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Subject: rec.arts.manga: Welcome to rec.arts.manga

This article was archived around: 15 Jan 1998 10:01:25 -0500

All FAQs in Directory: manga
All FAQs posted in: rec.arts.manga, rec.arts.anime.info
Source: Usenet Version

Archive-name: manga/welcome
Welcome to rec.arts.manga October 1998 Maintained by Steve Pearl (starbuck@cybercomm.net) updated (v2.0) by Iain Sinclair (axolotl@socs.uts.edu.au) Based on the original rec.arts.manga document by Steve Pearl This FAQ, as well as the other anime/manga newsgroup FAQs and info articles written by Steve Pearl, are available from the Official Anime/Manga FAQ page at http://www.cybercomm.net/~starbuck/FAQ.html The FAQs on that page are always the most recent version (The monthly posts are posted directly from that directory!) This document provides answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions on the Usenet newsgroup, rec.arts.manga. It is regularly posted to news.answers and rec.arts.manga. This FAQ is also intended as a general introduction to manga and related subjects, such as Japanese language, art and pop culture. Readers of rec.arts.manga should not post articles until they have read this FAQ in its entirety. Additions and corrections are welcome, and should be e-mailed to the editors. Sale of this FAQ and its sub-FAQs, or their use in commercial publication, is strictly forbidden without written consent of the editors. Disclaimer: the editors of this FAQ are not in any way affiliated with any of the organizations mentioned in this FAQ. The opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily represent the opinions of the editors or their affiliated organizations. While the information in this FAQ is accurate as far as can be determined, no guarantees as to its reliability are offered. NB: Japanese animation or animation of any kind is discussed on rec.arts.anime, not rec.arts.manga. Crossposting between rec.arts.manga and any other newsgroup causes noise, and is strongly discouraged. Introduction: - What's it all about? - What's the charter of rec.arts.manga? - How do I use rec.arts.manga? - Conventions used in this FAQ - What is HTML/WWW/FTP/URL/...? - What is JIS? - What does this word/term/abbreviation mean? - I have a question about this manga artist... I have a question about this manga... - Where can I get mangas? Where are some good ftp/www sites? What is the address of...? - Can you recommend some good mangas? What mangas and manga magazines are popular right now? Should I learn Japanese if I enjoy reading manga? - When I go to a Japanese bookstore, where do I start? - How do I draw in the "manga style"? - How do I go about learning Japanese? Is it difficult? The Japanese manga industry: - What happened to Kadokawa Haruki and Comp/Gao? - Was Video Girl Ai censored? - How can I get my manga published in Japan? - Can I mail Japanese manga-kas on NiftyServe? English-language Manga: - When is the commercial English comic version of (some manga) coming out? Did/will (some comics publisher) translate (some manga)? Did/will (some comics publisher) cut bits out of (some manga)? Why is (some manga translated by some comics publisher) delayed? - Was Ghost in the Shell censored? - What happened to the Akira manga? - Are doujinshi illegal in the West? - Are fan translations illegal? - Where can I get manga translations and synopses? Recurring Misconceptions: - What does the word "manga" mean? - Has anyone seen this "manga film/video"?? Does manga means "irresponsible pictures"?? - Why don't they show pubic hair? Is it some weird Japanese thing? - Why isn't rec.arts.manga in the rec.arts.comics hierarchy? - How should I store manga? - Is (some comic) a manga? - Is (some manga) a shoujo manga? -===- Introduction ------------ - What's it all about? Manga is a contemporary Japanese tradition of printed graphic storytelling. The word "manga" can be roughly translated as "cartoon" or "caricature". In Japan, hundreds of millions of pages of manga are printed each week. Over a third of all printed matter is manga, and its cultural role is at least as significant as TV or movies. Manga is serialized in cheap, widely available, disposable magazines, and later reprinted in book form. Target audiences include boys, girls (around 15%), and adults (around 35%). Manga as a mass-media product is largely a late 20th century phenomenon, though its origins are diverse and can be traced back many centuries. In recent years, manga has become increasingly popular in other Asian countries, but also in the US and Europe. On the net, manga discussion first took place in newsgroups such as rec.arts.anime and soc.culture.japan. A dedicated Japanese-language manga newsgroup, fj.rec.comics, was created around 1988, but it was not widely distributed outside Japan for some time. In late 1991, an English-language manga mailing list was formed. It had enough people to support a newsgroup, prompting David Mou