25 Years of Morning

img2006 marks the 25th anniversary of Kodansha's seinen magazine Weekly Morning. To celebrate, Kodansha has announced the "Weekly Morning's 25th Anniversary Campaign."

Morning was launched in 1982 under the name Comic Morning and the catch phrase "Morning Gets You Going." In 1986 the magazine's name was changed to Morning. Morning is aimed at people from the working class, and it serializes traditional manga that are more realistic compared to Kodansha"s other magazines. Stories found in Morning are usually based around politics, history, and sports, works from Europe and America can also be found in the magazine from time to time. Currently Morning is released every Thursday by Kodansha for 280 yen. A special issue of Morning, titled Morning 2, was launched in September 2006.

Below is Kohei Furukawa (Chief Editor of Weekly Morning)'s message regarding Morning's 25th anniversary:

As holding up a catch phrase "Morning Gets You Going" since the first issue was published, we are now celebrating our 25th anniversary, thanks to the respectful manga readers like you. Without your full support and encouragement, this wouldn't be happening.

We, the editors of Weekly Morning, consider this anniversary as the second birth of the magazine. So, during the campaign, we want not just to look back into the past, but also look into the future of manga. We wish to show you our intention of constant challenges of cutting edge originality, being aggressive as well as exploring new realms of innovation in art and storyline of manga, with our invaluable experience over the past 25 years in mind.

The major works and best sellers of Weekly Morning were not necessarily as big as they are now at start. Our mission is to believe in artists and their works, and in the end to create and deliver you the very best manga works, to meet your high expectation.

So, please look forward to what we will show you with 'Weekly Morning' in the days to come.

Hoping to encourage your heart to step forward, we wish to move you with our manga.

Morning Manga Available Online

imgAs part of its 25th anniversary event, on October 23rd Kodansha released 25 of its out-of-print "Morning manga" on the new e-publishing Morning 25th Anniversary e-publishing website on E-book Japan, which is run by eBOOK Initiative Japan Co., Ltd.

This special website was originally a general e-book shop. However, now acting as the official site for Morning"s 25th anniversary, some special events are planned.

Aside from the 25 out-of-print manga that were released, users can also browse works currently being serialized in Morning. The number of pages a visitor can browse varies from each work. This is the first time Kodansha has made its manga available online. According to Kodansha, "We think by making these works available online allows us to better advertise them, and to increase the readership of Morning."

The out-of-print manga that were made available online are:

- Be Free! by Tatsuya Egawa
- Toushuu Eiyuuden by Chen Wen
- Ushi no Oppai by Masayuki Sugawara
- Migimagari no Dandy by Masahiro Suematsu
- Yori ga Tobu by Minoru Hiramatsu
- Himaari by Kentaro Ueno
- Tetsujin Gamma by Yasuhito Yamamoto
- Ten no Terrace by Fuyumi Ogura
- Ekiin Johnny by Yuuichiro Sueda (story) and Noboru Takahashi (illustration)
- Fushigi Fushigi by Hiroshi Yamazaki
- The Actor by Kaiji Kawaguchi
- Gamble Racer by Makoto Tanaka
- Tekkondou by Hiroyuki Yasuda
- Osaka Mamegohan by Sarah Iinesu
- Miyamoto Kara Kimie by Hideki Arai
- Sabaori Gekijo by Mikio Igarashi
- Kibun wa Keijijou by Hiroyuki Sugawara
- Ohaza aza Basara Chuuzaisho by Tochi Ueyama
- Banzai Highway by Osamu (story) and Shin Morimura (illustration)
- Butainu by Kei Sadayasu
- Daidaya Togo by Gen Tamochi
- Kaze to Mandara by Shikago Tatekawa
- Miseinen by Seiki Tsuchida
- Meiken Rintarou by Kiyoshi Nagamatsu
- Dotou no Sasaguchigumi by Kenji Wakabayashi

Each manga costs 420 yen, users can preview them for free and purchase them as e-book.

