fbpx Japan's Manga Magazines, A Dying Medium

According to reports from Sankei News and Nikkei, a total of 12 manga magazines have ended publication in the first half of 2018. This is the largest number of publication halts since 2014 when 14 magazines stopped publication. By the end of that year, 36 magazines had ended circulation.

In Japan, print media continues to thrive. Convenience stores still devote a large amount of floor space, typically near entrances, to magazine racks which overflow with magazines covering everything from fashion to gaming to manga, as well as adult magazines. Heck, some older businessmen still read the newspaper on the train.

Soon, this kind of image will be in our history books.

However, even though print media thrives in Japan compared to Western countries, the truth of the matter, as evidenced by the report mentioned above, is that things are slowing down. More and more people are using smartphone apps to get their news and access all kinds of media they used to get in print like magazines and manga.

While bigger publications such as Big Comic and Weekly Shonen Sunday continue to sell well, smaller publication are feeling the sting of technology. There are now a plethora of both free and paid-service apps that can be downloaded to read the newest manga, and more are arriving seemingly every day.

Younger readers are also being exposed to tablets and smartphones at an earlier age, meaning that they never really get a chance to hold a book or magazine in their hands and instead become acclimated to reading on a screen.

Don’t bother her. She’s doing her taxes. Courtesy of Flickr.

Perhaps the most damning evidence for the decreased circulation of print media in Japan comes from Tetsudou Kousaikai. This is the company that has been the number one distributor of print media in JR stations around the country. They recently announced they would be stopping the magazine distribution arm of their business.

The company has reported that profits from magazines are only about a tenth of what they were when the industry was in its peak decades ago. Another company, Tohan, will be picking up the slack, but the end of print circulation seems inevitable.

The times they are a-changing. If you’re a manga fan, what do you think about all of these magazines ending their runs? How do you think this will affect the manga industry and creators at large? Hit us up on our Twitter or Facebook and let us know!

Source: Anime News Network


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