to create alt.manga in December 1991. alt.manga was a modest success, but many people felt more readers could be attracted by a move to the Usenet mainstream. Patrick Yip subsequently led the campaign to create rec.arts.manga, and the vote was conducted by Tsai Sheng-Te. rec.arts.manga was created soon after, in July 1992. (Rec.arts.manga now supersedes alt.manga. Do not post to alt.manga for any reason. If alt.manga exists at your site, it should be removed.) Steve Pearl compiled the original rec.arts.manga FAQs, and Chih-Ping Kuo (kuo@seattleu.edu) compiled the original Usenet manga guide. Both these were expanded and rewritten by Iain Sinclair, who added the Usenet manga glossary in 1995. Ryo Shiroma (RSHIROMA@drew.edu) compiled the original Usenet manga magazine supplement. - What's the charter of rec.arts.manga? From the original Call for Votes, posted to news.groups: "This newsgroup will provide a forum for discussion related to manga, the Japanese storytelling art form, plus comics and other art with strong manga influences. "The topics that are to appear in this newsgroup may include: - information on how and where to get manga material - reviews of manga - discussion about the art style, stories, and history of manga - fan translation of manga stories - discussion of manga-related products - reporting and discussion of any news about manga. - discussion about how to do manga - social/philosophical implications and impact of manga - manga art in society : commercial packaging, advertisements, etc - the influence of manga on other art forms." - How do I use rec.arts.manga? Before posting articles, newcomers to rec.arts.manga should be familiar with basics of Usenet netiquette, which are briefly summarized here: - read the netiquette FAQs posted to news.announce.newusers. They contain essential information on how to communicate effectively over the 'net, and how to use important net resources. - when reading any new group for the first time, follow it for at least a week or two before posting. - check all the "official" rec.arts.manga FAQs. They are the distilled wisdom of hundreds of articles and many knowledgeable people. They are specifically designed to be useful references and to answer just about any question. For everyone's sake, don't post questions (or answers) listed in the FAQs. The "official" rec.arts.manga FAQ set comprises: Welcome to rec.arts.manga Usenet Manga Resources FAQ Usenet Manga Guide (in two parts) Usenet Manga Magazines List (=Manga Guide pt.3) Usenet Manga Glossary (=Frequently Asked Questions) English-translated Manga FAQ - email the author of articles that interest you. People usually enjoy the opportunity to discuss whatever they posted. When you have a feel for how rec.arts.manga works, bear in mind the following before you post: - offer to summarize any email replies you get, if you ask for detailed information. - if you are answering a question that is not of interest to manga readers, use email instead. - don't instantly post followups, since about a dozen others might be doing the same. Wait a while before following up. - don't worry if nobody follows up your article. The readership of the net is in a constant state of flux, and regulars cannot (and should not) respond to every article. Try rephrasing your article and and reposting it later. - flamewars (abusive arguments) are a complete waste of everybody's time. Unfortunately, they are an increasingly common feature of unmoderated Usenet discussion. There is a way to avoid flamewars - don't start them. Don't post information which is half-truth or speculation, unless it is clearly labelled as such; don't post controversial views without sound reasoning or sources; sarcasm, personal attacks, and topics not covered by the group's charter are likely to be misinterpreted (at best) and should be avoided. - Conventions used in this FAQ Japanese names are written surname first, given name last - eg. "Takahashi Rumiko". (The surname is not emphasised with caps or comma separation, though others sometimes add these for clarity.) This surname-first order is used in Japanese. Although Japanese people sometimes reverse the order of their names for use in English contexts, this can be confusing when juxtaposed alongside the original kanji or kana. The Japanese long "o" sound is usually written as "ou", unless there is a pre-existing romanization. - What is HTML/WWW/FTP/URL/...? These concepts need a brief mention, since they appear throughout these FAQs, but there is not enough space to discuss them in detail. Your system administrator can provide you with much more information, especially about your local setup. In brief: HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) is used to create hypertext documents, that is, ones which can include images, sound, video and links to other documents. (Popular image formats are GIF, JPG, and TIFF.) HTML documents are linked together over the Internet in the WWW (World Wide