Yomiuri Shimbun Looks at Manga Trends in 2006

imgYomiuri Online recently published an article looking back on the Japanese manga industry in 2006.

The article invited three guests from the industry to talk about some of the major trends that appeared in the last year. The three guests were: Tomohiko Murakami (Critic/Editor), Go Sasakibara (Editor), and Kaori Tanaka (in charge of the Junkudo bookstore in Ikebukuro).

Manga Trends in 2006

Manga became increasingly dependent on television. Tomoko Ninomiya's Nodame Cantabile sold over 19,000,000 copies after being adapted into a live-action TV drama, which also helped push the sale of Nodame Orchestra CD and other merchandise. Other manga series such as Honey and Clover and Death Note also benefited from live-action film adaption. In contrast, manga magazine sales dropped 5%, and manga sales dropped 3%. The reliance on TV adaption also did not help pull many of the new works through the market.

Manga magazines began experimenting with new themes in order to attract new audience. Monthly Shonen Fang moved in the direction of mixed media. Kodansha's Beth moved away from romance and focused more on single adult women. Tokuma Shoten's Monthly COMIC Ryu, on the other hand, tried to appeal to otaku in their 40's.

Online manga publication became popular in 2006. Many "paperless" online magazines, like Kodansha's MiChao!, was launched in 2006. As a result downloading manga through cell phones became popular.

2006 also saw the opening of the Kyoto International Manga Museum, and the first time major manga publishers cooperated to produce an Encyclopedia of Contemporary Manga (published by Shogakukan). 2006 is also the year Yoshihiro Yonezawa, co-founder and president of the famous semi-annual Tokyo Comiket event, passed away.