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Manga in Europe: A Short Study of Market and Fandom

  • Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University
Manga in Europe:
A Short Study of
Market and Fandom
Jean-Marie Bouissou, Marco Pellitteri,
and Bernd Dolle-Weinkauff with Ariane Beldi
is chapter is a collective work by the Manga Network, an international study
group comprising academics and PhD students.1 is group was launched in
2006 by Jean-Marie Bouissou, a French Japanologist; Bernd Dolle-Weinkau ,
a German comics specialist; and Marco Pellitteri, an Italian sociologist and
manga specialist, with the help of the Japan Foundation. Since its debut the
Manga Network has held an international conference on manga and Japanese
popular culture in Paris every year.
For this chapter, Bouissou, Dolle-Weinkhau , and Pellitteri have been
joined by Ariane Beldi, a Swiss PhD student at the University of Geneva. Beldi
wrote the “Survey Method” section, while Pellitteri wrote “ e Manga Market
in Europe Today. e four authors then joined hands for “An Analysis of Core
Manga Fandom in France, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland.
e Manga market is thriving: in 2005, Asia (excepting Japan) comprised
42 percent of it, the United States 36 percent, and the rest of the world 22
percent (Japan External Trade Organization, 2005).2 What is not clear, in
these percentages, is the impact of manga according to such variables as
the population’s size and the volume of the actual manga readership basis in
single countries, or levels of income. With more circumstantial data it would
be possible to realize better the impact of manga in each nation,3 especially
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in Europe, where the market comprises many countries, each one with its
own manga culture and history.
Italy is probably the largest manga market in Europe, but o cial sales
gures are not made public. One of the few verifi able facts is that in 2005, 58
percent of the about 2,800 comics titles published were manga and Korean
manhwa (1,624; see Zaccagnino and Contrari 2007, 2).4 e all-time best-
selling manga is the XXXX (Dragon Ball) deluxe edition, with each issue
having sold about 150,000 copies by the end of the 1990s; later best-sellers
Inuyasha (XXXX) and XXXX (One Piece) — sold no more than 75,000 cop-
ies per volume, partly because of a richer general o er of manga titles with a
wider appeal. Ten houses publish manga in Italy: Dinyt, D/Visual, and Shin
Visio n (only manga); Sta r C omic s, Fla shbook , H azard (mai nly man ga); and
Coconino Press, Panini, Kappa, and Play Press (manga among other kinds
of comics). Occasionally also publishers like Einaudi, Mondadori, or Rizzoli,
which normally do not deal with manga, publish some titles.
France used to lag behind Italy: until 2000–2001, the total number of new
manga titles published each year in Italy was fi ve time higher than in France.
But between 2001 and 2005, the o er in France increased by 500 percent.
In 2001, 269 new manga and manhwa titles were published; by 2006, the
eld had expanded considerably: the 1,418 new titles included 1,110 manga,
about 250 manhwa, and titles from China (1), Singapore (6), Taiwan (1), and
India (1). ese manga accounted for 44.4 percent of all newly published
comics.5 is now makes France the second largest European manga market,
one that could plausibly overtake Italy’s soon.
e structure of the French manga publishing business is unique. From
1988 to 2004, no less than thirty-seven publishing houses entered the fi eld;6
20 percent of these either closed down or left the manga business. Most of
them were started by manga fans — among them people who has accumu-
lated business school diplomas and some experience in bookstores and/or
fanzines — whereas traditional publishing houses shunned manga. e most
famous “fi rst generation” manga publishing houses are Glénat, Tonkam,
Delcourt, and Soleil.7 Not surprisingly, perhaps, as soon as manga proved to
be profi table, well-known companies such as Hachette, Dargaud, Casterman,
Flammarion, Le Seuil, and Philippe Picquier entered the market. At the
same time, new, smaller publishers specializing in manga, such as Imho and
Cornelius, continued to appear and claimed their share of the pie.
Today Germany is the third and arguably most interesting European mar-
ket for manga (Dolle-Weinkau 2006). Due to the lack of strong local pro-
duction there, imported Japanese comics account for about 70 percent of all
comics sold. A peculiar feature is that Germany’s manga audience is mostly
female, whereas in other countries readership is more evenly divided between
the sexes. Also, the lack of polemics on manga’s futility or (im)morality has
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allowed an almost undisturbed increase of sales. In ten years (1997–2006),
the total revenue in manga sales rose exponentially from three to seventy mil-
lion euros. e best-sellers are XXXX (Dragon Ball), XXXX (Sailor Moon),
Inuyasha (XXXX), and Meitantei Conan (XXXX). e latter two sold one
million copies each in 2005; however, Dragon Ball beat both with six million
copies between 1997 and 2006, and still does well. Today the main publishers
active on the German market are Carlsen (Germany), Egmont (Denmark),
Panini (Italy) and Tokyopop (headquartered in Hamburg).
In Spain, since the 1990s, the most important manga publishers are Norma
Editorial, Glénat España, Planeta DeAgostini, Mangaline, Ivrea, and Selecta.
At fi rst, they made a strategic marketing mistake this also happened in
Germany and the United States — by reprinting manga in traditional comics
book format and selling it at high prices (Rodriguez de León 2005). e mar-
ket stagnated at a very low level, forcing the publishers to stop publication.
Only since works of manga have been published in lower-priced tankōbon
(XXXX) have it gained commercial success.