Web). They can be viewed by Web browsers such as netscape, mosaic, and lynx. Files can also be transferred between machines on the Internet using FTP (File Transfer Protocol). A URL (Universal Resource Locator) gives information about where to access a newsgroup, WWW site, FTP site, email address, or any other Internet resource. In this FAQ, angle brackets, "< >", denote a URL. URLs for WWW sites or HTML documents usually begin with "http:". See also: o FTP FAQ: <ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/usenet/news.answers/ftp-list/faq> o WWW FAQ: <ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/usenet/news.answers/www/faq/> - What is JIS? Kanji and kana are included in on-line plain text documents using JIS (Japanese Industrial Standard) encoding. The start and end of a JIS sequence is marked by escape codes. On terminals which do not support JIS, the JIS sequence looks like random garbled characters. While JIS has its limitations, it is widely supported, and viewers exist for just about every computing platform. (The similar EUC standard is now preferred, but JIS is used in these FAQs for reasons of convenience.) NB: Unfortunately, JIS and HTML (used to annotate some FAQs) are not entirely compatible. Glitches may appear in JIS documents sourced from HTML. - What does this other word/term/abbreviation mean? Check the Usenet Manga Glossary. <http://ftoomsh.progsoc.uts.edu.au/~axolotl/Manga/gloss.html> - I have a question about this manga artist... - I have a question about this manga... Check the Usenet Manga Guide. <http://ftoomsh.progsoc.uts.edu.au/~axolotl/Manga/mg.html> - Where can I get mangas? - Where are some good ftp/www sites? - What is the address of...? Check the Usenet Manga Resources FAQ or the English-translated Manga FAQ. <http://ftoomsh.progsoc.uts.edu.au/~axolotl/Manga/umg.html> - Can you recommend some good mangas? - What mangas and manga magazines are popular right now? - Should I learn Japanese if I enjoy reading manga? Check the rec.arts.manga guide - it is the main archive of manga recommendations posted to the net. It contains reviews and data on hundreds of mangas and manga artists. At the moment, the few mangas translated for Western consumption give a distorted, unrepresentative picture of what is on offer. In general, only mangas likely to appeal to teenage male comic fans are translated, and only if their rights can be cheaply acquired. Much less than one percent of all titles have been translated into English; by volume, the proportion is close to nil. English-translated mangas lag years behind their Japanese counterparts, which have often long since finished and been forgotten. Western publishers' insistence on forcing manga into the 30-page comic book format does nothing to reduce this lag, and leads to false expectations (eg. mangas use several pages where Western comics would use one). As a result, most commercial manga translations only cover a small fraction of the original, and overheads result in a price that is three to seven times higher. In addition, translations are usually rewritten for a market of below-average literacy. While many people translating manga commercially are not happy with these compromises, there are currently few opportunities for improvement. For those who want to avoid these problems and enjoy the enormous choice of the manga industry, the best solution is to go straight to the source and learn Japanese. Learning basic Japanese is a task well within anyone's grasp. Once you're started, tens of thousands of mangas become available, with their low prices, accessible formats, and unedited pages. (See section on "How to learn Japanese".) - When I go to a Japanese bookstore, where do I start? Reading manga is now very much a matter of individual taste. These days, the manga industry markets towards fairly specialised, well-defined markets, so there are fewer mangas with relatively broad appeal. In the past, as recently as four or five years ago, it was possible to find interesting mangas by reading manga tankoubons (books) straight off the shelves. Browsing this way was an ideal way to make sense of the dauntingly vast range of mangas. Unfortunately, it was abused; most bookstores outside Japan now wrap all their books in plastic. However, there are still other good options. Do as they do in Japan - buy manga magazines, ask friends, read reviews. In Japan, manga magazines can be bought cheaply. They can be found lying on trains or bundled with leftover newspapers. Outside Japan, manga magazines have to be bought in Japanese bookstores (they can rarely be browsed straight off the shelf) at 2-4 times their normal price. Even so, there are are several good reasons to buy them. - value: most magazines carry at least a dozen different titles, adding up to hundreds of pages. They typically sell for as low as US$2-3 each. - diversity: there's bound to be something of interest, even in the most mediocre magazines. In the best