Monday, November 19, 2007

Manga Symbiosis

Japan, Ink: Inside the Manga Industrial Complex

The cover story in the current WIRED magazine discusses the manga business in Japan, which writer Daniel Pink deems (perhaps hyperbolically) the hub of all popular culture in the land of the rising sun.

Pink's focus is on the symbiotic relationship between professional manga publishing and doujinshi -- the limited-press fan-published comics that draw hundreds of thousands of buyers to festivals like Comiket, and that violate creators' and publishers' intellectual property rights outrageously. How do publishing companies that fanatically protect their copyrights coexist with store chains like Mandarake and K-Books that buy, sell and trade doujinshi? As Pink describes it, the secret is an unwritten agreement between the fan publishers and the professionals -- and a mutually-beneficial business model that, he suggests, Western media might do well to emulate.

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