Shogakukan Inc, in a rare move as a Japanese publisher, has started to allow people in the United States to read English versions of ''manga'' comic stories on the Internet at the same time as it publishes the original printed versions in Japan. The quick distribution of the ''authorized'' English version is aimed at discouraging wrongdoers from making illegal replicas of Japanese comics mainly in the United States and Europe, the publishing house said.
Bootleg versions of Japanese manga comics have often been seen published online just several days after the authentic vernacular version has come out in Japan, a practice which has been a source of headaches for manga publishers of Japan.
Shogakukan has shown ''Rin-ne'' by popular manga artist Rumiko Takahashi on a website of VIZ Media LLC based in San Francisco.
Registered viewers can read Takahashi's work in English on VIZ Media's website free of charge, Shogakukan said. But they can browse the website only in the United States and the online manga cannot be printed.
Shogakukan, another Japanese publisher Shueisha Inc and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions Co set up VIZ Media to publish Japanese manga books overseas in English translations.© Japan Today