magazines, almost everything is worth reading. People tend to settle with the particular combination of titles that suits them best. - popularity: the top manga magazines are read by millions of people, making them more popular than many TV programs. - timeliness: magazines are the only way to read the latest instalments of popular titles. These instalments are not republished in book form until at least 2-3 months later, at the very earliest. Colour pages published in magazines tend to be republished as B&W in book form. - professionalism: manga magazines do not carry long-winded, self-indulgent ramblings of artists and editors. Advertising is kept to a bare minimum, usually at the beginning and end of the magazine. Some of the advertising is related to the mangas or manga artists themselves, providing useful pointers. - punctuality: all manga magazines are published with clockwork regularity. - disposability: when you're done, you can throw them away; manga magazines have no significant resale value. Most are printed on recycled paper. Magazines such as Newtype, Puff and Fanroad publish manga reviews and/or best-seller lists, collated from various large bookstores. They are a reasonable guide to what mangas people are buying. However, they give a somewhat distorted picture, since their primary sources are large specialist bookstores, which tend to be patronised by hard-core manga addicts. Weeklies published by Touhan, inc. (not available to the general public) are the most reliable source. In any event, what sells well is not necessarily an indication of quality, nor is it a guarantee that it will appeal to everyone. The Usenet Manga Magazines FAQ lists magazine circulation data, providing a guide to which manga magazines are popular. (As a very rough rule of thumb, popular or new titles appear towards the front of the magazines.) Usually, a magazine sells on the basis of only two or three popular titles. - How do I draw in the "manga style"? There is no monolithic "manga style", in the superficial sense. Although it may not be apparent from the very narrow subset of mangas which appear in the West, manga artists have NO uniform style of drawing characters or creating page layouts. There are some conventions followed in the character designs of some anime, which are practical necessities for the medium, but this has little to do with manga. For any given manga artist, the set of influential factors (which mainly consists of other manga, but can include anything from films to novels to games) is quite individual and diverse. While the best way to learn how to draw manga is to become someone's assistant, or to take a course at a Japanese college, these are not options for most people. Lessons on how to draw manga are occasionally serialized in some manga magazines, but these are mostly of limited use. However, it is not necessary to read vast piles of manga to become proficient; many great manga artists started with only their imaginations. But nor is it necessary to re-invent the wheel, especially when there are many examples of manga artists who have reached high levels of achievement. If you intend drawing professional manga, look at examples of the genres which interest you. However, it is NOT a good idea to slavishly copy someone's character drawing style, except perhaps as an experiment to see what suits you best. (Doujinshis are obviously an exception.) If one only copies without understanding, flaws will be rudely exposed when the time comes to draw something that hasn't been tackled before - which, in a professional schedule, will happen often. Besides, imitators are easily spotted by editors and the general manga-reading public. The real success stories of the manga industry have mastered the basic skills (which are not difficult to grasp) and applied their own insight and vision. No manual which can tell how to obtain (or even recognise) these latter qualities, but as for the former, try some of the references listed in the Manga Resources FAQ. An appreciation of some general principles - anatomy, caricature, narrative traditions in drama, cinema, literature - will always be useful. Bear in mind that the essence of manga is its story - characterisations, events, situations. If you cannot write a competent story, it would be unwise to think about trying to draw manga. In Japan, technically accomplished artists who cannot write stories become illustrators, not manga artists. Those few manga artists who draw others' stories usually combine exceptional storytelling skill with an extraordinary ability to meet deadlines. It should be stressed that the story dictates every other aspect of the manga. The details of drawing and drafting are trivial by comparison. Mangas in which the art takes priority over the story are fairly unusual, and are generally only sell to hard-core fans. - How do I go about learning Japanese? Is it difficult? Learning basic Japanese only requires a little time and