The editor of Shueisha, Yuuta Momiyama, which manages online services Shonen Jump Plus Y MANGA More of the magazine Weekly Shonen Jump, wrote a blog post to explain why the editorial department of the Shonen Jump Plus internally manages overseas distribution through MANGA More.
First, he explained that it is common for publishers to sell overseas publishing rights to foreign companies through the overseas licensing department, and that this system continues to yield positive results. However, MANGA Plus is managed directly by Shueisha because Momiyama wants it to be a fundamental part of the editorial focus of Weekly Shonen Jump.
According to Momiyama, the role of a manga magazine is “offer the world new and interesting manga“. To achieve this, the Weekly Shonen Jump makes extensive use of surveys and reader comments. With the data of MANGA More, the editorial department can track international reception from a very early stage of serialization. Also, as the international market is so important to the anime industry, MANGA Plus data is already used to help decide which titles are adapted to anime.
Momiyama also predicted that the overseas manga market will be even more important in the future. MANGA More currently has 5 million monthly active users. He also noted a report from Kodansha in which it is stated that approximately 20 percent of manga sales currently come from abroad. At Shueisha, you’ve heard that overseas manga sales have apparently doubled in 2021 compared to the year before. He highlighted the popularity of Kaijuu 8-gou (Monster No. 8) in particular, whose first volume sold 250,000 copies in France alone, despite the higher price per unit of manga volumes compared to Japan. Momiyama predicted that the ratio of sales at home and abroad will equalize within ten years.
In an interview in September, Momiyama repeated many of the points about the growth of the foreign market. Although the service MANGA More includes ads, he explained that the priority is to make the official version of a manga as accessible as possible, rather than to monetize the platform. He said the advantage of MANGA More As a simultaneous distribution service, it not only prevents piracy, but also closes the temporary gap between national and foreign reception.
On the other hand, Momiyama said in the interview that translation costs are currently very high. He stated that the quality of machine translation is still very low, but that “in ten years it should improve“, And added that”if we can produce high quality translations in many different languages it will be a game changer“. He also highlighted as problems the lack of operational resources of the company for each region and local censorship, stating that the company still lacks knowledge in those areas. As a result, it is currently difficult to make the necessary changes and adjustments quickly.