|The story below is originally published on Mainichi Daily News by Mainichi Shinbun (http://mdn.mainichi.jp).|
|They admitted inventing its kinky features, or rather deliberately mistranslating them from the original gossip magazine.|
|In fact, this is far from the general Japanese' behavior or sense of worth.|
American teens mop up raunchy Japanese manga 2005,10,19
Shukan Shincho 10/20 By Ryann Connell
Americans can't get enough of shojo manga, the racy comic books for elementary schoolgirls that have recently been filled with stories with such themes as homosexual love and relations between incestuous lesbian sisters, according to Shukan Shincho (10/20).
"We now devote one third of our entire floor space to comics," Shingo Nozaki, an employee at Japanese bookseller Kinokuniya's suburban New York outlet tells Shukan Shincho (10/20).
About 80 percent of the store's customers are American teen girls.
The shojo manga they're buying up are, like the Japanese versions, read from right to left, but the stories are written in English.
"Kids from junior high and high school flood into the store as soon as school finishes," Nozaki tells Shukan Shincho. "
Over the past few years, the U.S. comic market has witnessed explosive growth, swelling to about 5 billion yen if merchandising and license fees are included.
A vast majority of the growth has come from sales of Japanese shojo manga -- not the lucid type frequently sold here, but the stories about detectives and heroic types les likely to rile the Puritanical streak of most Americans.
Americans' love affair with shojo manga is proving a boon for Japanese publishers.
Shojo Beat, which first went on sale in June, is run by Viz Media, a wholly owned subsidiary of Shogakkan and Shueisha, two of Japan's biggest publishers.
Kodansha, the biggest printing house of them all in Japan, sells its works exclusively to Tokyo Pop, an American-owned firm.
Local opinion seems to be that if the big shots of Japanese publishing are getting in on the act, the American shojo manga market must be hot.
In Japan, shojo manga are probably most famous, or infamous as the case may be, for their stories packed with shocks.
Graphic sexuality is common and appears to be the type of Japanese culture now popular in the U.S.
"There's a rating system and if something is restricted, it's written on the cover of the book, along with the recommended age for readers. Most of the graphic sex scenes and sex talk have been cut from the comics," Kinokuniya's Nozaki says, adding that there are still some cultural differences that exist.
"We seal up our books, but at places where you can read them freely, some parents cause a bit of a stir. Some parents complained because kids could buy unsealed versions of a Doraemon (read mainly by pre-school children in Japan) comic that featured the character Shizuka taking a bath. That became a bit of a problem."
Currently selling well in the U.S. is Fruits Basket, a shojo manga by Natsuki Takaya.
Fortunately, the weekly opines, that's a decent story unlikely to create an unfavorable impression of Japan.
"Our biggest sellers," Nozaki tells Shukan Shincho "are undoubtedly the shojo manga that have the cutest pictures." (By Ryann Connell)
October 19, 2005