effort. For a native English speaker, the Japanese language is not unbearably difficult, compared to (say) Arabic, or Chinese, or Ancient Greek. Japanese grammar and pronunciation is straightforward, spelling is totally phonetic, and many words are borrowed from English. The use of Chinese characters (kanji), which intimidates many beginners, is gradually declining, in some ways. Bear in mind that beginner-level Japanese will get you a long way through many mangas. It won't be enough for the details, but in some cases, you might not need them. Furthermore, this level of Japanese can be acquired in only short period of study. Once you have laid these basic foundations, learning becomes less intimidating and more rewarding. There is no uniform or optimum way of learning Japanese. Every individual has their own needs, and different aspects of the language will take priority for different people. People learn in different ways and at different rates. Therefore, how you learn Japanese is a matter of personal preference. But to get started, the following suggestions have been offered: - take a course at a university or language institute. The quality of Japanese courses sometimes varies, so endeavour to find out more before you commit your time and money. Most courses will ensure a minimum level of fluency, with a good theoretical background for further study. - find a local Japanese person to give you private lessons. There are Japanese just about everywhere in the world who will do this, so you shouldn't have to look further than your local newspaper. For would-be manga readers, this method has all kinds of advantages. Penpals are a good idea, too (try a service, don't ask rec.arts.manga). - if you're serious about learning Japanese quickly, go and live in Japan for a while. Most people will tell you that being thrown in at the deep end yields real results, fast. It is still possible to earn a living "teaching" English - see the soc.culture.japan FAQs for details. - learn on your own. This is quite possible, and a lot of people have done it. But since Japanese is a fairly dynamic language, quick to reflect cultural trends and always in a state of flux, it's unlikely that even the best books will tell you everything you need to know. Particularly, the kind of street talk and slang found in many mangas is very hard to decipher from books alone. So it's a good idea to have a friend who knows at least some Japanese. Relying on the net for help is not a good idea; people tend not to answer beginner-level Japanese questions, and rec.arts.manga is not a Japanese learning group (neither is sci.lang.japan, though advanced questions are appropriate there). - the Usenet Manga Resources list has several good references for books on learning Japanese. - before anything else, learn hiragana and katakana (cursive and italic Japanese syllabaries). It is important to learn these first, since they are used to look up dictionaries. Most English-Japanese dictionaries will have a table of kana and how to pronounce them. You can buy wall charts, or flashcards, though these tend to be expensive. If you make your own (refer to a dictionary), you might learn quicker anyway. - learning kanji (Chinese characters) happens by rote in Japan, but unless you have daily exposure to written Japanese, this won't work very well. Reading and writing kanji is a skill quickly lost unless it is practiced often. So making the effort to understand a kanji's structure and pronounciation is probably a better approach, and will pay off in the long run, since most kanjis have many ideographic and phonetic components in common. In any event, it isn't necessary to learn anything like the whole 2000 "essential" kanjis. Only 30 kanjis account for 50% of all printed kanjis (by frequency of occurrence). - you can pick up pronounciation hints from watching Japanese movies or anime. Japanese voice actors are among the best in the world, and can be a good model. (^_^) - don't start with newspapers or mangas aimed at post-teenage age groups, unless you feel especially brave. Working up to them from childrens' books and mangas is more practical, and enables you to recognise informal Japanese later. - the magazine "Mangajin" is highly recommended to any English speaker learning Japanese through manga. It is suitable for all ranges of Japanese ability (from nil to fluent). Its approach to informal Japanese and pop culture is thorough and informative. The Japanese manga industry --------------------------- - What happened to Kadokawa Haruki and Comp/Gao? Kadokawa Shoten was an important manga publisher by the late '80s. Several major manga and anime interests were under its control. In August 1993 the head of Kadokawa Shoten, Kadokawa Haruki, was arrested on suspicion of conspiring to smuggle cocaine into Japan. Comic Comp, one of Kadokawa's manga magazines, ceased publication; most of its titles returned on Gao magazine (published by Media Works, who had left Kadokawa before Haruki was arrested). Haruki's brother took over Kadokawa Shoten, and Comp was briefly revived before finally dying off at the end of 1994. - Can I mail Japanese manga-kas on NiftyServe? In some rare instances, manga-kas will give their mail addresses on NiftyServe, the Japanese equivalent of CompuServe (another large on-line network). NiftyServe addresses can now be mailed via the Internet: [nifty-ID]@niftyserve.or.jp Mail should be composed in Japanese, preferably EUC, JIS, or similar encoding, though romaji might be sufficient. - Was Video Girl Ai censored? There have sometimes been periods where parental groups have reacted against the extremes of manga pornography. 