Belgium is a multilingual country with a strong local tradition of bande
dessinée as the home of Hergé’s famed Tintin series.8 Although gures are
unavailable, circumstantial evidence — even a simple look at the book-
stores — clearly shows that the manga market has been steadily growing
since the late 1990s. All major manga publishers are distributed in Belgium,
with Glénat, Dargaud, and Casterman enjoying the advantage of having local
roots in Wallonia. e o er is much richer for French-speaking fans than for
Flemish ones, if only because more manga are now translated into French
than any other European language. In a country with a rich comics culture,
most titles aim at general, sophisticated audiences like Tezuka Osamu’s
Buddha, Urasawa Naoki’s XXXX (Monster), and the work of Taniguchi Jirô.
Manga was unintentionally introduced in Russia in the 1980s by some
foreign diplomats who visited Japan and took home copies of some manga
works (Alaniz 2005). e fi rst fans were the children of employees at the dip-
lomatic local o ces. However, the “market” has been limited hand-to-hand
circulation of manga among a small circle of fans for twenty years, until it
exploded at the turn of the twenty-fi rst century, above all thanks to anime
(Japnese animation) on TV and DVD, as elsewhere.9 Similarly to what hap-
pened in the United States (Leonard 2005), manga has grown from the grass
roots, from the fans — at rst, thanks to underground imports and home-
made copies, and then with professional publishers. e very rst manga
o cially published is Ranma ½, by local venture Sakura Press in 2005.
In Poland the comics have been struggling for years, between bad reputa-
tion and censorship. Nowadays, such internationally known Polish artists as
Grzegrorz Rosinski, author of the orgal saga, sell very well.10 At present,
European comics account for 20 percent of the Polish market, but manga,
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which entered it in 2005, has a 70 percent share Pasamonik 2005. is
success owes much to Japanese entrepreneurs Yasuda Shin and Watanuki
Ken’ichirō, who started two Japanese-Polish publishing venturesrespec-
tively Japonica Polonica Fantastica, and Waneko. ey have been joined by
the Danish Egmont, which o ers about one-half of Poland’s manga catalog.
e trend of Japanese publishers entering the market a process begun
in the United States in the 1980s — has also been at work elsewhere in
Europe. For example, Gō Nagai’s Dynamic Planning created Dynamic Italia
and Dynamic Vision in France as direct subsidiaries. However, because of
the vigor of the locally generated manga business, the Japanese publishers
had little success except in Germany, thanks to Tokyopop’s Hamburg head-
quarters and entrepreneurial strength.
Several new trends have emerged in the European market since the turn
of the twenty-fi rst century, and manga has gained acceptance, and even
praise. Since 2003, manga has regularly won prizes at France’s Festival
d’Angoulême;11 for example, Mizuki Shigeru’s NonNonBâ (XXXX) won the
Best Series Award in 2007. And manga genres have evolved. In France, Italy,
and Germany some locally produced material has been dubbed Euromanga
(Egmont 2005; Pellitteri, 2006, 2008). In 2006, Dargaud launched Cosmo, a
line of comics in which authors blend styles from bande dessinée, American
comics, and manga (Pasamonik 2006b). Also, as the rst generation of fans is
now in their thirties,12 manga culture is becoming deeper and more refi ned.
Manga for teenagers still provides the bulk of the best-selling series, but
increasigly it is yielding ground to an ever-expanding range of serious and
sophisticated series for adult, demanding readers who appreciate the deluxe
edition of Tezuka’s Buddha, the austere Au temps de Bôchan (XXXX) by
Tanig uchi , 13 and Hirata Hiroshi’s Satsuma (XXXX), which Mishima Yukio
himself praised to the skies. Although the teenage base remains all-impor-
tant, the European manga fandom now extends to sophisticated adult read-
ers who make it much stronger, as shown by the European survey conducted
in 2006–7 by the Manga Network.
The 2006–7 Survey by the Manga Network
In 2006–7, the four authors of this chapter circulated a fteen-page
questionnaire in France, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland that covered social,
cultural, psychological and economical aspects of manga fans’ practices.14
Although the questionnaire used in each country was the same, the methods
of collection and analysis varied. In France, the questionnaire was circulated
in two ways: rst, in 2006, as a Microsfot Word document to member of
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online manga forums; and second, in July 2007, to people attending the Japan
Expo convention.15 About 370 responses were submitted. In Italy (about 420
surveys) and Germany (about 340), the questionnaire was circulated online.
In Switzerland, the questionnaire was circulated online using SurveyMonkey.
com (; 76 people from the three linguistic
regions completed it.
e main biases of these modes of distributions is obvious. e statistic
samples are neither random nor generally representative, but “auto-selected.
e respondents represent the most sophisticated and hard-core fans, those
who spend time on online manga forums and/or go to conventions, and
who are passionate enough to spend up to thirty minutes to complete a very
detailed questionnaire. Younger readers may be underrepresented because
the questionnaire was not designed for them.16 Despite these biases, the
results of the survey can be used for explorative/descriptive purpose. e
following analysis, though, cannot be generalized to the vast universe of
European manga fans. Nonetheless, it provides preliminary data that can
form the basis of further research and will be followed by further enquiries.