Morning Manga Exhibition

Between November 9th - 12th, a manga exhibition called "Manga Exhibition - Enjoy Manga, Coffee and Morning in the White Garden" was held at the Aoyama Spiral Hall in Tokyo. The display contained original panels of works from popular Morning artists such as Takehiko Inoue's Vagabond (???????????????) and Kenshi Hirokane's Kachou Shima Kousaku (???????????????).

Takehiko Inoue Artbook Special

Two new artbooks from Takehiko Inoue (Slam Dunk, Vagabond) were released on October 23rd as part of the anniversary event:

The two artbooks, "WATER" and "Sumi," contain artwork from Takehiko's latest manga Vagabond. "WATER" is a collection of colored artworks, and "Sumi" is a collection of monochrome pictures. Each artbook contains different artworks.

It can be difficult to present the original color tone in magazines or manga. In fact, colored artworks of Vagabond from magazines and manga do not represent their true quality because the original artworks are delicately colored, and Inoue sometimes uses fluorescent colors in his works. To solve this problem, "WATER" and "Sumi" are printed on high-quality paper using the latest technology, which presents the color tone in its full glory.


"WATER" carries of many unpublished and new artworks. One of the most remarkable artwork is a picture drawn with water, where Inoue tried to draw a picture with water, just as Musashi, the protagonist of Vagabond, did in Vagabond volume 22. Inoue said that he hopes this artbook will be a gift to all the Vagabond fans.


Although Sumi is an artbook centered on monochrome art, it actually is very colorful. Inoue added new colors to originally black-and-white artworks, which created new moods in the pictures. In addition, Sumi contains photographs of Inoue's studio. Through these photographs, one can see how Vagabond is created as if he or she is there at the studio. The artbook also contains the original design of characters and storyboards before Vagabond appeared on Morning. With these information, the reader will better understand how Vagabond is created.

Other Events

Other events include the "Manga Battle," bookstore campaigns, "Overseas Morning activities," T-shirts, and more.

The Advantage of E-publishing

Regarding Kodansha's decision to utilize e-publishing in Morning's 25th Anniversary Campaign:

Most publishers nowadays are facing a dilemma ??? It's easy to sell a copy of a manga as long as the work enjoys overwhelming popularity. However, most work doesn't enjoy that kind of popularity, and so copies of those manga become harder to find. It is also hard to find them at used book shops or on auction websites. These works lose their chance to grab new customers because of insufficient demand for reprint.

A polarized structure is built up in today's manga publishing industry, sales per volume is not expected to increase, and it becomes difficult to resell copies of a book unless the said book is popular. Because there are a variety of readers that have different tastes for manga, major series sell out again and again, but minor works sell only once. Furthermore, very few copies of minor works are printed by publishers during the first printing to avoid risk.

The E-publishing system can change all this. With E-publishing, publishers can re-publish manga in E-book format when demands are low.

This case applies not only to the manga industry, but it also applies to the videogame industry. In the video game industry, digital media for videogame was shifted from game cartridge, which needs mass-production, to CD-ROM, which can be produced quickly at a low cost when demands are low. Besides, selling software online has become increasingly popular, because the publishers don"t need to print leaflets and can distribute it at a lower risk.

Existing media (like CD-ROM in the videogame industry or paper books in the manga industry) also has their own advantage, but today digital media is spreading rapidly, and most people prefer them. E-publishing should be accepted as a way to cover "the long tail" on the net business.

There are three keys in spreading E-publishing. First is to make e-books reader-friendly. Second is to make the price of e-books reasonable. Third is not to make readers think: "I better buy the copy of that book instead."

Special thanks to Michiko

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Happy birthday Morning... I

Happy birthday Morning... I hope i'll catch you at the "gold aniversary" (50 years) ... Keep up the good work!

Yes, I will definitely be

Yes, I will definitely be interested in the ebook, whether it is to be available for everyone or for subscribers only, especially after I came across this ebook search engine - http://www.ebook-search-queen.com/