1991 was just such a time, with bookstores banning many erotic mangas from their shelves, and publishers being taken to task for material deemed inappropriate for a young audience. In this climate, Shuueisha voluntarily withdrew volumes 3 and 5 of Video Girl Ai from sale, pending "alterations". Katsura Masakazu made about 50 very minor changes, mostly adding underwear to naked bodies. The retouched versions were published on 12th December 1992 and 15th March 1993 respectively. Many other titles and authors were blacklisted during this time, though most have since returned to the shelves. - How can I get my manga published in Japan? In Japan, budding manga-kas usually submit their work to competitions held by manga magazines. It seems few Westerners are willing or able to try this. However, Kodansha is now offering some opportunities for those outside Japan. Kodansha are after undiscovered comic artists and writers (not established names). In the last couple of years, a couple of American and European artists and writers have appeared in Kodansha's Morning and Afternoon magazines, though their work has not been a success. Kodansha's talent spotters in the US are Dyna Search, Inc. Their job is to look for potential American manga artists - send them a brief summary of your story, illustrated sample pages from the story, and a short personal biography. (NB: Apparently, Kodansha is not looking for artists who can imitate Japanese styles.) Dyna-Search, Inc. Atten: 93CB 11835 West Olympic Boulevard, Suite 825, East Tower, Los Angeles, CA 90064 USA English-language manga ---------------------- - When is the English comic version of (some manga) coming out? - Did/will (some comics publisher) translate (some manga)? - Did/will (some comics publisher) cut bits out of (some manga)? - Why is (some manga translated by some comics publisher) delayed? Check the English-translated Manga FAQ. English translations of manga are announced in the Western comics journal, "Advance Comics". It lists titles and release dates of forthcoming commercial manga translations. "Advance Comics" can be obtained from comic stores. Antarctic Press also has a FAQ covering the status of all their titles - please email them (ANTARCTIC@news.delphi.com) for a copy before posting to rec.arts.manga. Comprehensive answers to these questions are well beyond the scope of this FAQ. While such questions are frequently asked, they are rarely answered. Comic publishers' schedules and agendas are often subject to variation, and they are the only ones who might know whether a title will be translated, or delayed, or rewritten, or censored. If you have queries, ask the publishers directly. It is their responsibility, not the net's, to provide reader service. (Some email addresses are listed in the Usenet Manga Resources guide.) The goings-on of the Western comics scene is NOT part of rec.arts.manga's charter. Such traffic belongs in rec.arts.comics.misc. (the following FAQs are answered here, as well as in the Usenet Manga Guide, because they recur with great persistence:) - Was Ghost in the Shell censored? Chapter 3 of the original Ghost in the Shell begins with an explicit 4-page lesbian "virtual sex" scene. This scene received attention far out of proportion to its significance in the story. What was originally meant as an amusing aside became the central talking point of GiS, which understandably would have annoyed Shirow - GiS is an intriguing, complex story which has nothing to do with "virtual sex". Shirow obviously felt that GiS would be better appreciated without such distractions. Because of this, and also because of the need to suppress risque material for Western audiences, a page of the scene was redrawn for issue 2 of the English translation. However, this focused even more attention on it. (The scene has not been removed from the original Japanese version, and it also appears in Shirow's bilingual Intron Depot.) - What happened to the Akira manga? The serialized version of Akira concluded in July, 1990, but Otomo Katsuhiro expressed some dissatisfaction with its ending. So the publication of the final volume was suspended while Otomo dithered about, making minor adjustments and drawing extra pages. In March 1993, volume 6 was finally released, containing