Mainichi Shimbun reports that the preliminary round of the 16th annual Manga Koushien, also known as the National High School Manga Tournament, has begun on June 18th.

This year, Shogakukan and Kodansha will each send 3 representatives to scout for possible talents. Those scouted will received guidance from professional manga artists.

The Manga Koushien has been hosted by the city of Kouchi since 1992. This year 295 schools from 46 prefectures entered the competition.

Source: Mainichi Shimbun

Shogakukan's gross sale last February reached 147 billion yen, beating Kodansha by 1.4 billion yen. As a result, Shogakukan has, for the first time ever, overtaken Kodansha as the number 1 publisher in Japan. According to Asahi Shimbun, Shogakukan's success can be attributed to advertising revenue from women's fasion magazines (such as CanCam) and copyright fee.

As for sales of magazines and books, Kodansha still beats Shogakukan by 10 billion yen. However, when counting earnings from other sales such as advertising fee, dividend from movies, and copyright fee, Shogakukan surpasses Kodansha by 11.3 billion yen.

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The Star Online has published an article looking at the success of Kami no Shizuku (Drops of God), a wine manga that is taking China and Korea by storm.

A small update on Kodansha's International Manga Competition. Kodansha IMC's Ceena reminds us that although the deadline for the competition was on May 31 2007, Kodansha will accept your work as long as it's postmarked by the deadline:

Please send your manga to Kodansha as soon as possible, enclosing the original postmark. We'll accept your work as a submission if it encloses the postmark by the due date.

Thank you for your interest in our competition. We're looking forward to reading your work!

A new manga titled Shirogane no Karasu by Akimine Kamijyo, mangaka of Samurai Deeper Kyo, will begin serialization in Weekly Shonen Magazine issue 26, on sale 5/30.

Source: Ultimatum Talk

According to Negima! creator Ken Akamatsu's latest diary entry, the news of a live-action Negima! will be officially announced in Weekly Shonen Magazine issue 25, on sale 5/23.

Source: Ultimatum Chat

Kazuhiko Shimamoto, creator of The Skull Man, will be starting a new series called Aoi Honoo (Blue Flame) in issue 24 of Shogakukan's Young Sunday, on sale May 17th.

Also, a new series titled Kurohatsubutsukan Supuringarudo from Kazuhiro Fujita will begin serialization in issue 23 of Kodansha's Weekly Morning, on sale May 10th.

topAccording to recent sales figures, the circulation of Weekly Shonen Magazine has dropped below 2 million, while the circulation of Weekly Shonen Jump experienced a slight increase. According to Minegishi, Director of Kodansha's sales division, "Only Weekly Shonen Magazine and Young Magazine are making a profit among Kodansha's manga magazine line-up. Monthly Shonen Magazine breaks even, while the others are showing deficit."

In comparison with sales from 10 years ago, Weekly Shonen Jump's circulation has dropped 2.8 million, and Weekly Shonen Magazine's circulation is around 1.9 million. If the manga magazines experience declining sales, the publishers won't be able to make a profit unless tankobon achieves good sales.

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To celebrate the release of the 80th volume of its boxing manga Hajime no Ippo, Kodansha will be releasing 3,000 sets of a special collector's edition box set called "Early Times Set." The box set will come with the first 30 volume of Hajime no Ippo.

A reminder from Kodansha International Manga Competition's Ceena to manga artists who are interested in submitting their works to Kodansha's International Manga Competition, the deadline of which is less than two months away:

There are no boundaries. There is one sky.

The first full-scale international competition for Manga worldwide.
INTERNATIONAL MANGA COMPETITION presented by the manga magazine "Weekly
Morning," Kodansha, Japan.

Submissions are now being accepted in ten languages: English, Spanish,
French, German, Chinese, Taiwanese, Korean, Thai, Italian, and Swedish.
The deadline: May 31 2007.

For more information at www.e-morning.jp/imc/.

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