes out in April, and I believe Volume 15 (the final one) comes out in October. This, surely, isn't going to help matters. If manga could be translated much much faster, it might reduce pirating a little. Maybe not much, but a little is better than not at all.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If manga is still as I was accustomed to seeing it a generation ago over the shoulders of high school kids on the densha, I can't imagine a better "collapse" of J culture. At least in those days it was all bullies and blood splashed across the page. Has this changed? It would certainly fit with the Abe style of fear politics we see daily such as simple people being made terrified of North Korea's nonexistent nuclear threat so that the American's push to use Nihon as their sacrificial tool is made more likely. NK is made the bully and it becomes Japan's job to defeat such a threat. I suppose instilling such fear in Nihonjin is easier given what Nihon has done to Chosun in the past. R-e-v-e-n-g-e... Anything, even manga, which stirs the violence now latent but, for 1500 years dominant, in Japanese culture is a crime against the Nihonjin and a crime against Humanity. If manga still do this, where would its loss be?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Well said Calvin. The international distribution channels are sparse compared to amount of product.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Sorry, but if these guys are going the way of the dinosaur, it's their own fault. A LOT of people who pirate, either in Japanese stuff going their way, or foreign stuff coming in, is because of complete lack of access and availability. Price is also a factor, but less so. Sometimes pirated is the only thing available. They want to stay relevant, they need to get more translations available and send them out (at reasonable prices).

1 ( +2 / -1 )

WEB ARTIST

It is a tough job. It impacts the liberty of every one on the planet. For now, japan manga have not the structure to compensate the loss for the readers. They won't buy because you can't buy what does not exist in your country. This is the problem than film, and according to the preexisting world law, you need to offer a low cost alternative. But let's look at the problem.

-

First, manga is expansive. So, there is not as much money to make with the end of the free web exchange, that they could believed.

Second, most of them, survived or are known because of free web exchange. Manga was democratize in the world because of the web. Without the web, the number of mangaka will have to drop.

Third, the web world have helpt manga by giving them knowledge and inspiration.

Four, the web exchange is far less than before on manga. I think kids just prefer gaming.

Five, if you look at Netflix "more is less" like "less quality". Netflix want the number for a cheap price. It pull every one toward the bottom of art to make more money. I call it "mass survival strategy".

Six, "japan is cool" because it is known by the manga world. State will not support manga. Japan need to stay cool. They are insuring minimum income for everyone by keeping a good economy.

Seven, China and Corea will stay free on open web. So your competition will have free publicity that you don't. You will just loose all your consumer in one move.

In conclusion, mangaka should think really hard on the web future they want to give to their art. Have they really lost income or quality work ? or have they lost the "income to be riche" that they will not have because of the only plateform that make money on the web ?

My advice is too work on a world wide web plateform where you offer services and a library where foreigners can read manga and watch anime at the same time than Japan with a small monthly payment by paypal.

But, this is not easy technology to build and protect. Before having this technology rolling avoid bashing your readers. They will just read Corea instead like they already did with drama.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I haven't read a comic book since I was a Kid.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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