the adjustments and a 40-page epilogue, where Kaneda confronts US soldiers landing in the Neo-Tokyo ruins. In the opinion of many readers on the net, the new ending was not a significant improvement. Epic comics' English version of Akira was stalled at issue #34 for some years. Epic, who frequent rec.arts.comics.misc, know the reasons why - not rec.arts.manga. In any event, the ending was published in the Japanese volume 6, which has been readily available from the usual sources since 1993. Note: It is sometimes believed that Akira's "big bang" ending was an afterthought, or just poor writing. This belief is a distortion of Otomo's statement that he didn't know exactly how the manga would end. But there is no doubt that Otomo planned the "big bang" aspect from the very outset. For example, apparitions of Kei and Kaneda, caught in the time-warping effects of the final "big bang" in volume 6, appear in volume 1. - Are fan translations illegal? - Are doujinshi illegal in the West? Strictly speaking - yes, probably. There has never been a test case, and nobody has obtained reliable legal advice; but there has never been a need, since manga translations have been posted on the net for years without incident. If you are thinking of posting a translation, consider the following: - Always credit the publisher and artist, and include their copyright notice. - Instead, consider writing a synopsis, which is 100% legal, and can be enjoyed by people without the original manga. - If possible, try to obtain permission from the creator directly (write or fax in Japanese) before posting. (Publishers will never give permission.) Supply your phone number, fax number and email address. Explain that you are only posting English text, not images, to a primarily English-speaking network. (Most manga-kas are flattered by translation of their work.) If permission is withheld, request promotional material that you can distribute on the net. - Do not translate mangas whose English translation rights have already been acquired. Ask on rec.arts.manga if you are not sure. - It is worth remembering that translations are works in their own right, and that net translations probably fall into the "fair use" and "review purposes" categories. - If in doubt, post anonymously, or make it available by email only. - Only a lawyer familiar with Usenet and international copyright law can give you a reliable opinion. Anything short of that is speculation. (The advice in this FAQ is informed speculation.) In Japan, doujinshis are tolerated because they swell the ranks of fandom, and thus, publishers' pockets. (Doujinshi authors are well aware that they are violating copyrights and often half-seriously beg forgiveness in their introductions.) However, those with English-language manga rights tend not to agree; selling doujinshi might be feasible in Japan, but not necessarily elsewhere. Again, use caution and common sense. - Where can I get manga translations and synopses? Check the Usenet Manga Resources FAQ list for general pointers. There is currently no exhaustive archive of manga translations and synopses. However, new translations and synopses are posted to rec.arts.manga all the time. A list of translations and ftp sites used to be maintained by Kenneth Arromdee (arromdee@cs.jhu.edu), but is believed to be out of date. The site ftp.tcp.com has a fairly large collection of manga translations, and is a good place to start looking. Recurring Misconceptions ------------------------ - What does the word "manga" mean? From the Usenet Manga Glossary: "Manga" is loosely translatable as "cartoon" or "caricature", or literally, "involuntary pictures". The term was coined in the early 1800s by the famous artist Katsushika Hokusai, and conveys the idea of free-flowing composition and quirky style. In Chinese and Korean, it is pronounced "manhwa", but is written with the same characters. First applied to scrolls and illustrations, the word "manga" does not mean "comic" or "comic books" any more than "karate" (lit. "empty hand") means "boxing". And it does not mean "sequential art" (for which there are many other words, such as "renga"), or "graphic novel" (a great deal of manga is neither fictional nor in novel format). - Has anyone seen this "manga film/video"?? - Does manga means "irresponsible pictures"?? Manga does not mean "irresponsible pictures" at all, or anything like it. Japanese animation is not called "manga", either - it is called "anime". ("Manga eiga" technically includes "anime", but this is not current usage. See the Usenet Manga Glossary for an authoritative etymology of the word "manga".) These myths about "manga" originate in very poorly researched publicity material, and are apparently still being propagated. - Why don't they show pubic hair? Is it some weird Japanese thing? Article 175 of the Japanese constitution forbad the explicit depiction of pubic hair and adult genitalia. It was not "some weird Japanese thing", but a