The Sociology of Manga Fans
In France and Italy, the majority of the respondents were male (57 percent
and 56.5 percent, respectively). e opposite is true in Germany, where 80
percent of the respondents were female.17 One possible explanation is that in
the past Germany o ered few comics for girls, so they have welcomed the rich
o erings of shôjo manga (girls’ manga). However, it should be stressed that in
Italy and France, female respondents outnumbered male ones in the younger
(or youngest) age groups. Furthermore, regardless of country, all female fans
were more active participants in manga fandom. ey regularly scored higher
in almost every category: frequency of reading manga, manga-related activity
on Internet, attending conventions, and cosplay. erefore, female reader ship
is presently the most dynamic part of the European manga market.
e median age of the respondents was 20 in Switzerland, 20.5 in both
Germany and France, and 22 in Italy. Respondents were divided into three
socioeconomic categories: those still attending primary school (hereafter
referred to as “schoolgoers”); those attending university or specialized/voca-
tional schools (hereafter referred to as “students”); and those who were either
working or looking for full-time work (hereafter referred to as “young profes-
sionals”). France and Italy shared similar statistics: respectively, 27.5 percent
and 20.5 percent belonged to the schoolgoers’ cohort; and 42 percent were
students and 31 percent were young professionals in both countries.18 On
the other hand, in Germany, the younger, schoolgoers’ cohort (39 percent)
outnumbered those of students (20.5 percent) and young professionals (25.5
percent).19 e explanation for this probably lies in the fact that Japanese TV
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series were aired in Germany later not until the early 1990s, versus the
1970s in France and Italy: since almost all the fans in every country came
to read manga after discovering Goldorak, Candy, and Dragon Balls on TV,
it follows that the fandom would “automatically” be younger in the country
where the big robot, the young damsel, and Sangokû arrived later. Another
reason might be the fact that because of the relative weakness of the German
comics culture in comparison to that of France and Italy, reading comics
was mostly regarded by Germans as “for children only,” whereas in France
it was “Pour les jeunes de 7 à 77 ans.20 However, whatever they are, those
numbers probably underestimate the younger cohort, because of the biases
in the poll.21
In regard to social position, as far as the survey permits a grasp of it,22 a
majority of the respondents were from the middle class. ey were raised in
a stable family and a rather a uent environment that allows for a postmate-
rialist consumption style and thus varied cultural consumptions. ey were
educated to the various uses of media, and had a medium-high education
level conducive to interest for such “far away topics” as Asia or Japan. ose
fans who were engaged in the active life most often had white-collar jobs,
often creative ones, and they were sometimes very well paid.
Here again, the manner of conducting the survey (via the Internet) and
the length and complexity of the questionnaire have biases against the less
a uent and less educated. is category appears more clearly in the Japan
Expo part of the French Survey, where a profi le made of low-income, broken-
family, low-education-level and jobless respodents accounted for about 15
percent of the whole. Furthermore, many respondents did not answer ques-
tions about their parents’ jobs or gave unclear answers23 — a reluctance that
most likely concealed a lower social status (although we can’t, of course, be
certain of this). However, what the survey reveals about the specifi c group of
manga fans who answered it is far away from the long-held but now vanish-
ing prejudice that has stigmatized Japanese comics and TV series as cheap
entertainment for low-class, undereducated youngsters looking for escape
from a depressing daily life.
How Did They Come to Read Manga?
In every country, Japanese TV series have by and large been the catalyst
for the uptake of manga.24 But manga didn’t appear in a vacuum. Only 29.5
percent of the respondents said they had not been reading comics prior to
the arrival of manga in their country. e others had all been reading either
a “lot” or a “few European or U.S. comics. ese percentages refl ect the
existence of a strong local traditions of comics creation and readerships that
contributed to the success of manga. However, in attracting these 29.5 percent
new customers, the manga boom enlarged the comics market as a whole.
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At the same time, there is no doubt that manga encroached on traditional
European and American comics’ share, since the percentage of respondents
who didn’t read these comics (51 percent) was larger by 21.5 points than the
percentage of those who did not read them before discovering manga.
In every country, the manga-reading habit came at an early age: 12.5 per-
cent of the respondents began before the age of ten, 44.5 percent between
ages ten and fourteen, and 29 percent during their high school years. As
the age of respondents increased, so did the age of the beginning of reading
manga, but only slightly, since even the oldest respondents within the cohort
under 25, who account for about 70 percent of the whole sample, were still
in middle school when Akirathe rst best-seller that opened Europe to
paper manga after the wave of TV anime series — was translated in French,
Italian, and German between 1989 and 1991.
Reading Habits and Practices
e respondents were avid readers, as far as their favorite material was
concerned. On average, 26.5 percent of them indulged in their passion
everyday; 29 percent read manga three or four times a week, and 21.5 percent
at least once a week; 75.5 percent said they would spend much more time
reading manga if possible. Furthermore, they were educated enough to read
manga in one or more foreign languages. ose who read manga in both
their native tongue and English accounted for 51 percent of the respondents;
in both France and Germany, up to 22 percent also “sometimes” read their
favorite titles in Japanese. ese numbers judge the too-common prejudice
against manga fans as semi-illiterate for what it is.
Manga fans are also manga buyers: about three-fourths of the respond-
ents in every country own more than 50 volumes apiece. is is not enough
to characterize them as “collectors,” but in both France and Switzerland, a
signifi cant percentage (16 percent and 19 percent) had amassed more than
500 volumes apiece. e biggest spender was a German fan who reported a
collection of around 2,500 titles — more titles than had ever appeared in the
German language to the time of our survey.
