- 14 Mar 2002
Manga influence pervades Europe, North America
Teenagers these days dream about visiting Shibuya's 109 fashion center or Shinjuku's My City shopping building, while the game of go is increasingly popular among young people. The country of these phenomena is not Japan, though, but France, where the influence of translated Japanese manga and anime (animated films and TV programs) is having a large impact on the younger generation. And with this huge popularity seemingly still growing, it seems that manga should no longer be labeled a subculture. Indeed, this storytelling mode of visual expression, with its drawings and dialogue balloons, deserves international mainstream status. But how has this rise in popularity come about? "In the manga City Hunter, for instance, My City frequently appears in the background, that's how My City has been input into the memory of readers," said Takanori Uno, a Tokyo-based staffer for the French publisher Tonkam, which specializes in Japanese graphic novels. "Teenage readers want to enjoy the same environment their Japanese counterparts enjoy. So, Shibuya comes to the top of their wish-list for a visit, without their knowing what the place really is. Anything they see in manga is cool to them." [...] Meanwhile, in Germany, a monthly manga targeting girls, Daisuki, was launched in January. In 2001, publisher Carlsen Comics started publication of the monthly Banzai, based on Shonen Jump, published by Shueisha and the most popular weekly manga in Japan. Banzai enjoys a circulation of about 130,000 copies. Moreover, in the United States, Viz Comics started its English version of Shonen Jump in November with 250,000 copies. It now prints 300,000.