misinterpretation of American instructions issued in the post-WWII occupation. The instructions were along the lines of, "if you can see pubic hair or adult genitalia, it's forbidden". The intention was clearly to ban explicit depictions or pornography of any kind. However, in a typical cross-cultural bungle, these instructions were literally interpreted along the lines of "pubic hair or adult genitalia should not be visible [in explicit depictions] [although everything else is OK]". Publishers were increasingly ignoring Article 175, and mostly getting away with it, despite the 1995 arrest of the president of Take Shobou. The law has since been repealed but it may take some time (if ever) before pubic hair is widely shown. - Why do manga characters have big eyes? Is it some weird Japanese thing? For the same reason that large eyes appear on Felix the Cat, or Betty Boop, or Bart Simpson, or Ren or Stimpy - because they're an artistic device, they're meant to convey a certain quality or feeling - which they usually do much better than poorly-executed "realistic" styles. In any event, "large" eyes are not very widespread in mainstream manga, being more associated with childrens' manga, anime and some types of teens' manga. (The latter two categories are most familiar to Western fans.) They are certainly no more widespread than "large noses" in Western comics. This style started appearing in manga in the 1920s, and became more popular in the 1950s, when Disney's cartoons were one of many influences on some important manga artists. Eyes are one of the most expressive parts of the human body; exaggeration is a basic principle of caricature used by good artists everywhere. In manga, where it is critical to depict characters succinctly and rapidly, large eyes are often employed to good effect. Another factor is the partial 20th century adoption of a "Western" aesthetic, which esteems Caucasian physical features. The previous emphasis of Japanese popular art had a largely Chinese or "Asian" aesthetic. This shift reflects subtle, gradual changes in Japanese culture, and is by no means a simple issue that can be adequately reduced to a few lines. - What impact has Western comics had on manga? Surely quite a bit? Practically nil. Period. At best, there are no more than a handful of manga artists, out of thousands, who exposed themselves to comics from Europe and the US. Most notable instances are listed in the Usenet Manga Guide. See also "amecomi" and "manga" in the Usenet Manga Glossary. - Why isn't rec.arts.manga in the rec.arts.comics hierarchy? Most of alt.manga's readers felt that the name "rec.arts.comics.manga" would be misleading, since the word "comics" does not accurately describe manga in its entirety. "rec.arts.comics.manga" also falsely implies that manga is strongly related to Western comics, or somehow subordinate to them. In addition, manga discussion was practically unknown on rec.arts.comics, but took place on other newsgroups instead. However, most of these points were lost on a few self-styled net."personalities", who loudly opposed rec.arts.manga. They were thoroughly defeated (513 YES, 226 NO) in the subsequent vote. - How should I store manga? Manga isn't meant to be locked away in plastic bags, it's meant to be read - just put it on your bookshelf like any other book or pulp novel. Manga is only worth a few dollars to begin with, and putting it in a plastic bag won't increase its value. Even the "rarest" mangas have print runs in the tens of thousands. Just read it and enjoy it, and if it gets too yellow or dog-eared buy another one. The idea of collecting manga and/or preserving it in plastic is part of Western comic culture, not manga culture, and is totally unknown to ordinary Japanese manga readers. - Is (some comic) a manga? "Manga" is a Japanese word which refers to a specific tradition of graphic storytelling. If it's published in a Japanese manga magazine, or listed in manga catalogs, it is manga. However, anything published outside this tradition is not manga, in the strict sense. It is something else, such as manga-inspired art. (The word "Amerimanga" has recently appeared on the net.) Individual graphic elements or styles do not in themselves make something a manga. NB: there are several non-Japanese artists who have had their manga published in Japanese manga magazines. - Is (some manga) a shoujo manga? If it appeared on a shoujo-manga magazine (as designated by its publisher), yes. Otherwise, no. Video Girl Ai, Kimagure Orange Road, Maison Ikkoku, etc. are not shoujo-manga, since they were published in shounen- or seinen-manga magazines. Romantic stories are not the sole preserve of shoujo-manga. See the rec.arts.manga glossary for more information. <> -- ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Edited by Steve Pearl- Moderator, rec.arts.anime.info Email submissions to anime-info@cybercomm.net and questions about the newsgroup to anime-info-request@cybercomm.net