It should be noted that despite the defi ance long aroused by manga among
educators and parents, public libraries now play an important role in the dis-
semination of manga; in France 28 percent and in Germany and German-
speaking Switzerland 37 percent borrow manga works from these institu-
tions. ese numbers, as well as the multiple experiences of several authors
of this chapter with librarians wishing to acquire some competence in the
eld of manga, bear witness to the growing acceptance of this genre by the
authorities, and even to a liking for it among the librarians. is is especially
the case in Germany, where there have been few outcries against the “dan-
ger” or “vulgarity” of Japanese comics.
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The Social Dimensions of Fandom
Manga is not just a reading format. According to our survey results, it also
allows fans to interact with like-minded people. e social dimension of
the fandom as a community seemed of great importance for a signifi cant
majority of the fans. is was perceptible in the high percentage of those
who were introduced to manga through friends (39 percent) and those who
actively introduce manga to their friends (66 percent). “Discussion with
other fans” ranked high among the reasons why they liked manga, at least
in Italy and France (32 percent). A large percentage of the respondents also
discussed manga within their family circle “often” or “sometimes” (70.5
percent). Book sharing was also a prevalent form of social interaction — be
it “always/often” or “sometimes” (78 percent); more than that, book sharing
was also a matter of principle, since “manga is a pleasure that must be shared”
(56 percent).
e Internet was of utmost importance. Of course, the way the survey
was conducted induced an enormous bias, but even in the small part of the
population sample that was handed the questionnaire in person,25 95 percent
visited manga sites on the Web and 62.5 percent chatted in Web forums —
that is, only 7 points less than those surveyed through the Internet. e Web
was the place for getting information; chatting (72 percent of the respond-
ents visited forums for that purpose, 48 percent of them as registered mem-
bers); copying Japanimation or scanned manga series (73 percent); buying
manga titles (50 percent); and accessing manga in foreign language through
“scanlations” (65.5 percent).
Manga events were another place to share and, for some fans, to express
themselves to others. An average of 64 percent of the respondents took part
in manga conventions “often” or “sometimes,” and 13.5 percent of them took
part in cosplay events.
e respondents were defi nitely not lonely fi gures: 81 percent of the
respondents shared their passion with other family members and 72 percent
with their spouse or companion when part of a couple. A large majority (67
percent) of the respondents knew other fans at school or the workplace,27 and
almost all of those (86 percent) actively interacted with others who shared
their passion. ese results clearly show that manga — often criticized as a
solitary, if not masturbatory, activity for otaku confi ned to their rooms in
escapist fantasy, is in fact a means for socialization and active interaction
with others.
Furthermore, according to the respondents, manga reading reverber-
ated to a signifi cant degree upon their conduct and their state of mind
hence, their relationship to others. A whopping 89 percent of the respond-
ents asserted that manga reading had a degree of infl uence upon their life
(among them, 49 percent said “extremely” or “a lot”), and even more said
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it infl uenced their state of mind. According to the respondents, the infl u-
ence of their favorite reading material is highly positive: owing to manga
they encountered new friends (54 percent), felt less stressed (53.5 percent),
felt more dynamic (52 percent), and had learned new values (32.5 percent).
Whatever the degree of self-deception may have been in passing such judg-
ments, even this fantasy could be considered as a positive e ect of manga
reading because, in the end, it made the manga fans more comfortable with
Motivations for Reading Manga: Escapism Is Not the End
of the Stor y
As for motivations for reading manga, a commanding majority of the
respondents claimed they were doing so because it gave them an escape
from everyday life (67 percent), and because “it’s fun and relieves stress” (42
percent) — whereas only a small minority (15 percent) appreciated manga
because they felt it refl ected their own problems and experiences.
ese results broadly converge with the common image of manga as a
literature of escapism and manga readers as people looking primarily for
(supposedly cheap) entertainment. However, other ndings showed that this
was only half of the story, because a signifi cant percentage of respondents
(44.5 percent) felt that manga protagonists were “easy to identify oneself
with,36.5 percent thought that manga stories were able to encourage refl ec-
tion about life and society, and 34 percent also stated that manga characters
showed qualities that they as readers would like to have. However, this is not
as paradoxical as it might seem. For one thing, fantastic manga stories often
require a high degree of attention and seriousness from the reader, because
of a complex narrative together with syncretistic associations of themes, fi g-
ures, and objects coming from many di erent cultures. On the other hand,
behind the fantastic facades, very realistic confl icts often appear. Manga fan-
tasy frequently supplies the thrill within absolutely familiar and everyday
confl ict plots which indeed raises the interest of the reader.
e issue of motivations looks even more complex in the light of another
set of questions that invited the respondents to compare manga and
European comics. For that set, 41.5 percent of the respondents rated manga
characters as “more emotionally attractive” than those of European com-
ics rather than “more extraordinary(33 percent). Also, a clear distinction
appeared according to age and sex: e younger schoolgoers’ cohort was
more inclined to feel a sentiment of proximity to the plots of their favorite
manga stories — that these stories were “more touching” and “more realist”
than those of European comics.
ere was also a clear distinction according to age. e younger schoolgo-
ers’ cohort was more inclined to feel a sentiment of proximity to the stories
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and the characters of their favorite manga works; they felt that manga was
both “more touching” and “more realist” than European or American com-
ics. Also signifi cant was the di erence between genders in that respect: as
a whole, more female than male respondents felt this proximity to manga
protagonists and plots. Obviously, this relates to the large number of shônen
(boys’) and shôjo (girls’) manga whose plot takes place in the familiar set-
ting of school, and with the fact that shôjo manga is the only kind of comics
(mostly) made by women for women. is shows clearly that the success of
manga in Europe derives partly from the inability of European and American
comics — mostly created by men and imbued with a “sophisticated and artis-
tic” mentality appealing to an intellectual readership rather than a popular
one, especially in France from the 1970s to the ’90s (Bouissou 2008) to
address the concerns and please the peculiar sensitivity of the young female
Comparison between manga and traditional comics revealed other sig-
nifi cant aspects of the attraction to manga. e three cohorts of respondents
unanimously praised manga drawing as “more dynamic” than that of tradi-
tional comics with the older ones being less sanguine about its “beauty.
