topThe world of mangaka often produce fascinating stories. Some of them simply an interesting read, while others outright impossible. Some of these stories are true, while others are rumors that found their way into internet bulletin boards and became "real."

Gossips or not, these stories are nonetheless fun to read. Below is a translation of an article detailing some of these fascinating stories:

All the hot gossip here! - Secrets of the comic book artists exposed!

You are a comic book fan; you passionately love comics and see them as food for your soul. And just as you love comic books, you love their creators; you love them as much as your own parents and marvel at how they could have the energy and imagination to continue time after time to create such magic. The image of them in your mind is dazzling and heroic. At some point, however, the thought may have occurred to you 'comic book creators are real people too; beneath the veneer of fame, their lives share the same realities as ours.' Sometimes such an idea can come as a shock to you! It is these stories behind the storytellers that we will call 'gossip' here. So what is the gossip on their lives? Do you dare join us in digging up their secrets?

From this point it's going to get unflattering for some comic creators.

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An article titled "Men Under Pressure: Representations of the 'Salaryman' and his Organization in Japanese Manga" was published in the journal Organization last year. Although the article is not readily available to the general public (you need to be a subscriber), the article's authors would like to hear comments and feedbacks, and are willing to send a PDF of the article to those who contacts them directly.

Those who are interested in a copy of the article but can't access it can contact the author at: p.matanle(at)sheffield(dot)ac(dot)uk (be polite!).

From TMCnet comes an article that talks about how top creators in Japan are calling for the creation of museums to save Japan's "modern heritage":

What do industrial design, architecture, manga, anime, video games and traditional craft techniques have in common? Well, apart from each having spawned some of Japan's most popular cultural exports, the similarity is this: Japan has no national museums dedicated to their preservation, display and study, writes Edan Corkill.

topOriginally known as Mixx, the well-known Tokypop is a company that licenses, publishes and distributes translated Japanese anime and manga as well as Korean mahn-wa and global manga. Stuart Levy, who still maintains position as owner to this day, originally founded the company in 1997. Tokyopop has since released hundreds of manga graphic novels in both English and German, including global manga and 'cine-manga' (manga styled graphic novels using images from animated shows).

A co-publishing agreement with HarperCollins Publishers in 2006 handed over the distribution rights for a portion of Tokyopop's inventory. Along with this came permission for Tokyopop to begin creation of global mangas based on HarperCollins Publishers' books. It was the largest corporate news heard from the manga-publishing giant until June 2008, when Tokyopop announced a restructuring of the company.

On June 3rd, 2008, Tokyopop representatives issued a press release stating that Tokyopop would be split into two separate companies. While one side will continues its lead focus on the publishing aspect of the company, the other, titled Tokyopop Media, will deal with the company's recent endeavours with its digital releases and comics-to-film division.

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Sunrise, FL - May 22, 2008 - Cuban American fine artist, Carlos Aleman has begun a series of paintings called 'Springtime'. Working from his home studio, the artist is time lapse videotaping some of his work and featuring it on Youtube. The paintings are a tribute to Japanese comic book art and animation. The series focuses on love and the passing of time as represented by flower petals floating in the wind. You can view Aleman's work on his website

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Japanese fansite Takahiro no Kenkyuukan reports that recently Ichijinsha has released readership data of their magazine for potential advertisers. Canned Dogs has a summary of the data in English.

IGN has published an extensive article on Tokyo's Akihabara district titled "Next Stop: Tokyo's Akihabara District."

From Japanator comes an article titled "Manga growth slows in 2007. Is a crash coming?" that ponders the question of whether the U.S. manga market is on a decline:

We've all heard about the trials and tribulations the anime industry in general is undergoing, but we've also heard that while the market for anime DVDs is ailing, manga sales are active and healthy. Things might be changing fairly soon, However - a recent report from industry analysts at ICv2 indicates that the manga market only grew about 5% last year.

Jiji Press reports that UNIQLO, a Japanese casual clothing store chain, is planning on bringing its manga and anime T-shirts overseas:

Fast Retailing hopes to boost sales of the manga and anime T-shirts by luring more overseas customers who seek after Japanese pop culture as "Japan Cool." [...] In France, Fast Retailing on Monday opened a time-limited T-shirt shop at Galeries Lafayette, a major department store in central Paris. [...] UNIQLO's adult-size T-shirts are priced between 1,500 yen and 1,900 yen in Japan. [...] In 2008, the company aims at selling more than 12 million T-shirts worldwide. It operates UNIQLO shops in Britain, France, Hong Kong, mainland China, South Korea and the United States in addition to Japan.

Source: MangaCast