More generally, manga was perceived as “dynamic” and “modern,” whereas
traditional comics were belittled as “more conservative.” and — perhaps as
a result — Japan itself looked “more modern” to the respondents than their
own country. us, reading manga might be equated to being modern and
dynamic” while reading comics looked somewhat “uncool.
Other signifi cant factors for the success of manga were linked to market-
ing strategy, beginning with the pace of publication. In France, whereas most
comic series progressed at the very frustrating pace of only one 56-page
album per year (if not every two years), successful manga series were pub-
lished at a steady pace of 250-page volumes every two or three months.
e ability of manga to generate addiction to a bargain, especially since the
advent in 1959 of the 250-page-plus weeklies, has been well-documented in
Japan (Yokota 2006). In Europe, addiction was perceptible in the percent-
age of respondents who confess that the manga habit “is costly for me” (20
percent) and those who would like the publishers to accelerate the pace of
publication (33 percent). It’s clear that the success of manga is also linked to
this basic competitive advantage in terms of marketing.
Price was another factor in the success of manga, especially in France. In
Japan, the fact that many manga magazines cost no more than a cup of cof-
fee has been decisive for turning manga into a mass-consumed product. e
price factor was also important in the eyes of 29 percent of the respondents
in France, where most standard bande desinée albums o er no more than
56 pages for as much as 12 euros (US$18), whereas manga o ers at least
250 pages at only 60 percent of this cost. However, the price factor seemed
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negligible in the other three countries, where there is not such a di erential
in price between local comics and manga.28
Last but not least are the questions of violence and pornography in
manga, which have been so often reproached by the authorities and the
alarmed parents of European fans. Sex scenes ranked at the very bottom of
the respondents’ reasons for reading manga (15.5 percent).29 Twenty-seven
percent (and 39 percent in France) confessed a liking for “fi ght scenes,” but
there is nothing new in this penchant for violence among those interested
in things Japanese: before the advent of manga, the image of Japan as the
country of martial arts used to be the highest-ranking motivation for French
university students engaging in Japanese studies. Manga simply capitalizes
upon a very deep-rooted imaginary touching the country of samurais — an
imaginary that evokes violence but associates it with aestheticism, self-con-
trol, and sophistication.
us, the motivations for reading manga in Europe are much more com-
plicated than the simplistic set of escapism, sex, and violence to which they
have been too often reduced. ey have much more to do with social inter-
action, with the very basics of marketing (available and a ordable products
tailored to answer to demands that the local producers did not care for), and
with the unparalleled sophistication of series able to mix fantasy and reality,
fun and drama, and violence with kawaii (XXXX; Bouissou 2006).
1. e Manga Network’s website can be accessed at
2. In this paragraph we neglect some areas where manga is actually successfully
marketed, because of lack of space and/or data, or because — as for Great Britain
— of a discourse that would be more fi tting in comparison to the United States.
A more detailed panorama of European manga market can be found in Pellitteri
3. In the United States (with a population of about 300 milion), the best-selling
manga in 2006 was Naruto #9, which sold about 100,000 copies (Hibbs 2007),
whereas in France (population: ±64 million) each new volume of the young
ninja’s adventures sold around 130,000 during its fi rst year on the market; in Italy
(population: ±58 million), single issues of such series as Dragon Ball have regularly
sold more than 150,000 copies.
4. For every country, these statistics include new volumes of already running series.
5. Information compiled from Pasamonik (2005; 2006a) and Zaccagnino and
Contrari (2007, 2).
6. For a complete list see Dunis and Krecina (2004).
7. Delcourt and Tonkam merged in 2006, and Soleil now heads a consortium of six
8. Bande desinée is the Franco-Belgian school of comics.
9. See the section “How Did ey Come to Read Manga?” later in this chapter.
10. e saga, which began in 1980, comprised thirty volumes as of 2007. e last
volume sold 30,000 copies in Poland and 119,000 in France.
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11. e Festival d’Angoulême is the biggest festival in Europe for bande dessinée, with
an attendance in 2008 of 220,000.
12. ose born between 1965 and 1970 had their fi rst (indirect) contact with Japanese
manga when such TV series as Alps no shōjo Heidi, UFO Robo Grendizer, or
Candy Candy were aired in Europe, fi rst in Spain (1975), and then Italy (1977) and
France (1978).
13. e French version comes from the Japanese Bôchan no jidai, a historical work
about Japanese intelligentsia at the turn of the twentieth century.
14. is survey has been supported by the Japan Foundation and the French
Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques (aka Sciences Po; see its website at as a means of studying the phenomenon of cultural
globalization and the “soft power” derived from exports of popular culture goods.
e French version of the questionnaire can be found at the Manga Network
website, German and
Italian versions are also available upon request from
15. With more than 80,000 people attending in three days, Japan Expo — which
started in 2000 with a fi rst-time attendance of 3,200 — is the largest manga
convention in France.
16. However, when standing in line for a long time with nothing else to do, as the
French fans were at the entrance to Japan Expo, the younger cohort did answer in
large number.
17. Signifi cantly, in the Italian- and French-speaking regions of Switzerland, the
gender pattern is similar to those in Italy and France, whereas it is similar to that
of Germany in the German-speaking region.
18. e younger cohort is better represented in the French sample because of the way
the survey has been distributed at the Japan Expo. For unknown reasons, in Italy
the level of “not applicable” answers to that question reached 7.5 percent.
19. Whether those who did not answer (6.7 percent in Italy and 14 percent in
Germany) were searching for a job or were in transition phase between the end of
schooling and a professional or university career cannot be determined.
20. “For the young (at heart) from 7 to 77”: this was the advertising slogan on the
leading comics weekly Tintin (1946–93).
21. e ratio of 36 percent in the survey conducted at the Japan Expo in France—
where the questionnaire was welcomed as a kind of game by the young people
waiting in the entrance line — is probably more accurate, but might still
underestimate the younger cohort due to several reasons (the cost of entry,
the need for a means of transportation for those living outside of Paris and its
suburbs, etc.).
22. ere was no question about the level of income of either the young professional
respondents or their parents, because this would certainly have resulted in
many would-be respondents dropping the questionnaire altogether. We had
to somewhat “guess” the social status of the respondents by using “indirect”
questions about the nature of profession, incidence of joblessness in the family,
level of education, and place of residence and combining them with some
economic factors (the amount of money spent on manga, DVDs, and other
“goodies” every month).
23. is was as high as 37 percent in Italy.
24. Detailed data for the four countries will be available on Manga Network’s Website
at manga/index.php. Since there is
no space here to discuss in detail the di erences among the four countries, we
present only aggregated statistics for ths chapter.
25. is was 66 percent of the French sample that was surveyed during Japan
26. e bias introduced in the French survey by the fact that two-thirds of those
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surveyed had been contacted at the entrance of Japan Expo is limited, because
those who were attending a convention for the fi rst time were instructed to answer
27. is was 76 percent of the students and 55 percent of the young professionals.
28. Only 8 percent of the Germans and 6.5 percent of the Italians defi ned manga as
“less expensive” than other comics. is di erence probably results from the fact
that German and Italian respondents compared the price of manga paperbacks
to that of comics magazines — of which there are plenty in both countries —
whereas the French compared them to the price of hardcover albums, due to the
scarcity of comics magazines in tht country.
29. Of course, a certain degree of self-censorship may be suspected.
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Kappa 168: XXXX.
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un prodotto culturale mondiale” (Global manga: Why Japanese comics have become
a worldwide cultural product). In Il Drago e la Saetta. Modelli, strategie e identità
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— (2006). “Japan’s Growing Cultural Power: e Example of Manga in France.
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and cultural globalization), Paper presented at the Forschungsberichte zu
Struktur und Geschichte der Comics in Deutschland conference, November
17–18, Koblenz-Landau university. Available at
Dunis, Fabrice, and Florence Krecina (2004). Guide du manga. France : des origines à
2004 (A guide to manga in France: From its origins to 2004). Strasbourg, France:
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Hibbs, Brian (2007). “Tilting @ Windmills #37: Bookscan 2006.” Newsarama, http://
Japan External Trade Organization (2005, July). Japan Economic Monthly (industry
report). Tokyo: Japan External Trade Organization.
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the Globalization of Culture.International Journal of Cultural Studies 8(9), http://
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year of “manga-ization”). ActuaBD,
— (2006a, January 18). “Le succès des mangas: Pourquoi il ne s’arrêtera pas” ( e
success of manga: Why it will not stop). ActuaBD,
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magazine with manga . . . from Europe!). ActuaBD,
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giapponese ( e dragon and the dazzle: Models, strategies and identities of Japanese
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animation). Tokyo: Seishin shobô.
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alla conquista del mondo” (Manga: Japan conquering the world). Limes, rivista
italiana di geopolitica,
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... Japan is, in our discourse on mutual images, more an imagined and fantasized place than a real one. This also applies when we limit our discourse to youth cultures, as it has been shown, for instance, in recent research on the connections between the popularity of anime and manga in Europe-namely in France and Italy-and a new kind of cultural tourism towards Japan and the learning of the Japanese idiom, both based on the passion for manga, anime, and their narrative settings (Sabre 2006, Pellitteri 2010. ...
... In the 1990s and 2000s some of those settings, division of the pages in panels and their dimensions and shapes, visual codes, body and face morphology of the heroes, even the ways narratives were composed, or the characters' psychologies, and so forth. I have studied this huge set of influences in several writings (Pellitteri 2004a(Pellitteri , 2004b(Pellitteri , 2007(Pellitteri , 2008(Pellitteri , 2010(Pellitteri , 2011(Pellitteri , 2012b, also ...
... In the last twenty years a shift has occurred in the news media in the ways of depicting Japan, its society, its culture. Recent studies (Pellitteri 2010and 2014, Bouissou 2012 show that a considerable part of such shift has been due to the success of J-culture (especially manga, animation, toys). This outcome was evident in France, Germany, Italy, more than elsewhere. ...
... The same attention has not been devoted to the impact of these two entertainment forms in continental Europe and Latin America. To help lessen this knowledge-gap, I have tried to partially go in this direction, for what concerns Italy and France, in a book (Pellitteri 2008(Pellitteri /2010) and a few shorter essays. 10 Among the differences in the ways anime have arrived in the United States and in European countries, one is in how they reached Italy. ...
... In the late 1970s and along the 1980s, especially in Italy, Spain and France, the massive arrival of anime was accompanied by a wide display of products: picture books, original and copied manga, toys, gadgets and licensed commodities. 11 This boom established the first step of a Japanese pop culture in Europe, which lasted from 1975 to 1995 (as I explained in greater detail in Pellitteri 2008Pellitteri /2010. Sociologist Kiyomitsu Yui has theorized a scheme of the steps of acceptance of anime and manga out of Japan. ...
... 12 I have shown the results of the study on this set of influences in several writings (e.g. Pellitteri 2004b and 2011) and introduced the concept of trans-acculturation, 'to point out the dynamics of inclusion of themes, concepts, and values related to Japanese imagination in the fringes of Italian [and European] fans of Japanese comics and animation' (Pellitteri 2008(Pellitteri /2010. ...
Full-text available
Japanese animated series and films are, today, commonly named ‘anime’. Italy is the western market where the highest number of television anime were aired and theatrical anime released: it is a crucial context to assess the impact of anime on Western audiences. There is a lack of literature in English on the topic. This article provides information on the success of anime in Italy, with reference to the theatrical films released before the boom and a bibliography in Italian; indicates the main differences between the booms in Japan and Italy and gives hints on other national markets for anime; discusses the historical reasons of the arrival of anime in Italy; offers explanations on the stages of the success in this country (and in Western Europe) and in the United States before and during the boom, with the US market being a relevant touchstone; outlines the consumption model of television anime in Italy in the 1980s; provides critical remarks on the social–cultural features of the Italian anime boom as distinguished from the impact of anime on other national contexts. The article is informed by a multidisciplinary approach: cultural sociology, comparative media studies and animation studies.
... T hough some manga were also published in foreign edition in the 1980s, the market for Japanese comics begun to take off only in the early 1990s, becoming increasingly more important in Western comics publishing. [12] Currently, translated manga are the single largest sector, representing between one-third and one-half of all comics titles published in Europe, the US and Australia (Rampant 2010, Bouissou et al. 2010, Goldberg 2010, Malone 2010. As opposed to superhero comics for which US publishers provide licensed products in electronic format (see below), foreign editions of Japanese comics are often published by working from images scanned from a copy of an original Japanese printed copy. ...
... T hough some manga were also published in foreign edition in the 1980s, the market for Japanese comics begun to take off only in the early 1990s, becoming increasingly more important in Western comics publishing. [12] Currently, translated manga are the single largest sector, representing between one-third and one-half of all comics titles published in Europe, the US and Australia (Rampant 2010, Bouissou et al. 2010, Goldberg 2010, Malone 2010. As opposed to superhero comics for which US publishers provide licensed products in electronic format (see below), foreign editions of Japanese comics are often published by working from images scanned from a copy of an original Japanese printed copy. ...
Full-text available
This article focuses on visual adaptation strategies and practices in the publication of foreign comics. It first defines visual adaptation in the context of related terms such as audiovisual translation (AVT) and localization. Then, it provides a typology of visual adaptation strategies, illustrated with examples taken from a variety of comics. This is followed by a description of visual adaptation practices in comics translation industry as concerns two the comic types which have the largest volume of foreign editions, American superhero comics and Japanese manga. In the case of manga translation, after an initial stage in which Japanese comics were heavily adapted lo local comics visual conventions, market pressure in the form of fan base expectations has met with economic concerns by the publishers. Foreignization strategies (i.e. little visual adaptation) have now superseded domestication strategies (i.e. much visual adaptation) as the general norm for localized manga. In the case of Marvel comics, the technological implementation of adaptation strategies allows for the production of multiple foreign editions tailored to local markets. Foreignization strategies, which privilege non-adaptation over adaptation to target visual conventions, innovate the aesthetic conventions and pictorial repertoires of the target comics polysystem.
Full-text available
Comics today are a major business and they form the source material for a whole range of sectors in the creative industries. In an environment where major investments are necessary to turn a comic into a cross-media success, commercial intermediaries such as Disney have become the key copyright holders. By controlling the copyright, they ensure full control over all aspects of its monetisation. However, this is not the only way success can be achieved on a commercial scale. In Japan, the creators of comics (Mangaka) keep their copyright- a direct contradiction to current copyright thinking. This paper addresses this conundrum by examining both the Manga business and copyright law to identify if the reasons why copyright is not centralised in the hands of the commercial intermediary, especially the publishers. The analysis will show that while there are differences between Japan and the EU/US, but these do not affect the role of copyright law and indeed failing to acquire the rights is a choice, not a necessity. Instead, this article will highlight that the competitive Manga market in combination with the uniquely Japanese publication right and social control best explain why Mangas are successful and Mangaka keep their rights.
Full-text available
This article presents the results of a research project that explored young British readers’ engagement with manga in literary, aesthetic, social and cultural dimensions. Sixteen school pupils from two secondary schools participated in a number of interviews to provide feedback on selected manga and their own participation in manga fandom. The results show that four distinct features characterise this particular cultural group, including exclusivity, competitiveness, defensiveness and transculturalism. This article aims to discuss these features by exploring the political roots of popular culture, the constant negotiation of power both outwardly and inwardly in fandom, and the fan’s desire to engage with an exotic culture through the text. It is noteworthy that the declaration of one’s identity as a manga fan shows a deep level of passion with which fans demonstrate confidence in their expertise and a determination to defend a taste that is considered illegitimate and degraded by institutional authorities.
The reception of Japanese animation in East Asia is a topic of special interest in social sciences; however, little empirical research has been performed that explicitly examines the determinants of its audiences in different countries using quantitative methods. This article studies historical, social and cultural factors that affect the reception of Japanese animation in East Asia, and investigates its determinants among audiences in Taiwan, South Korea and China using a logistic regression analysis model to analyse the data of the East Asia Social Survey 2008. The authors findings primarily indicate that higher schooling and the consumption of other cultural goods such as Chinese movies or South Korean dramas are positive factors concerning Japanese animation. In contrast, older audiences have a negative attitude towards Japanese animation. These variables and the self-assessment of community are discussed in the context of previous research. Through empirical analysis, the authors findings support this previous research, confirm possible new tendencies and suggest a possible transition in the concept of Japan in the context of East Asian cultural consumption.
Full-text available
Since the end of the 1990’s, most Japanese animated TV series have been arriving in Europe as DVDs, even though they used to be the main content of children TV programs 30 years ago. Breaking away from the usual marketing circuit which usually imposes a television broadcasting of a series before it is edited for the video market, animes on DVD illustrate a form of TV series « demediation ». Through this “repackaging” process, they are turned from regular TV programs into collectibles, directly sold to consumers . This dissertation studies the ways anime publics accept or not this logic of collecting TV series. The hypothesis offered is that of cine-videophilie, based on the premisse of a convergence of formerly distinct cinephile and videophile practices. This research combines reception studies and sociology of technology, thus highlighting under this specific angle some present developments in the transmédia processes at work within the audiovisual entertainment industries.
The medium of Japanese animation is a powerhouse in the world of alternative entertainment. Proselytization by fans ignited the anime movement in America, despite Japanese copyright holders’ abandonment of the American market. This historical and cultural analysis demonstrates that fans’ continual infringement of copyright between 1976 and 1993 spurred the progress of commerce and the arts. Introducing the concept of cultural sinks, this analysis explains these phenomena in terms of demand formation, the role of commons and the causational links between the fans, artists, rights holders and markets that characterize the globalization of culture.
Compagni mangafan di Russia
  • José Alaniz
Alaniz, José (2005). "Compagni mangafan di Russia" [Fellow Manga-fans of Russia].
Comics und kulturelle Globalisierung" (Comics and cultural globalization), Paper presented at the Forschungsberichte zu Struktur und Geschichte der Comics in Deutschland conference
  • Bernd Dolle-Weinkauff
Dolle-Weinkauff, Bernd (2006). "Comics und kulturelle Globalisierung" (Comics and cultural globalization), Paper presented at the Forschungsberichte zu Struktur und Geschichte der Comics in Deutschland conference, November 17-18, Koblenz-Landau university. Available at tagungen/06nov/06nov_dolle.html.
Guide du manga. France : des origines à 2004 (A guide to manga in France: From its origins to
  • Fabrice Dunis
  • Florence Krecina
Dunis, Fabrice, and Florence Krecina (2004). Guide du manga. France : des origines à 2004 (A guide to manga in France: From its origins to 2004). Strasbourg, France: Editions du Camphrier.
Tilting @ Windmills #37: Bookscan
  • Brian Hibbs
Hibbs, Brian (2007). "Tilting @ Windmills #37: Bookscan 2006. " Newsarama, http://
the year of "manga-ization") ActuaBDLe succès des mangas: Pourquoi il ne s'arrêtera pas" (Th e success of manga: Why it will not stop) ActuaBD
  • Didier Pasamonik
Pasamonik, Didier (2005, December 31). "2005, l'année de la 'Mangalisation'" (2005, the year of "manga-ization"). ActuaBD,, January 18). "Le succès des mangas: Pourquoi il ne s'arrêtera pas" (Th e success of manga: Why it will not stop). ActuaBD, php?article3200.
Manga in Italy: History of a Powerful Cultural Hybridization
  • Marco Pellitteri
Pellitteri, Marco (2006). "Manga in Italy: History of a Powerful Cultural Hybridization. " International Journal of Comic Art 8(2): XXXX.
Anime e fl amenco" [Anime and fl amenco
  • Rolando Rodriguez De León
  • José
Rodriguez de León, Rolando José (2005). "Anime e fl amenco" [Anime and fl amenco]. Kappa156 : XXXX.
Animation no rinô shinri gaku (Th e clinical psychology of animation). Tokyo: Seishin shobô
  • Masao Yokota
Yokota, Masao (2006). Animation no rinô shinri gaku (Th e clinical psychology of animation). Tokyo: Seishin shobô.
Manga: il Giappone alla conquista del mondo
  • Marcella Zaccagnino
  • Sebastiano Contrari
Zaccagnino, Marcella, and Sebastiano Contrari (2007, October 31). "Manga: il Giappone alla conquista del mondo" (Manga: Japan conquering the world). Limes, rivista italiana di geopolitica,